The BIG Positional Battles:
- Will Rackley vs. Vince Manuwai: The young mauler versus the stalwart veteran. Both of these men have one mission in life – to be a human steam roller and flatten the guy in front of them. Whoever can do it better will be eating and drinking on Maurice Jones-Drew’s tab, whenever the team goes out.
- Brock Bolen vs. Greg Jones: Every year, people try to make the case that Greg Jones is washed up or overpaid and that the fullback position is becoming obsolete. Every year, he proves them wrong and then steals their lunch money for doubting him. Then he flexes in front of their wife and runs away with her. OK, maybe I made some of that up. But Greg Jones continues to be a force as a lead blocker. Brock Bolen will need to bring his signature versatility and an increased penchant for mowing down linebackers if he wants to overtake Jones as a more cost-effective option at FB.
- Zach Miller vs. Greg Jones: Right now, Zach Miller represents zero threat as a run blocker. Greg Jones ain’t bringing much to the passing game. They don’t go on the field at the same time. If Miller can start contributing to the run blocking, this may convince Dirk Koetter to use more two tight-end sets. The ability to run effectively from the two-TE, Singleback set, allows a balance and versatility that could convince the Jaguars to make this their base offense. I’ve got a feeling Dirk would love two tight ends to scheme with and making this a primary formation would make Jones’ $3.5 million price tag look a lot less desirable.
- Cecil Shorts vs. Jarrett Dillard: Similar body types and similar skill sets would seem to pit these two right against each other. Mike Thomas and Jason Hill have pretty much locked down the #1 and #2 receiver spots, leaving Shorts and Dillard to compete for looks in three-receiver sets. We haven’t seen much of Dillard or anything from Shorts (who is also making the transition from D-III college ball), so their roles are yet to be defined. This one will have the whole season to play out, but expect the Jaguars to identify who’s going to produce and to ride the hot hand throughout the season.
What are the pressing questions you need to see answered in training camp? Who do you see competing for more playing time? Who’s in danger of being unemployed in late August?
– Andrew Hofheimer