Just Thinkin’ Out Loud About the Jags…

I was talking to a very good friend of mine last week. We must have talked ourselves into a coma about how this is the time of year where it’s absolutely awful to be a fan of the NFL, no matter what team you love and support. The intense signing period of free agency has come and gone. The draft was almost three months ago. OTAs and mini-camps have passed leaving us waiting in suspense for the start of training camp. I’ve gone so crazy to the point I even emailed our editor, Mr. Sims complaining about how brutal this time of year really is.

LeBron finally got his ring. The homerun derby was last night if you like that kind of thing. Other than that, there’s not a whole lot going on in the world of sports. If you’re a die hard, all in Jags fan like myself you’re constantly thinking about the team. What went wrong last season? What can improve? I think I’ve written too many articles on the wide receiver position, and fellow writer Mr. Terry O’Brien even called me out on it. Hey, I can’t blame you, Terry. Believe me I know it’s redundant, but it’s what I’m thinking about. So this week, I will provide you with a list of topics and issues that have been running through my bald head the past seven days. Enjoy!

1. The ball is in MJD’s court. It’s obvious Gene Smith is NOT going to pay him. He can either show up to camp or sit at home where he DEFINITELY won’t get any new money.

Mandatory Credit: Phil Sears-US PRESSWIRE

2. Speaking of MJD, this is your opportunity, Rashad Jennings. It’s time to see what you’ve got if our beloved running back does decide to holdout through camp.

3. Many writers, local and national, believe that Laurent Robinson will start out the season as the #1 receiver. According to several NFL experts, wide receiver is the most difficult position to make the transition between college and pro. This will be a good thing for Justin Blackmon. Let him learn the playbook and such.

4. Regarding the wide receiver position, many people (myself included) are wondering just who will fill out the rest of the slots available. I’m not saying it’s not important, but I’ve been thinking about such ideas. After reading a recent post by Mr. Sims, it’s dawned on me that we need to “move those chains” a bit more in 2012. We don’t necessarily need to be more “explosive” but instead be more “effective”. If and when MJD does come back, I still think he’d be a better option in the passing game than some of the receivers and tight ends (Lewis included) already on the roster making our 3rd receiver in all actuality the 4th option when throwing the ball. If MJD does holdout, I wonder how Jennings is catching the ball out of the backfield.

5. While on the topic of 3rd receivers, I’m a Mike Thomas supporter. In my very humble opinion, he did not quit on the team and will benefit from how defenses play Robinson and Blackmon.

6. I’m not very optimistic about Mercedes Lewis. I hope that he proves me wrong.

7. I wonder if Mathis can cover in the slot. After thinking about our corners, I’d feel much more comfortable with Cox and Ross covering other team’s starting receivers. But what would I know? I’m just some guy.

8. Other than Blackmon, I truly do believe that Branch will be the player we think he is. The defense has to get more pressure. Notice I said “pressure” and not “sacks.” Of course it’s important to hit the quarterback, but often times it’s just as important to create chaos overall. Branch could provide a certain element of speed in our pass rush that was lacking in 2011.

9. Get Scobee signed…then get him in range!

10.Our linebackers are tackling machines and we have some pretty good run stuffers in Alualu and Knighton. I’m hoping that running on this year’s defense will be the equivalent to running into a brick wall.

11. After the draft, I read something somewhere stating that we could possibly use 6th round pick cornerback Mike Harris in wildcat packages. Yes, I’m serious.

12. If we have 27 players on IR again, look for another bum season. I’m looking forward to the returns of Eben Britton, Rashad Jennings, Derek Cox, Clint Sessions, and Rashean Mathis.

13. I wonder how young players drafted last year such as Will Rackley, Cecil Shorts III, and forgotten picks, Chris Prosinski, and Rod Isaac will do in 2012.

14. Which draft picks other than Blackmon, Branch, and Anger will make the biggest impact this season. I’m calling Jeris Pendelton. Just a hunch.

I didn’t say anything about Gabbert even though he has not escaped my train of thought. But everyone knows exactly what he has to do in 2012. At the very least he can’t lose games for us. I’m looking for him to show more poise in the pocket, and reports state that he’s already showing more leadership qualities.

To anyone living in Jacksonville, JEEZ IT’S HOT! Who is ready for training camp!?

-David R. Johns

Topics: Aaron Ross, Andre Branch, Cecil Shorts III, Chris Prosinski, Derek Cox, Gene Smith, Jacksonville Jaguars, Jeris Pendelton, Josh Scobee, Justin Blackmon, Maurice Jones-drew, Mercedes Lewis, Mike Harris, Mike Thomas, Rashad Jennings, Rashean Mathis, Rod Isaac, Terrance Knighton, Tyson Alualu, Will Rackley

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  • Bobbyp84

    I live in utah dude and its hot here as well. Lol. I like this post. Alot of the same questions running through my mind as well, especially the scobee one. Getting him in range would mean to move the ball into enemy territory. Also I like the andre branch comment, I went and watched his highlights online and the dude is a beast. If he is not sacking the qb he is making them hurry the pass or move to a uncomfortable position to throw the ball. I also seen how many sacks he gave other players by flushing them out the pocket and into the other defenders. Also bryan anger is gonna put in work, help out defense out

  • http://www.blackandteal.com/ LukeNSims

    Speaking of heat, I was enjoying my 75 degree dry summer in Montana when I figured a trip to Illinois was a good idea….45% humidity and 104 is what I got.  Not my smartest move.
    Do you remember when Mathis said he plays the receiver more than he worries about what they’ve done on tape?  It was a couple of years ago.  I’m not certain that will work as well for him in the slot, but maybe it will transition better than I think.  My money is on him beating out Ross but Ross not caring because his wife wins a gold medal in this Olympics.

  • http://www.blackandteal.com/ LukeNSims

    Oh, and Jennings is a solid receiver.  He averaged 8.6 yards per catch on 26 receptions in 2010.  Plus he’s 6′ so he’s a considerably larger target than most receivers on the team (at least last year) and MJD.

  • Bobbyp84

    @LukeNSims haha… We all should be happy that his wife will win the gold. Lol. Whatever position aaron ross takes he will be a great help to our team and I think he will have a great year. This is the time of the jaguars and aaron ross plus mathis equals wins. And you are right, thats not a good move. Lol at least your heat is not A very dry heat like it is here

  • Chipshot

    Is the MJD situation becoming more complicated?  I have to agree with the Jags for sticking to their guns & not offering a contract extension.  A player that has 2 yrs. remaining on their contract should have no legitimate expectation of having their contract renegotiated.  Let’s look at the facts regarding the MJD scenario.  He has been a great, tough, RB for the Jags.  With the lack of a strong passing attack, MJD has had a lot of carries for an anemic offense.  The heavy workload that has been put upon MJD eventually takes a physical toll on any superb athlete.  MJD has 2 yrs. remaining in the “Black & Teal” if he elects to play & can stay healthy.  After these 2 upcoming seasons the likelihood of MJD being resigned by the Jags would appear to be very slim.  As an athlete, is MJD concerned about a new coaching staff that would like to be pass oriented, thus potentially limiting his running attempts & decreasing his value?  Does MJD want to finish his career with a franchise that is a Super Bowl contender?  Only MJD can answer these types of questions.
    The NFL is a cold, tough business, players are expendable, fans can be emotional, but teams have to stay focused.  Unless the Jags truly believe they are going to be Super Bowl contenders within the next 2 seasons what is the best move for the team?  Do the Jags trade a player who still has value & appears to be unhappy in an effort to continue building a team for the future?
    Has the moment arrived to consider a Jags team without MJD?

  • http://www.blackandteal.com/ LukeNSims

     @Chipshot I think the situation would be a lot less complicated if Gene Smith had a policy about only re-signing/extending players when they had one year left on their contracts – much like Spielman in Minnesota.
    Personally, I think that Smith is thinking about life after MJD.  Next year I wouldn’t be surprised if the Jags brought in a young back to provide a little extra punch for Jones-Drew.  Of course, he is only 27 and could still have some gas left in the tank.  I think his small frame will probably catch up with him though and he’ll really start to feel the beatings he takes every down.

  • Chipshot

    Yea, I feel for MJD, he has put his heart, soul, sweat, & blood on NFL fields week after week & gets limited recognition due to playing in a small market for a team that has limited postseason exposure.

  • Davjay1983

    @LukeNSims 75 degrees?! Lucky!

    Gold medal trumps all. Go America.

  • Davjay1983

    @Bobbyp84 Don’t forget about Derek Cox my friend!

  • Bobbyp84

    @Davjay1983 honestly I’m still up I’m the air about derek cox. Good year last season before getting hurt but the year before played like a rookie. But very anxious to see what he does this year

  • Davjay1983

    @Bobbyp84 I can understand why you are on the fence regarding Mr. Cox, but I think he’s gonna bounce back this year in a big way. Maybe I’m too optimistic? We’ll see.

  • NickelandDime

     @Bobbyp84 2009 Derek Cox Rookie Stats-He played 16 games, 72 tackles,  4 INTs…..pretty damn good for a rookie if you ask me. In 2010, he was below average only playing 13 games with an anemic 49 tackles….. but still had 4 INTs. And yes in 2011, he was hurt. I’m looking forward to seeing what he does this year. I think hes got major upside. 

  • NickelandDime

     @LukeNSims @Davjay1983 @Bobbyp84 @Chipshot  Just to put some things into perspective regarding Cox. .In the past three years, both have played 35 games each. Mathis (in the past three years) has 124 tackles. Cox (in the past three years) has 143 tackles. Mathis (in the past three years) has 5 INT’s. Cox (in the past three years) has 8 INT’s. Numbers dont lie fellas….

  • Bobbyp84

    @Davjay1983 no you are not being to optimistic, I am hoping that he does put in work this year as well. I’m sure he will

  • Bobbyp84

    @NickelandDime I’m hoping so. I like using him in madden though. Lol. Lets hope I’m wrong though, I just didn’t like the fact that mathis had one side locked down and both cox and davey jones were the 2 that couldn’t be counted on in 2010. But like I said I am hoping and putting my trust in on him

  • Bobbyp84

    @NickelandDime @LukeNSims @Davjay1983 @Chipshot you got a point dude, I’m just hoping that he proves his consistency this year

  • http://www.blackandteal.com/ LukeNSims

     @Bobbyp84  @NickelandDime  @LukeNSims  @Davjay1983  @Chipshot I love me some Derek Cox, but he had zero interceptions through six games last year while he had 4 in 11 games started in 2010 – junior slump?

  • http://www.blackandteal.com/ LukeNSims

     @Davjay1983  @LukeNSims Yeah, I should have stayed there for the rest of summer…

  • Bobbyp84

    @LukeNSims @NickelandDime @Davjay1983 @Chipshot I hope not. Like I said, 2010 year worried me about him. I will have his back this year and say that he will finally show the talent that everyone knows he has, but I’m still a lil up in the air about him. Pretty much he has to prove to me that he can step up and be a starter.

  • Chipshot

     @NickelandDime  @LukeNSims  @Davjay1983  @Bobbyp84 
    Guys if the DL can’t apply pressure it will make very little difference who is in the Jags secondary.  I’m much more concerned with the pressure up front than our coverage in the secondary.  My main concern with the DB’s is having somebody back there that can hit & tackle.  We know Mathis is not the tackler / hitter like some of our other DB’s.

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