The Jaguars wide receivers are not living up to the expectations that we all had for them. Brian Robiskie and Laurent Robinson are dropping passes, Justin Blackmon still isn’t signed, and nobody else has really emerged as that go-to guy Gabbert can rely on.
In 11×11 drills, Gabbert has been forced to run fairly frequently and has yet to be able to find a rhythm with a receiver who can consistently get open. This either means the Jaguars defense is wicked good or the offense is just plain miserable. While I think the defense is probably playing the downs well, they simply can’t be so good that the offense isn’t able to pass at all.
Beyond the failure to pass and catch, when making the catch players like Robinson, Robiskie, and Mike Thomas have all had issues with fumbling. Mike Mularkey is making sure to place an emphasis on finishing plays, but with the team still struggling to even find a rhythm it is possible that the players are more worried about making the catch than finishing the play right now.
A lot of concern has been noted about whether Robinson is “pressing” due to the big contract he signed with the Jags this offseason. Mularkey thinks it has to do with the pressure being placed on him so he is unable to translate his game to the reliable, comfortable play he had with Dallas a year ago. Either way, unless Robinson suddenly has a good day, it’s looking like the comfort will never come. The team needs Robinson to be the complement to Blackmon in order for it to be successful with two strong, athletic receivers on the outside.
Speaking of Blackmon, that deal needs to get done. With each passing day that Blackmon sits out because he and his agent can’t come to terms with Gene Smith and Co. the learning gap gets larger. Mularkey commented yesterday on Blackmon being behind when he finally does show up. “He’s going to be behind (when he reports to training camp), and it will be probably pretty noticeable when you watch him on the field that he’s behind.” If anyone has more pressure on him to be successful at receiving this season than Robinson, it’s Blackmon. It will be curious to see how good he is coming out cold in the middle of training camp.
Mularkey and Bob Bratkowski want a successful passing attack. It doesn’t have to be the same passing attack that was in Atlanta or Buffalo before that. It just has to be successful. If that means it is setting up the run game: fine. If that means it is setting up scoring opportunities on its own: fine. What it does not mean, however, is dropped passes and fumbles after the catch is made.
The Jags look like they have a lot of depth at the wide receiver position. So far, it doesn’t look like that depth is as good as we were all led to believe.
– Luke N. Sims
You can also find me on Twitter @LukeNSims