Justin Blackmon is the number one receiver the Jaguars need and have needed for a long time. The team has wanted someone with Larry Fitzgerald skills for years and Blackmon may finally be their man. But can he do what he does best – catch the ball – right on the bat?
Blaine Gabbert became the face of the franchise with Maurice Jones-Drew’s holdout this offseason. MJD is a great player and he is still a major focus for the team and its fans (and the seemingly infinite number of people who dislike the Jags), but he is losing ground to the quarterback who seems to be making strides (baby steps?) in the right direction. Without Blackmon, can Gabbert be the man we need him to be?
We don’t really know how good the Gabbert to Blackmon connection will be. Who knows, it could one day be the Henne to Blackmon connection or the Gabbert to ????? connection. But for us fans right now, we’re all hoping for some kind of quarterback-receiver bromance to develop that could rival that of Jason Witten and Tony Romo or Tom Brady and Wes Welker. Laurent Robinson is good, but he isn’t the same age and “high ceiling” player that Blackmon and Gabbert could be for the rest of their careers.
So, with the potential we all see in Blackmon, we rest our hopes on him. We hope that he can make Gabbert look good. We hope he can pull the offense up from the depths of despair. We hope he can make Mike Mularkey look good as a head coach. But most of all, we hope he can eventually set records like Jimmy Smith did.
It’s tough to become the go-to-guy in football. It’s very tough to be the guy who makes almost every catch when he’s targeted by the quarterback. It’s even more tough to become that guy when the entire fanbase is anxiously holding its breath every time he takes the field. Yet we wait with baited breath for Blackmon to take the field.
I’m confident in Blackmon’s ability and his approach to the game. I think he’s smart and will develop quickly. Hopefully he won’t drown from all our hopes bogging him down.
Blackmon will take the field at the Z receiver spot opposite Robinson on Friday against the Saints. It will be his first NFL game action and he should be playing for the first half against the defense’s starters and some higher backups. We will finally see if he can outplay people that should be similar in skill level or whether he will flop against a defense that actually hits and plays for the ball a bit harder. First year receivers do not generally have superb rookie seasons, but if Blackmon shows a little bit of flash during his first action, our hopes may be well place.
- Luke N. Sims
You can also find me on Twitter @LukeNSims