With no games left and no playoffs, all Jags fans have to look forward to is next year. If this year is any indication, the Jags are heading in the right direction (and believe me, I didn’t feel this way in the first half of the season). Most of it has to do with the inspired coaching of Gus Bradley. A lot more needs to be attributed to GM David Caldwell. He had an excellent draft and was pretty spot on with free agents. I look forward to see what he does next.
I have stayed at a Holiday Inn Express recently…So I’m UNIQUELY qualified to give my opinions on the state of the Jags at each position*. Where we are strong and where we need help. Let me know if you agree…
* = I hope my sarcasm is recognized!!!
In this article…I will be grading out the offensive line & special teams.
Offensive Line – I will lump them together but will speak of each position. I feel the Jags are set at tackle. There is no reason to think Luke Joeckel won’t be 100 percent next season. He was improving as the season went along. Will be a staple as long as he is with the team. While Cameron Bradfield has proven to be a capable right tackle, I’m most impressed with Austin Pasztor. Brought in as a guard, he has been filling in wonderfully as an injury replacement. At 6 foot 7 and 308 pounds, tackle appears to be his more natural position. I love his potential. The guard position is our strongest offensive position, but it’s also in flux. Uche Nwaneri is our most consistent lineman and hopefully isn’t going anywhere. If he does, it would be a strictly salary cap move. The other starting guard is Will Rackley, a third year player who has improved each year. What is potentially scary is that Rackley went on the IR after suffering his 2nd concussion in four weeks. When concussions come in bunches, it becomes hazardous because with every concussion it becomes easier to get another. It’s something to monitor. Our main backup guard, Mike Brewster, will probably be shifting to center next year to replace the retiring Brad Meester. Because of this and the uncertainty of the other signed players at the guard and center positions, we should be worried about our interior linemen next season. That hopefully should be addressed in the draft or through free agency. POSITION GRADE… C
Special Teams - The Jaguars were universally criticized in 2011 for selecting punter Bryan Anger in the 3rd round of that year’s draft. Perhaps the media (and most fans) were correct in doing that. There is no denying though that Anger is one of the better punters in football over the last couple of years. With an improved defense and a more successful offensive game that prevents him from punting 186 times over the last two years, he should become even more of a weapon. If Josh Scobee was kicking for just about any other team in football, he would be a perennial All-Pro. He has missed only one kick from 39 yards or less in five years. He has made 12 of his last 15 attempts from 50 or more yards. He also is one of the more consistent kickers for touchbacks, which helps prevent special teams mistakes. The only issue I see with Scobee is next year will be his tenth in the league and he still has two years left on a contract paying him an average of more than $4.2 million a year. That’s a lot of money for a kicker that, because of a weak offense, doesn’t get to score many points. Personally, I feel we should stick with him because if the defense continues to improve, then the possession of a clutch kicker may actually help us win a close game. As for returners, I am pleased with the way Ace Sanders grew in confidence as the season progressed. He is fast, bold, and exactly what we thought he was going to be. The kickoff return men are just serviceable, though I thought Jordan Todman showed some skills. This is another area where I would like to see Denard Robinson get some play next year. We need to find him a role! Position Grade…B
Taking the offensive positions, along with the special teams, and lumping them all together, we are looking at an average grade of about a C to C-. That’s the kind of grade that translates into one of the worse offenses in the NFL. But just think about this. If our QB had even a B- grade, the offensive’s average would jump up to a C+…Possible even a B- with a healthy and signed MJD along with a sober Blackmon. Interesting to think about, huh? I truly can’t wait till next season!!!
See you in a couple of days with my grading of the defense.
Feeling as pompous as Simon Cowell…I’m Michael McDonald.
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