Like the league-wide M.V.P. award, most teams would label their starting quarterback as their most valuable player. Teams who haven’t had a franchise quarterback have generally identified their best offensive player, and on the rare occasion their best defensive player.
Until first round pick Blake Bortles starts and entrenches himself as the long-term qaurterback, the Jacksonville Jaguars will be looking elsewhere for their MVP. There are several candidates, but Joe Soriano over at NFL Spin Zone singled out veteran wide receiver Cecil Shorts.
I really hope Blake Bortles pans out, because I can only imagine how good Cecil Shorts III would be with a true franchise quarterback at the helm. Rookies Marqise Lee and Allen Robinson have an incredible amount of talent, and chances are that at least one of those two WRs from this historic draft class will make good on their potential and take off considerable pressure from Shorts’s shoulders. Speaking of shoulders, Shorts played through a painful SC sprain last year and still managed to haul in eight receptions for 80 yards against the San Diego Chargers on that injury. Injuries caused him to miss three games last year, but he still caught 66 passes for 777 yards after notching 55 for 979 and seven touchdowns in a breakout 2012. Shorts’s back-shoulder catches have become famous, and he has plenty of speed to burn downfield. Just 26, Shorts has to be a priority for the Jags to re-sign, and it’s possible for Bortles, Shorts, Lee, and Robinson to form an explosive quartet of youth in the passing attack.
Soriano nails it here, as Cecil Shorts will be the most important player on offense to start the season. Shorts had his breakout year in 2012 when he proved himself to be an explosive playmaker, and he’s been on the cusp of 1,000 yards receiving both of the past 2 years. Injuries have shortened his previous 2 campaigns, but if he can stay healthy in 2014, he should be primed for a terrific performance in his 2nd season under Jedd Fisch with some continuity at the quarterback position. Shorts will be surrounded by new, inexperienced faces on offense, and he needs to be the steady veteran presence who provides consistent production.
– Daniel Lago