Random Thoughts before Training Camp
By Terry OBrien
We are on the verge of training camp and the story-lines of the season are shaping up. The fans are beginning to return, the stadium, oh sorry, field, has a new name, new coaches are here, some new players have arrived, and now it is time for Jack to pull it together. Let’s review where we are, at least where I think we are:
The defensive line will determine the start of the season. We open with Denver and then San Diego. Denver has a good defense but weak offense. San Diego has a strong offense but weak defense. The way to beat them both is the same, bring down the quarterback. Kyle Orton will turn the ball over giving the Jaguars field position. Phillip Rivers must be brought down to stay in the game. We can open 4-0 or 0-4. The defensive line must dictate the game.
The offensive line must change. Let’s face it, there was not a bright spot on that line last year. Eugene Monroe had to climb a learning curve but showed some promise. Eben Britton has technique problems. Vince Manuwai was limping, Uche Nwaneri just isn’t that good and what happened to Brad Meester? If we get improvements at the tackles, watch for Kynan Forney and Justin Smiley to earn the starting positions. If one of them doesn’t, it might mean Vince Manuwai is healthy again and that is a good sign. No matter what, this line can not be as bad as it was in 2008 and 2009.
Dirk Koetter has been left alone to sink or swim. Mike Tice is gone and will not interfere with play calling. The travelling man, Kennedy Pola, is gone and won’t be interfering with play calling. The players we heard from say Jack Del Rio spends no time with the offense. Dirk Koetter, Ernest Byner and Rob Boras are the new brain trust. My feeling is this will be ok, but it is all new. Every year with the Jaguars something is always all new.
No big play receivers and the same quarterback. I guess we are a running team. We better be. David Garrard has a good arm and can put up some numbers. At least he has put up more than the guy he beat out for the job. Mike Sims-Walker has shown he can stay healthy for one season and catch. Mike Thomas made about 5 good catches last year. Jarret Dillard went down and so did Troy Williamson. Marcedes Lewis is a blue chip player, but overall I don’t know what this group is capable of. I guess we will be primarily a running team. My hopes are high for the receivers but it is all based on faith and prayers.
Another year, another first round holdout. I had such hope this wouldn’t happen again, but I am sadly mistaken. This is getting old. Institute a rookie pay scale and make signing automatic. There is nothing really to negotiate and no reason to hold out. Derrick Harvey didn’t benefit from it. Eugene Monroe didn’t benefit from it. Playing incentives are harder to earn. There is no professional reason to not want to be in camp. Fix the CBA or kill the goose, your choice NFL.
The AFC South could collapse and we can benefit. Tennessee, once a powerhouse, seems to be running in circles these days. Jeff Fisher has had more headaches in the off season than anyone. At least he dumped Albert Haynesworth, but he has to start Vince Young. I am sure that gives him a warm comfy feeling. Houston is hanging on by a thread hoping Matt Schaub stays healthy. If he goes down, there is nothing left of Houston. Indianapolis is the class of the division, but we play them tough. We actually can be in the running this year. It will depend on the lines stepping up and the injury bug staying away. The AFC is thin in a number of places and injury could be a major factor for some team, hope it isn’t us.
Well, good morning Jaguar Nation. That is how I see it, how do you see things?
– Terry O’Brien