What’s next for the Jaguars? Post Atlanta – Pre roster announcing thoughts
By Zoltan Paksa
Do you remember, when Gene Smith said this is the most competitive roster what he ever saw in Jacksonville? Well after all 4 preseason games I can agree with that statement just partly. When it comes to special teams; tight ends; and running/ fullbacks I agree. But if we looking toward the secondary; the interior offensive line; and the linebackers (yeah; it is starting to become a problem- hats off to Vic Ketchman to call that couple of weeks ago) that observation is not correct.
I think the offense is ready and loaded with hidden weapons. Brock Bolen(if he makes it; but I doubt he will be waived after this preseason performance); Zach Miler; Jarrett Dillard are all players flying under the radar; and can be (even major) contributors to the Jaguars. I also think the special team unit will punish every team whose not 100% prepared against them. Scotty McGee (I hope his shoulder injury is not serious) is a dynamite; and he is just the backup returner! Josh Scobee is better then ever ;(9 of 9 FGs; every extra point was made) Adam Podlesh is all of sudden start to looking good. Watch out for this unit folks. We have a lot of fun in these guys.
And I hope Gene decide to keep Greg Jones; and the Jaguars will go with 6 backs (Drew; Jennings; Owens; Karim; Bolen; G. Jones) in ’10. This must be a well-balanced team. David Garrard cannot win every battle in the air- because yes; I think the Jaguars will be more of a passing team. Dirk Koetter is calling the shots; and it seems; it will be a pass heavy offense. And he can do use the TEs bravely, because all 3 (or maybe 4?) can catch the ball. I think if the Jaguars want to use the double TE formations; they must keep Ernest Wilford and Zach Potter. I hope Gene Smith will decided in favor of the 4 TEs; 6 backs formula. I think the Jaguars will benefiting to keep as many weapons they can.
Now let’s see where I have problems and issues even after the 4th preseason game. I still don’t like the defensive backfield. Reggie Nelson played almost all game long; but did he made any special things? The answer is “no” in my honest opinion. Falcons backup QB Chris Redman had little problems to make plays with his receivers in the 1st half; once again proving that something is wrong over there. And we must notice; the only original starter of the defense, Derek Cox played that timeperiod… I still think Reggie will not make the team. He didn’t show anything to me to keep him on the roster. I rather have Courtney Greene, who had a really good game tonight. I hope William Middleton made a case for himself for the final 53 over Don Carey. Put him to the practice squad Gene; and if the Browns want to claim him back; so be it. He will not make any opponent much stronger. I hope Gene can get a player for this spot; I say even at corner I would welcome a good player. I think 1 or 2 player(s) in the secondary on opening day are not playing in this team yet…
As I mentioned slowly we can start to worry about the LBs. None of the starting linebackers played in the last 2 games. Russell Allen was good (as always); so as Jacob Cutrera. But I not see so much strength in the reserves. I must give credit for BCC’s Brian Fullford; to pointed out; that Tony Gilbert maybe an impact player at ST; but not at the LB so far. Rod Wilson is an intriguing prospect; but maybe he showed not enough to make this team. I heard the Jaguars planning to keep 5 LBs (and they count on Larry Hart as a swing man; who can play LB if needed) only; so after Allen the job is coming to 1 man. I say Cutrera over Gilbert; but maybe Gene Smith sees otherwise. We will find out soon.
D-line: I think Jeremy Mincey sadly won’t make it this time too; despite his always big effort and I think Aaron Morgan can be the 9th D-lineman. I think Douzable and Ellison will be the backup tackles; but I must point out a serious concern. Right now, there is nobody; who can replace Terrance Knighton; if he is injured. I remember pointing him out in the Top 3 among those the Jaguars can’t afford to lose in early summer. And sadly that theory became true. If something happens to “Pot Roast” this D-line will be much-much weaker. Attiyah Ellison is not in the same category as his backup. Not even close. Maybe cutting Henderson will be something the Jags might regret? I know he was a high salary guy; but I think only he had the potential anywhere near of Knighton’s…
And what can I say about the O-line? I think the 2nd year tackles will be fine; Monroe especially. If Britton can be an average RT; who causes not so much headaches during the season; that’ll be fine with me. Meester is this teams best C (do you remember the time when everybody thought he is done in Jacksonville? Well Brad responded to the challenge way beyond the expectations). But for me it is still not clear what will happen at the two G position. I think the Jaguars will look deep into this year’s senior interior offensive line (actually they started that; if we see the reports of Chris Steuber about where the Jaguars sent scouts already..) and will draft 1-2 new guys. The players they have now there besides Uche Nwaneri are old(Forney); injury prone (Smiley); and will most likely never the same again (Manuwai). Oh; and did I mentioned Brad Meester is the oldest player of the team? The O-line rebuilding is not over yet folks. Not even close…
So within 48 hours we will see whose make it to the final 53 and who is not. Will be any new members of the team on Sunday? Will we see veterans who did a lot for this team (Wilford; Manuwai; Greg Jones) going elsewhere over the weekend? Is this a run first or a pass first team- because we might get a clue with the cuts? Many questions for I can’t wait to know the answers. Maybe not every of them will taste good for me and for the fan-base. But “In Gene we trust” right?