Fighting Incompetence: Pro Football Weekly Edition
By Luke Sims
Today while SWMBO was shopping for a new handbag, I sat in the mall reading some sports news on my phone. Not that I don’t like bag shopping, but this will be bag number two in three weeks (she returned the other one). The first article I see on Pro Football Weekly is “Sticky Situation for Blackmon, Jaguars.” In case you didn’t guess it, it’s about Justin Blackmon’s aggravated DUI a week ago in Okalhoma.
A lot of the aspects about Blackmon’s DUI have been covered both here and at Big Cat Country – two sources that tend to be pretty good at reflecting the opinions of the fans and the public on the Jacksonville Jaguars seeing as how they are both written by fans. PFW, however, decided that their incompetent take was considerably better than actually reading whole quotes from press conferences and the Jaguars official website.
As PFW says,
"When asked if he had a drinking problem, Blackmon quickly denied the possibility, instead saying he had a lapse in judgment and was done drinking “for now.” Although he appeared contrite, Blackmon would have been better served by saying he expects to get counseling and letting professionals weigh in, we hear."
While Blackmon was quick to deny that he has a drinking problem, I doubt that it showed a lack of knowledge of his own situation. Blackmon is a smart kid. He’s a competitor. He knows when he does right, and he knows when he does wrong. The DUI situation with Jacksonville is certain to give him some guidance on where that right and wrong line is because the team does not allow bad behavior. Head coach Mike Mularkey and general manager Gene Smith made sure to place emphasis on the goals of the organization and to openly criticize Blackmon for his poor behavior during the June 6th press conference. Who cares if he expects to get counseling, it will probably be handled personally or by the organization – let them deal with it.
Rather than look at the emphasis and hard line approach of the organization, PFW decided that it should instead criticize the Jaguars for the Blackmon selection. (Before I go into my vent on PFW here, let me say that the jury will be out on all rookie wide receivers until the season comes and we actually see them perform) Blackmon was the highest regarded receiving prospect in the draft. Every other college receiver was playing for second place to be selected. Yet, if you are PFW you think that other clubs thought Blackmon was a worse prospect. Here I defend the general national media in saying that Blackmon was the best prospect available, truly, but of you’re PFW you found the few clubs who ranked other players higher than Blackmon:
"PFW talked to some NFL teams leading up to the draft that had at least four receivers ranked higher than Blackmon…"
While I find it possible some clubs did have Blackmon ranked lower than other players, I’m willing to bet that it was because they weren’t looking for a #1 receiver, knew they had no shot at trading up for him, had higher needs, knew they shouldn’t waste their money and time on a receiver they shouldn’t trade up for due to cost, etc… Of the other receivers available in the draft only Michael Floyd really has the physical tools to compete with Blackmon and had about the same concerns. Four other receivers would include Kendall Wright, Alshon Jeffery, and Stephen Hill along with Floyd. You could maybe make a case for one or two of those receivers being higher than Blackmon. But all four? Really? There had to have been other factors like draft position and need taken into consideration there.
PFW ultimately showed their lack of knowledge with a statement on how the team views Blackmon out of the gate. They say,
"Blackmon’s NFL career wasn’t off to the most promising start before last weekend’s events. He has received mixed reviews throughout offseason team activities, even being called out publicly by head coach Mike Mularkey for being lost at times."
So far, the reviews out of the Jaguars have all been positive. The actual quote from Mularkey goes likes like, “When he (Justin Blackmon) knows what he’s doing, he’s very good. When he doesn’t, he’s lost.” Who isn’t lost when they don’t know what they’re doing? How many times have you had no idea what your supervisor has been saying and kind of float through things because you don’t know what’s going on? That doesn’t mean you’re a bad performer, it means you don’t know what’s going on.
Fortunately, by all accounts Blackmon has been asking questions and learning the offense. The coaches have praised him for speaking up when he doesn’t understand. When you’re a 20 something rookie just learning an offense, that’s perfectly acceptable. It’s about time that media outlets stop proclaiming doom and gloom every time something bad happens to a player. Did Blackmon get a DUI? Yes. Is he suddenly an incompetent wide receiver because of it? Only if you’re picking your quotes and slicing and dicing them as you see fit.
Get it right Pro Football Weekly, do some research before you make yourself look foolish.
– Luke N. Sims
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