Geoff Swaim: The Jaguars biggest wildcard on offense
By David Levin
New Jaguars tight end Geoff Swaim is known as a solid blocker. The team hopes he can become a more complete player this season.
The Jacksonville Jaguars got little production out of their tight ends last season. New offensive coordinator John DeFilippo told the media during the first week of OTAs that’s about to change.
The names on the current roster don’t jump out at anyone and strike fear in opposing defenses, but they could be a marked improvement over last season. Especially the addition of Geoff Swaim whom the Jaguars signed this offseason in free agency. The former seventh-round pick of the Dallas Cowboys should be one of those under-the-radar players who makes a bigger impact with his new team than most analysts predict for him.
The numbers aren’t great. Four seasons, 35 catches in 37 games for 336 yards and one touchdown. The bulk of his work being done last season in nine games with 26 catches. Oddly enough, those numbers would have led the Jaguars in receptions from the tight end spot last season. James O’Shaughnessy caught a meager 24 passes in 2018.
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Now comes the hard part for the Jaguars coaching staff, to implement a game plan that can use the tight end effectively while still developing weapons at wide receiver and establish a potent running attack once again.
DeFilippo was impressed with Swaim from the moment he signed with Jacksonville.
"“Geoff is, boy, he’s dialed in. Unfortunately for him, in Dallas he had a few tough injuries, bone injuries which aren’t really muscle pulls, he had some bone breaks, so you equate those to just kind of bad break injuries,” he explained. “…For a big guy, he can run and, again, we’ll get the pads on in training camp and it will be a lot easier to see in terms of how he blocks.”"
Swaim was also working on his pass catching in offensive drills in both OTAs and minicamp and figures to be the starter for Week 1 against the Kansas City Chiefs. The fact the Jaguars don’t have a true fullback also means the team will use the tight ends more in different offensive sets.
"“We’re experimenting with a couple of guys to play that position. I’m a big believer in ‘the more you can do.’ We need to find a fullback or one of those tight ends needs to be that guy,” DeFilippo added. “A lot of those guys have embraced that challenge. I think you’ll see as we go along here in OTAs, I think you’ll see us have [James] O’Shaugnessy back there, have Josh Oliver back there. We’re going to experiment with a couple of different ways where we can get in two-back formations.”"
When Garry Smits of the Florida Times-Union had the chance to speak to Swaim after one of the team’s OTAs, he told the reporter the system the Jaguars were putting in place and the addition of Nick Foles at quarterback was enough to sign on the dotted line.
"“That was a big part of me wanting to come here,” said Swaim, who was headed for his best statistical season last year before injuries slowed him down. “Knowing Nick likes the tight end and [DeFilippo] likes to feature those guys in the offense. If our [tight end] room can have that kind of impact, it will be tremendous.”"
If DeFilippo can take Swaim, who is known more for his blocking prowess than catching footballs, and make him a vital part of the offensive blueprint, he could become the team’s most underrated player. It also means defensive coordinators will have one more thing to prepare for when they lineup against this offense on a weekly basis.