Training Camp Dreams: The Jacksonville Jaguars' Ideal Camp Scenario
With training camp just two weeks away, coaches and front office staff are enjoying the final days they'll have with their families for the next five to six months.
As the Jaguars' Mike Mularkey and Gene Smith lay their weary heads down at night, tuckered out from frolicking with the kids, they dream of the perfect training camp.
After counting miniature MoJo's jumping fences, they nod off with the following tranquil visions of happiness passing through their heads.
Maurice Jones-Drew Shows Up
For all the hand-wringing about Jones-Drew's absence from OTAs, there's no actual crisis in Jacksonville until he misses his first session of training camp.
Does MoJo Show up on time?
There's no "Dream Camp" scenario for the Jaguars that doesn't begin and with Pocket Hercules returning to work under his present contract. It's not necessary that he even be happy. Jones-Drew only needs to not be petulant.
As long as he doesn't cause a problem in the locker room, the Jaguars can live with him just showing up.
Blaine Gabbert Lights-up the Preseason
Gabbert can look good in practice, and fans will be happy enough. If he comes out and burns it up in preseason games, the national media will start to take notice.
Obviously, it doesn't matter what anyone's opinion of Gabbert is. The only thing that counts is how he plays. Perception has a way of becoming reality in the NFL, however.
There's so much negative press and talk around the Jaguars' quarterback, that if he could start to turn the tide of conversation about him, it would go a long way.
Gabbert is going to have some tough moments in 2012. He's a young quarterback, and no one is expecting him to become a Pro Bowl player overnight. What does have to happen is for him to do enough to get everyone off his (and the team's) back long enough for him to have a fair shot at a normal development curve.
Eben Britton is Healthy and Ready to Take the Leap
Outside of Gabbert, no single Jaguar could turn the season for the good by improving as much as Britton can.
He missed most of the season in 2011, and injuries have helped contribute to an inconsistent career. The Jaguars' offensive line is a mix of very good players, like Eugene Monroe, and very bad players like Will Rackley.
If Britton can stay on the field and become a quality cog in the line, it will do wonders for Gabbert, who was sacked an unconscionable 40 times last year.
Rashean Mathis Wins Back a Starting Job
The Jags have a pile of corners, but not a lot of sure-fire answers. William Middleton and Derek Cox played well at times, but battled injuries. They brought in Aaron Ross, but no one is sure he's anything more than a nickel CB.
The only real pedigree at corner for the Jaguars is Rashean Mathis. The only problem with him is that he hasn't been good in a long time.
He's on his last chance with the Jaguars, and a bad camp could mean he's not on the final roster. If he could manage to outplay the other talented but unproven corners, however, it would mean the Jaguars' secondary is in good shape.
It's unclear if the Jaguars are four-deep or no-deep at corner. Mathis playing like the Mathis of old would be a dream come true in Jacksonville.
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