Jacksonville Jaguars Training Camp 2012: 6 Guys Who Could Be on the Hot Seat
It's all about money and numbers.
Who can play the best? Who gives the team more flexibility?
And who can help the Jacksonville Jaguars win on Sundays?
For some veteran players, this 2012 training camp and preseason present battles for playing time and possibly a career in the NFL.
The Jaguars defense is pretty solid and looks to possibly be even better than it was a year ago. There are not too many open starting slots on this team (possibly two or three if rookie Andre Branch becomes a starter).
On offense, this team is still looking for a spark, and maybe street free agents can get the job done (which would cost the team less in the long run). Except for a few guaranteed spots, I really don't think the team can ill-afford to say "no" to anyone who could possibly make a difference.
Here are some players who could be fighting for a roster spot on the team.
Mike Thomas, WR
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Thomas has not had the best of practices so far this offseason.
Could this be the year that the Jaguars eat the rest of his contract and let him walk?
There are other receivers in camp, such as Lee Evans and Brian Robiskie, who may cut into his playing time. If someone who was signed as a free agent after the draft wows people in the slot, then Thomas could be on the outside looking in.
Guy Whimper, OL
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Whimper was re-signed in the offseason to help shore up the line, but seriously, is he the answer?
Hopefully Jason Spitz can contribute, and other linemen such as Daniel Baldridge and Cameron Bradfield can take the next step and play.
I don't think this as huge a loss as the Jaguars think it could be if Eben Britton is healed and starts on the right side of the line at tackle.
Clint Session, LB
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Session may not play this year due to concussion symptoms that have not gone away since last season. He was one of the major finds on defense in free agency last year, but his injury should have Jaguars officials concerned.
What happens if Session does not play this season, and there are lingering effects of the injury?
This is something the team must think of, considering they drafted Brandon Marshall out of Nevada this year and gave Russell Allen a new contract.
Greg Jones, FB
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Jones quietly goes out year after year, plays well and opens holes for Maurice Jones-Drew.
But Jones does not carry the ball that much, nor does he catch the football.
So, is he expendable?
If MJD comes back at a reasonable time, and the team (most notably head coach Mike Mularkey) decides to play MJD and Rashad Jennings in the backfield at the same time, Jones could be another one on the outside looking in.
There also is Brock Bolen, who costs the team less and hasn't seen the playing field much except for special teams.
Is it his chance to prove what he can do?
Rashean Mathis, DB
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Mathis signed a one-year deal in the offseason that could pay him as much as $5 million, but with Aaron Ross returning from London soon to challenge for a starting spot, will this be the last we see of Mathis?
The hometown hero has been great in years' past and looked great before a knee injury against Indianapolis last season. But this is a crowded secondary for the Jaguars—something they have not had in a while.
If younger players step their game up, does this make Mathis expendable? Or, if he cannot wrestle away the starting job from Ross, does this mean the end of his tenure in Jaguars teal?
D'Anthony Smith, DL
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When will we see Smith's potential?
Injuries have curtailed his progress. It is now or never, but if Smith is not the real deal, then the team must look to other alternatives to fill his slot.
Corvey Irvin, C.J. Mosley and rookie Jeris Pendleton could all take playing time from him.