Jaguars Must Open Their Playbook

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Jaguars Must Open Their Playbook
(Photo by Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images)
The Jacksonville Jaguars languished through a 5-11 campaign in 2008, in large part because the team struggled to move the ball on offense, particularly in the passing game. Granted, some of the flaws in the aerial assault can be directly attributed to the catastrophic injuries that befell the offensive line.

Not only did the patchwork offensive line fail to open holes for Fred Taylor and Maurice Jones-Drew, but it also couldn't protect David Garrard. He saw his quarterback rating fall from 102.2 in 2007 to 81.7 in 2008.

The free-agent acquisition of Tra Thomas, coupled with the presence of rookies Eugene Munroe and Eben Britton, will undoubtedly bolster the offensive line. The trio will make it easier for MJD to become a feature back in the NFL, and will also keep Garrard upright and give him more time to scan the field.

However, Garrard's effectiveness will be limited if the team doesn't make a conscious effort to throw down field and stretch the defense. Teams will be inclined to put eight men in the box, stop the run and make Garrard, and offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter, beat the defense with the deep pass.

I'm still not sure Jacksonville has the offensive personnel to scare anyone. Torry Holt was a big signing, but he is coming to the end of his career. The team did draft Mike Thomas, Jarrett Dillard and Tiquan Underwood, but I would be shocked if any of the three made an instant impact.

Even if Jacksonville is not built for a strong passing game, the Jaguars must show a willingness to stretch the field and keep the safeties honest. If they don't, they will have another lackluster year offensively in 2009.

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