I’ve forgotten the debacle that is better known as the 2008 Jacksonville Jaguar season. Now that the 2009 NFL Draft is over, the Jags can pickup right where they left off, after the 2007 season and after making it to the second round of the playoffs, right?
In my best Lee Corso voice, “Not so fast.”
The question that seems to be forgotten to be asked is, how much damage was done to the team in 2008 with the questionable free agent pickups?
Jerry Porter and Drayton Florence were HUGE disasters to say the least, and quickly, they were shown the door along with general manager Shack Harris.
However, does the taste linger in the mouths of the remaining Jaguar players? Mucho dinero was handed out to those two gentlemen, with very little return on the investment on the field or in the locker room. Purportedly, the locker room became an atmosphere thick with distrust and discontinuity.
We shall soon find out when the season starts.
Torry Holt is now a Jaguar, and everyone is sure he will be the exact opposite of Jerry Porter on the field and in the locker room.
With the departures of Matt Jones and Reggie Williams, Holt will be looked upon to pickup the slack. And in my humble opinion, he doesn’t have to do much to meet their 2008 production.
However, I think in the long run Holt’s presence in the locker room will be the true benefit. With Mike Walker and the 2009 draft additions Mike Thomas and Jarrett Dillard coming of age, Holt can really help the Jaguars by teaching and mentoring.
On the field, it may be possible that he, Williamson, and Northcutt could actually be a formidable threesome on the field for Garrard and opposing defenses. How quickly the WR's come together and produce is the question everyone wants answered.
Patience is truly a virtue. And in the case of the Jaguar fan, it is almost impossibility.
The offensive line was the glaring weakness of the 2008 Jaguars. With the additions of Eugene Monroe and Eben Britton from the draft, and free agency acquisition Tra Thomas, the Jaguars will be vastly improved.
What concerns me is the departure of Fred Taylor. I have confidence in MJD; however, he will now be asked to carry the ball 20+ times a game, and Greg Jones will act more as a fullback.
Will Jones-Drew be able to step up and carry the running game on his shoulders? Patience Jaguar fans, patience.
On the other side of the ball, the Jaguars so far have done very little to counter the losses from last year’s team. Yes, they picked Terrence Knighton, the 6’3” 321 pound monster from Temple in the third round, but how long will it take for him to handle and learn the nuances of the NFL game?
Rob Meier will be there to assist, which is a very good thing, but neither one are going to fill the gap like the departed Marcus Stroud. I still say letting Stroud go was a very bad idea, and the Bills seem to agree.
They signed Stroud to an extension this offseason. Some feel Derek Cox is a Rasheed Mathis clone and will do quite nicely once he hits the field. We shall see, patience, patience.
The 2009 season is going to be quite intriguing, and I feel the Jaguars can easily achieve a .500 record.
I know, I know, Tony Dungy retired, but I still think the Colts will be the team to beat, and the Titans are still a step above the Jaguars. However, if the wide receivers catch on quickly (no pun intended) and the offensive line gels nicely, the Jaguars are capable of earning a wild card in the playoffs.
Injuries, as always, can derail the team once again, but other than that, the Jaguars are well on their way back. And a wild card would be a nice feather in Del Rio’s cap.