Justin Blackmon's Return Will Have Major Impact on Jaguars' Offense

Steven CookFeatured Columnist IVOctober 6, 2013

ST. LOUIS, MO - OCTOBER 6: Justin Blackmon #14 of the Jacksonville Jaguars is tackled out of bounds by Darian Stewart #20 of the St. Louis Rams during a game against the St. Louis Rams at the Edward Jones Dome on October 6, 2013 in St. Louis, Missouri.  (Photo by Michael Thomas/Getty Images)
Michael Thomas/Getty Images

The Jacksonville Jaguars are making headlines for all of the wrong reasons this season, which means the return of star wide receiver Justin Blackmon could not have come at a better time.

Jacksonville has started out the 2013 NFL season 0-5, but that record doesn't even do their struggles justice.

Perhaps this paints a better picture: They scored 31 points through the first four games, and they've given up more than 32 points per game on average through five games.

Blackmon was suspended for the first four games of 2013, leaving a gaping hole at the receiver slot that undoubtedly made its impact on the Jaguars' lethargic offense. Cecil Shorts surpassed 300 yards in four contests, but he's followed by a rookie with 162 total yards and a flock of players under the century mark.

Immediately upon entering his first game of the season against the St. Louis Rams in Week 5, Blackmon wasted no time making an impact.

Aug 24, 2013; Jacksonville, FL, USA; Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback Chad Henne (7) congratulates wide receiver Justin Blackmon (14) after he caught a touchdown pass during the first quarter of their game against the Philadelphia Eagles at EverBank Field
Phil Sears-USA TODAY Sports

His first catch of the season was a 67-yard bomb from Blaine Gabbert—the type of big play that has been sorely missed in the Jaguars' offense this season.

ESPN anchor Trey Wingo captured just how much of an impact Blackmon could have on the Jags' season:

In just one catch, Blackmon became the team's fourth-leading receiver in terms of yardage. He finished with five grabs for 137 yards, including the big score in the opening quarter.

Things haven't been completely ineffective at the receiver slot this season for Jacksonville. Shorts is having a solid year as the team's featured wideout, averaging more than 80 yards per game through four contests. 

But with Ace Sanders, the rookie out of South Carolina, as the team's No. 2 guy, you can't feel too comfortable with your chances if you're a Jags fan. 

Blackmon's return, given that he builds off his solid 2012 campaign with more of the same, should be an exponential boost at that position. He finished his rookie year with 64 catches for 865 yards and five touchdowns, flashing big-play ability and clear athleticism.

He's still young and developing but already has star potential in the NFL, as he has already made his mark on his team's offense in his debut.

The Jags haven't had many big plays this season on offense, much less solid drives. Blackmon will help in both of those categories and catalyze an offense that ranked 30th in the league in passing prior to Week 5.