Jacksonville made some significant moves this off-season, many of them were on the offensive side of the ball in hopes of improving a dismal offence in 08 that averaged just over 18 points per game. A big reason for the significant drop was the play of the running game which was ranked 18th in the league last season after being second in 07. With a struggling running game and a weak aerial attack it was obvious what the Jags needed to address in the off-season.
The offence is exactly what was addressed this spring starting with the release of Fred Taylor. The lifelong Jaguar had his worst season statistically in Jacksonville averaging only 3.9 yards per carry in 13 games. The dismal year led to his release as the Jaguars are clearly looking in a different direction offensively.
The release of Taylor gave the Jags some cap space to make a significant moves offensively. The singing of Torry Holt gives them a deep threat that this team has not had since the retirement of Jimmy Smith. Last season not a single Jaguar receiver had 1000 yards receiving, clearly something needed to be done. Matt Jones, Reggie Williams, and Jerry Porter are no more in Jacksonville which means Holt and Mercedes Lewis will be looked upon to make some plays offensively. Offensive Coordinator Dirk Koetter has allways been a coach who loves to use his receivers and to go down field. Torry Holt and Dennis Northcutt give him two legitimate deep threats which should help the offence that looked lost last season without the run game.
The offensive line which was banged up last season should help give the run game alot more holes this season. Brad Meester, Mo Williams and Vince Mauwai are solid lineman that will need to be strong to help improve the running game. The Running game will revolve around Maurice Jones-Drew, who is a threat every time he touches the ball. Greg Jones gives them an outstanding fullback who is considered one of the best blocking backs in the league. Seventh round pick Rashad Jennings has been turning heads in training camp and could compliment Jones-Drew nicely in the backfield.
Yes defeinsively they lost Mike Peterson and Paul Spicer but the defence has been solid and should be the same this season. The defence is solid despite these losses and should be stronger in the seondary with new coordinator Mel Tucker renowned for his agressive team defence.
If the Jaguars want to improve on their 5-11 record it is going to have to come from the offence. David Garrard has shown to be a smart quarterback throwing few interceptions and being another threat running the ball. Maurice Jones-Drew is arguably the most exciting player in the NFL, he can beat you with his power, with his flashy moves and returning kicks. Torry Holt is a future hall of famer who has a Super Bowl ring and even at 31 is one of the best receivers in the NFL. Mercedes Lewis is a former first round pick who is capable of making big catches when needed. Mike Walker is young and ready to show his ability at receiver.
All in all the Jaguars offence needs to be better offensively to change their fortunes in 2009. There is alot of potential at every position offensively and on paper there is no reason why this team cannot be as dominating as it was back in 2007. The offence looks much stronger and much improved but to date is somewhat unproven. The offence will have the majority of the pressure and will be a major key to the Jaguars success. The time is now for the Jacksonville offence to shoulder the burden and step up their game.