This Year, the Jaguars were one game away from supplanting the Colts and becoming AFC South champs.
But, like last year, they lost their last 4 games to end their season 8-8.
Led by Maurice Jones-Drew, the Jaguars were one of the best running teams in the NFL this year, and the defense did a good job stopping the run until late this season. Their passing attack grew with M80 as the go to receiver for Garrard and Marcedes Lewis emerging as a threat in his contract year.
Special teams were their “specialty,” lead by Montell Owens and Kassim Osgood.
And Josh Scobee showed us what he could do from 59-yards out.
This offseason, the Jaguars need to address the following positions by either free agency, the 2011 NFL Draft, or resigning their own players.
Top 5 needs (Not in priority order)
- Defensive end
The Jaguars decided not to select Tebow in 2010, preferring to select Tyson Alualu to rebuild their defensive line instead. The result was a season without any television blackouts, and a defensive line that was able to stop the run for the majority of the season while almost doubling it sack production.
Garrard had another hit-and-miss season, yet he was able to produce a franchise-high 23 TDs and another five on the ground. However, he threw 15 INTs and fumbled 11 times.
Garrard is consistently bashed for his tendency to turn the ball over, but his coaches seem to be utilizing Garrard's legs on 3rd and 4th-down conversions and employing the run to open up passing lines.
He does have a few years left on his contract, so he could continue to start next season if the Jags select a QB in the Draft and choose to groom him (or another) for the future, such as...
...Luke McCown. McCown was obtained in the '09 season in a trade with the Bucs. The Jags scooped him up in a trade after he showed promise during an impressive preseason.
However, he barely played last year, and was lost to season-ending ACL injury in 2010.
I have a feeling he will be resigned this offseason.
The Jags may draft a QB in the first round, but are projected to select a signal-called during either the second or third rounds, according to most early mock drafts.
Quarterbacks may be drafted by teams ahead of the Jags in the draft order, such as the Bills, Titans and Vikings.
Cam Newton and Blaine Gabbert are likely to be Top 10 picks. In my opinion, the Jags may choose Jake Locker, Christian Ponder or even Ryan Mallett, possibly trading down to select a QB.
I do believe that the Jags will continue to start Garrard either way in 2011. I don’t see Trent Edward or Todd Bouman coming back.
The Jags drafted Deji Karim this past year in the sixth round to add depth and to help in the return game. Karim took the majority of the kick-returns and saw some additional action in Week 5 against Buffalo and Week 17 against Houston. He managed to fumble four times this year, but he’ll likely get another chance.
Maurice Jones-Drew continues to produce, and Rashard Jennings has been making defenders miss. All season long, I'd heard that Jennings would be a great short-yardage receiver, but I didn't see that until the latter part of the year. He did struggle initially, but he is a good complementary back to MJD and has big-play ability.
The Jags clearly emphasize touches for the running backs, as they join the Chiefs, Raiders and Jets as the only teams to attempt 500 carries this year. They are not likely to address this position
Marcedes Lewis has emerged this season as a threat, snagging 10 TDs and Pro-Bowl honors in his contract year. This offseason, the Jags should resign the former first-round pick from UCLA, as he has proven himself as a big-play threat. He is a priority.
Zack Miller has produced sporadically, but he is second on the depth chart. He had a big game at Houston in Week 10, and I'd like to see more of him in the coming year.
I don’t see the Jags acquiring other talent at this time if Marcades gets the contract he’s looking for.
They need him.
Greg Jones paved the way for MJD as an unknown fullback playing in the small market of Jacksonville.
Watch the video, and you won't forget how hard the former FSU Seminole can hit.
Montell Owens is a special-teams star that sees some action at FB when Jones is injured. He has been the leading tackler on ST, and earned his Pro Bowl bid this year.
That's impressive, because he plays alongside special-teams standout Kassim Osgood.
Owens is not going anywhere. The Jags are unlikely to address this position.
Mike Sims-Walker caught 43 balls for 562 yards and 7 TDs this season. He wasn't as productive as last year, with only a few good games in 2010.
As in 2009, his season ended with a knee injury, but he may be able to turn it around next year. Think of 2010 as his sophomore slump.
The Jags should retain him, but I worry about his health.
Mike Thomas (M80) caught 66 balls for 820 yards with 4 TDs this season. Thomas ended the most productive game of his career by catching Glover Quinn's Hail Mary deflection to secure Jacksonville's last-second victory over Houston.
I see him as Garrard's go-to-guy, and I expect more end-around plays with him.
Jason Hill was acquired late this season from the 49ers. He flashed an ability to catch deep passes from Garrard, something the Jags have been missing.
Hill was an excellent acquisition and I expect big things next year. It is likely that he will be resigned to stretch the field in the future.
John Matthews was great for the Jags this preseason, and may compete with Jarrett Dillard for placement on the depth chart next season. Dillard has made a few good grabs, but he has been injured during his two seasons as a pro.
Kassim Osgood was acquired more for his special-teams play than his receiving ability.
but is having a MSW career being injured in his first and only two seasons. Kassim Osgood was acquired more for his ST plays then his receiving ability.
The Jags may use a late-round pick or test free agency to improve their WR corps.
LT and RT were addressed in '09 with first and second-round picks Eugene Monroe and Eben Britton. Uche Nwaneri and Vince Manuwai are good guards, yet Vince is 30-years-old and his backup is the injury-prone Justin Smiley
Depth could be added there.
Center Brad Meester is 33-years-old and a free-agent pick-up seems likely scenario if a replacement isn't chosen on either Day Two or Day Three of the Draft.
Depth could be added at tackle as well. Jordan Black wasn’t half-bad, but he wasn’t half-good, either. He did start in games when MJD had 100 yards, but Britton is clearly the better tackle.
Terrance Knighton (Pot Roast) was the most productive tackle taken from the 2009 Draft, and continued to be a force this season. He even managed to record an INT.
Tyson Alualu was second-best rookie DT in 2010, after Detroit's Ndamukong Suh. Alualu proved that the Jaguars did not reach to get him.
D’Anthony Smith was the Jags' third-round selection this season, but was lost early to a season-ending injury. Expect him to spell both starters and cause some disruption next year.
The Jags are not likely to address this position
In 2009, the Jaguars recorded 14 sacks. In 2010, after they signed Aaron Kampman, that number rose to 26.
Though Kampman recorded only four QB take-downs before his season ended with an injury, he was a leader in the locker room and will start again next year.
However, after two knee injuries, the Jaguars may attempt to find a replace in this year's Draft, either on Day One or Day Two.
Jeremy Mincey also came to play, racking up five sacks for the Jags in 2010 after sustaining numerous injuries in his career.
Austen Lane earned a starting role late in the season, as Derrick Harvey continues to prove he’s a bust. Bryan Smith could possibly make a return, having never actually played with the Jags due to repeated injury.
The Jaguars will most likely take a DE on Day One or Day Two, and it wouldn't surprise if they choose Wisconsin's J.J. Watt or Purdue's Ryan Kerrigan, if either is available. If they like either, It is probably that they would trade down and proceed to select whichever DE remains.
Jack Del Rio and Kirk Morrison
Kirk Morrison was picked up for a fourth-round pick in last year's draft. The Jags also acquired a fifth-round selection in the exchange.
How does Gene Smith do it?
Morrison is great in run support. He racked up 89 tackles in 2010, second on the team.
He seems to be vocal, as well. I see him running around, screaming on the sideline anytime a teammate makes a play.
I see the Jags resigning him quickly this offseason.
Justin Durant was hit-and-miss this season. He sat for a few games due to injury, yet was in great shape during at the midway point. The Jags will probably resign him, as well..
Daryl Smith has been consistent as an outside and middle LB throughout his career. He led the team in tackles and grabbed himself a few sacks, a forced fumble, and pick in 2010. He isn't vocal, but he definitely leads by example.
Jacksonville may test free agency for depth, especially behind Durant and Morrison. It is also possible that they would add a linebacker later in the Draft.
Derek Cox making a play
Jacksonville's secondary struggled this season, due in part to the lack of pressure produced by the defense overall.
The Jaguars will definitely draft at least one DB during either Day One or Day Two of the Draft.
Nnamdi Asomugha and Champ Bailey are Free agents this year. Asomugha will probably stay in Oakland but may go to the New York Jets to play with Darrelle Revis, or to Green Bay where he will be partnered with Charles Woodson and the Packers.
Bailey has said he would like to play with a new team. Thirty-one GM's are waiting with flowers, chocolates and their checkbooks, as well.
Rashean (The Machine) Mathis Is getting older and he wants a new contract. He was hoping for an extension in the preseason but didn’t receive one.
As he enters the last year of his deal, I expect the Jaguars to him a two or three-year extension and part ways thereafter.
Derek Cox struggled in the early part of the season and lost his job. He finished well, leading the team once again in picks with four. He is a great tackler who helps in run support to his side.
David Jones was acquired from the Bengals for Reggie Nelson. Nelson had a decent year in Cincinnati, while Jones struggled to cover as Cox's replacement. He did make some good tackles, though, and I think they'll give him one more year.
It is unlikely that the Jags will have an opportunity to draft LSU's Patrick Peterson or Nebraska's Prince Amukamara, but you never know.
If the Jaguars look for a corner on Day One, it will most likely be
Patrick Peterson will most likely be taken as well Prince Amukamara, but hey you never know. If the Jags look to take a corner on day one it will most likely be Miami's Brandon Harris.
Dan Carey wasn't too spectacular when he started vs. the Kansas City Chiefs in Week 7. But, then again, the entire defense seemed weak.
Carey's play was hit-or-miss as he replaced traded FS Anthony Smith. He should continue to start, but may be forced to compete with a second, third or fourth-round draft pick.
Courtney Greene was great as a run-tuffer but did slip in coverage from time-to-time. Statistically, he was up-and-down all season, but I do see the Jags resigning him because he was their best safety.
Sean Considine lost his starting Job after only a few starts but as I watched him support the run,he always seemed to be around the ball-carrier with a head full of steam. I believe the Jags will pull the trigger on a safety with either their second or third-round pick, as do many mock-draft writers.
Josh Scobee had a great year, including a 59-yard FG to defeat Colts. He earned his paychecks, making most of his field goals from 30 yards out or more. He may have made more field goals this season if his team wasn't so good in the red zone; he was 5-for-5 from 30 yards or less.
Adam Podlesh won the punting job last year over the Jets' Steve Weatherford. On 57 punts, he averaged 43.8 yards and recorded touchbacks, but has done a good job at landing the ball within the 20-yard line. Special teams were great this season; they did not surrender a touchdown in 2010.
The Jaguars are unlikely to address either position.