State Of The Team - Jacksonville Jaguars Preview

Discussion in 'Jacksonville Jaguars' started by mike oxlong, Apr 8, 2008.

  1. mike oxlong

    mike oxlong The Voice Of Reason

    State of the Team Jacksonville Jaguars

    The biggest surprise heading into last season was the release of perennial starter Byron Leftwich in favor of the unproven David Garrard. Not only did Garrard prove that was the right move, he played lights out and earned himself a huge payday and long term deal to boot. Garrard always had the threat of putting the ball away and running through defenses, but his passing game has come a long way from just two seasons ago, when he was just a scrambler who only passed when he couldnt run for it. Del Rio is a great coach that knows how to keep his team at a top level and there is no reason to think they wont be challenging the Colts for the division this year.

    Coaching Changes

    The only major coaching change for Jacksonville was hiring Gregg Williams to be Defensive Coordinator taking over for Mike Smith who left to become the new Head Coach of the Atlanta Falcons. Williams was spurned by Dan Snyder after many assumed he was going to replace retiring legend Joe Gibbs. Washingtons loss is Jacksonvilles gain. Williams impact will be in the overall scheme, he bends the 4-3 defense using the linebackers via different blitzes to get pressure and the safeties and corners as the ones taking care of dump offs and screens. In Williams defense that is aggressive, DBs have to know how to tackle which is why Donnie Henderson is there coaching the secondary, he will help the DBs be even better tacklers.

    2008 Team Needs

    DE Gregg Williams love to blitz, but that doesnt change the fact that there needs to be pressure created from the End position. Reggie Hayward is not a pass rush threat and the Jags could use a young stud to force the QB to make some errant throws into a strong secondary. Paul Spicer played great in 2007, but will be 33 when the season starts. A full time pass rusher would allow Gregg Williams to be very aggressive which will lead to more sacks and turnovers.

    DT Defensive Tackle has been a strength for this team for years. With Marcus Stroud leaving for Buffalo, John Henderson has lost his partner. Derek Landri had a nice rookie season and they did sign Jimmy Kennedy from the Bears, but you can bet Jacksonville will be drafting a DT and possibly right away.

    SS Reggie Nelson is a great young player at the Free Safety spot, but with Sammy Knight signing with the Giants, a replacement is needed as Gerald Sensabaugh is not the answer.

    WR The Jaguars have a ton of WRs after signing Jerry Porter and trading for Troy Williamson, but none of them have ever done anything. Reggie Williams stepped up in the red zone, but is not a #1. I wouldnt doubt they draft a WR in the mid to late rounds for some added competition.

    Possible Free Agent Solutions

    The Jaguars two major Free Agency moves were signing Cornerback Drayton Florence from the Chargers and WR Jerry Porter from the Raiders. Signing Florence should help the secondary and underachieving CB Brian Williams and secondary Coach Donnie Henderson will help young Brian Williams get better this season. As far as the Porter signing most would tell you they overpaid for a guy who disappeared when handed the #1 WR in Oakland. As stated above, they signed Jimmy Kennedy from the Bears to help in the loss of Stroud, but those are some big shoes to fill, literally, and more help is obviously needed there through the draft.

    Possible Draft Solutions:

    The Jaguars currently hold the Following picks

    26th (1st round)
    58th (2nd round)
    71st & 89th (3rd round)

    In addition they have a 4th (121) & three in the 5th (139,150 & 151)

    In the 1st round, Jacksonville fills a huge need in drafting the big Defensive End from Clemson, Phillip Merling. The Jags luck out due to a poor showing of strength at the combine and him being a no show at his pro day owing toa sports hernia. This guy knows how to pressure the Quarterback. Even when he doesnt get the sack, he is constantly in the backfield causing all kinds of problems for offenses. He can even drop back into coverage, he is that good. He is a big End, but is very athletic for his size and will make an immediate impact on Gregg Williams' defense for the better.

    In the 2nd round, the Jaguars make up for passing on Auburns Quentin Groves by taking the Tigers Defensive Tackle, Pat Sims. Against the run he has the strength to stand up blockers and fill the running lanes. He has above average leverage, which allows him a push that will disturb opposing running games to say the least. Rushing the quarterback isnt a strength, but it's not necessarily a weakness either. His quickness helps him overcome the need to enhance his footwork and he uses a great burst to collapse the pocket. He can sometimes be content with creating opportunities for his LBs, but needs that killer instinct to go after the ball carrier himself, something that Gregg Williams can easily instill in him.

    With the 3rd round selections, the Jaguars have options having multiple picks. First they target Oline grabbing big Offensive Tackle from Virginia Tech, Duane Brown. This guy went from a mid to late round pick to a lock third, maybe second with an amazing showing at the combine. He was among the leaders in the 40-yard dash, vertical jump, 3-cone drill and 20-yard shuffle for OTs. Brown definitely needs to work on his technique and to get a little stronger at the point of attack, but he does. He will be great lineman for years to come. You just cannot teach that kind of speed or athleticism. With the second pick of the third round, I have the Jaguars going Inside Linebacker as Mike Peterson, while being a leader on defense is often a leader from the sidelines due to injury. The Jags get another great pick here taking Florida State LB Geno Hayes. As a junior last year he totaled 80 tackles, 17.5 tackles for loss, five sacks and an interception. Completely healthy, he was the most dominating player on the Florida State defense. A phenomenal athlete, Hayes can put on the monster hit and plays great sideline-to-sideline. He is a versatile player that can work the inside or the outside linebacker spot. Off the field issues and injury concerns are the only reason the Jaguars are able to get this guy so late. He recently had one issue settled prior to the combine where all charges brought against him were dropped. It will really come down to interviews with this kid. If he can convince teams that his poor judgment is behind him he will find a home in the NFL. Some may say the 3rd round is a bit high for the risk involved, but with the Jags having two picks in this round and 3 picks in the 5th. I know they can afford drafting him here.


    Many people expected the Jaguars to take a step back last year with the turmoil surrounding the Quarterback position heading out of camp, but Jack Del Rio knew different. Garrards play and leadership proved that Jack made the right move. This year the defense under Gregg Williams' guidance will definitely be more assertive and fun to watch as well. The offense has employed many weapons in an attempt to finally get that #1 WR they are looking for and with Garrard at the helm, with his ability to make quick decisions; it should be an inevitability rather than a liability.
  2. mike oxlong

    mike oxlong The Voice Of Reason

    any thoughts?
  3. Jammin Jaguar

    Jammin Jaguar English Student.

    Liking it, liking it. Just a quicky, Reggie Williams probably is a #1 WR going off how he performed last season. He had 10 TDs and not even the great Jimmy Smith accomplished that for the Jaguars. (His highest in a season was eight).

    And I don't think we'll be going DT in round one (I know you didn't say we would, but you said we could)... I see what you mean but maybe a later round. DT is quite a good position for depth in this year's draft.
  4. dolphindude13

    dolphindude13 Jack Of All Trades

    Good read Mike, regardless of what the Jags do, they'll be in the thick of the race again. I love Del Rio and the way he runs his team, he always seems to get the most out of them.
  5. Jammin Jaguar

    Jammin Jaguar English Student.

    Good point. You got to admit, there's not many Head Coaches that act like Del Rio... I think what makes him a great HC is that he can not only be professional, but he's down there with the players on a personal level too. He is almost another player who just doesn't get on the field.
  6. mike oxlong

    mike oxlong The Voice Of Reason

    he was like that in his playing days too, he was like a coach on the field as a player. Losing stroud is huge and if they can land sims in the 2nd, they wouldn't miss a beat. with Merling and Sims added to that line under Williams aggressive tutelage, I look for that defense to have a monster year.
  7. Jammin Jaguar

    Jammin Jaguar English Student.

    Yeah, when I said that DT is good for depth in this year's draft class I immediately thought of Simms and being able to get him outside the first round. It'd be awesome adding to D-Linemen on Day One.
  8. KJ3

    KJ3 Terminally Slack-Jawed

    another great report Mike! you left out the part where they move to mexico but other than spot on!

    the jags, despite being a fierce rival to my boys, are one of my favorite teams to watch. they play with bad intentions.