What I learned about the Jaguars during preseason…
After Thursday night’s loss to the Rams, the Jaguars preseason schedule finally came to an end. I’m not saying I was not excited about the return of football, but I’m ready for the regular season! During the past few weeks obtain plenty of new discoveries about my favorite NFL team.
Marcedes Lewis is ready to set new career records.
After receiving the franchise tag & signing a brand new – $35 million – Five year deal with the Jaguars, the tight end from UCLA is prepared to earn every penny. He had a breakout season last year finishing with 58 catches for 700 yards and 10 touchdowns. Lewis is going into his sixth season and appears to be in his prime. With limited action in the preseason Lewis is ready to show everyone what a summer of mixed martial arts training in Los Angeles has done for the 6-foot-6, 262-pound tight end.
“I put more pressure on myself than anybody else could,” he said. “If I drop a ball, I put more pressure on me than you guys think I do. It means more to me than anybody outside could ever say to me. The pressure on me to succeed is much deeper than any voice can ever tell me that I’m doing something wrong.”
If Cecil Shorts continues the play the way he is, he will take a starting position by mid season.
The Mount Union Alum was drafted by the Jaguars as the 114th overall pick (4th round) in April. Against the Atlanta Falcons, Shorts notched five receptions for 52 yards playing against a majority of Atlanta’s first string defense. In Thursday’s game versus the Rams, Shorts contributed to Jacksonville tying up the game by catching a 17-yard TD pass from third string quarterback Luke McCown. The rookie wide receiver is still third on the depth chart but with the Jaguars struggling with this position since Jimmy Smith left, there is a good chance he can move up the ladder.
The Jaguars defense better be worth every penny.
During the four preseason games the Jaguars defense may not have received the media attention they had hoped for, but the entire defensive line has played with passion and managed to cause pressure on opposing quarterbacks and running backs. After last season’s defense rankings, head coach Jack Del Rio made it clear during training camp that he wants to put more pressure on the Jaguars defense creating turnovers. During the off season JDR & general manager Gene Smith made some crucial dramatic changes to the defense by signing linebackers Paul Posluszny and Clint Session, safety Dawan Landry and cornerback Drew Coleman as free agents; in addition to the veterans safety Courtney Greene, cornerback Will Middleton, and defensive tackle Nate Collins and Leger Douzable. These players did not come with a cheap price tag however, seven of their defensive starters playing on contracts worth $206 million — Posluszny, Session, Landry, Smith, Aaron Kampman, Tyson Alualu and Rashean Mathis.
Blaine Gabbert has potential but is not ready for the starting position; while David Garrard fails to perform like a starting QB.
Blaine Gabbert as expected the enivitable debate continues about who should be the Jaguars starting QB. David Garrard remains the starting QB, even though fans speculate how long he can could on to the position. During preseason Gabbert’s inexperience showed but Garrard failed to prove he show keep the starting QB position.
Maurice Jones Drew is flying under the radar.
The first time the Jaguars star running back took the field was Thursday night versus the Rams. Since the lockout ended he has been practicing with the team but still recovering from a season ending knee injury in 2010. MJD is smart, and as a top running back in the NFL he just taking it easy so he can dominate the field this season. MJD & head coach Jack Del Rio both agree that it is more important for him to be healthy for the entire 2011-12 season than it is to play in the preseason. Last season MJD he averaged 4.4 yards with 5 touchdowns.
Fred Taylor will always be a JAGUAR.
Jacksonville signed veteran running back Fred Taylor to a one day contract so he could officially retire a Jaguar. Taylor was the Jaguars first round draft pick in 1998 that paid off for the Jaguars when he produced 286 receptions for 2,361 yards. During his eleven season career in Jacksonville he started in 136 of 140 games, in which he played against all 32 teams and recorded a 100-yard rushing game versus 24 different NFL teams. Taylor is the leading career rusher with career yards (11,271), single season- during 2003 (1,572) and single game – at Pittsburgh in 2000 (234). His franchise records consist of forty-eight 100 yard rushing games and 70 touchdowns. In 2009, he released by the Jaguars and spent his final two seasons with the New England Patriots. On Friday, the Jaguars celebrated the retirement of Fred Taylor to commemorate the running back that helped shape the Jags Nation.
The Jags Nation is truly stronger than ever.
I am sure you’ve all heard this before: “Oh the Jaguars still have fans?” Most irritating thing anyone can say to me. I believe the Jags Nation is as strong as it has ever been, and only growing stronger. With the help the Jacksonville community, efforts of Team TEAL & many other Jaguar fans the support for the team is more alive & glowing than ever. Not only have fans contributed extreme support for the team but the Jaguars have been more involved with the community than ever before. The Jaguars are still trying to avoid blackouts this season but with the efforts of the ticket office & marketing staff less than 9,000 tickets remain for week one.
Preseason records are irrelevant.
Over the last 3 seasons there have been a total of 24 division leaders at the end of the regular season; Of those 24 teams only 4 of them had a winning preseason record. Teams who perform well during the preseason tend to get the media hype but then under perform in the regular season. Since 2003, nine teams finished preseason 4-0; only four of them produced winning records. Last season Carolina, Cincinnati and the New York Giants were 4-0 during preseason but all these teams went on to finish 8-8. Since the preseason is a time for teams to prepare for the regular season so most starters play limited time. During this time teams are working out the depth charts to figure out the best plan for the upcoming season. The Jaguars starters saw limited playing time during the regular season which make them an underdog going into the regular season.