Friday, August 14, 2009
2009 NFL PREVIEW- Jacksonville Jaguars
2008 RECORD: 5-11
(4th in AFC South)
HEAD COACH: Jack Del Rio
Key Additions: WR Torry Holt (FA/Rams) OL Tra Thomas (FA/Eagles) QB Todd Bouman (FA/Ravens)
Key Losses: RB Fred Taylor (FA/Patriots) LB Mike Peterson (FA/Falcons) DE Paul Spicer (FA/Saints) WR Matt Jones (FA) WR Jerry Porter (FA) CB Drayton Florence (FA/Bills) WR Reggie Williams (FA)
Offense: Jacksonville's offense fell off dramatically in 2008, especially the running game as the tandem of Maurice Jones-Drew and Fred Taylor wasn't packing quite the same punch in '08 than in previous years.
Taylor left via free agency and Jones-Drew will be the feature back after running for 824 yards and scoring 12 touchdowns in 2008. The fullback is Greg Jones, who will also act as a backup to Jones-Drew.
David Garrard returns for another season as quarterback after passing for 3,620 yards and 15 TDs and 13 interceptions last season. Garrard also rushed for 322 yards and scored two touchdowns in 2008.
The wide receivers will feature a whole new look for the 2009 season.
Torry Holt (64 catches for 796 yards and three touchdowns in '08) comes to Jacksonville after many stellar seasons with the St. Louis Rams. How much does Holt have left? The Jaguars are willing to see and will have Mike Walker and Dennis Northcutt lining up opposite Holt in 2009. The Tight End is Marcedes Lewis, who is starting to emerge as a consistent receiver and enjoyed a decent 2008 season by catching 41 passes for 489 yards and two TDs.
The offensive line is made up of center Brad Meester, guards Vince Manuwal and Maurice Williams and tackles Eugene Monroe and Eben Britton.
Defense: The Jaguars' defense also fell off in 2008 as it slipped to 17th overall in the NFL, allowing 331 yards per game. Jacksonville also saw its run defense, so solid in past years, drop to 13th (107 yards allowed per game) in the league.
The Jags employ the 4-3 style and the defensive line will have Terrence Knighton and John Henderson at tackles and ends Reggie Hayward and Derrick Harvey.
Daryl Smith will anchor the linebacking corps in the middle and Clint Ingram and Justin Durant are the outside linebackers.
The cornerbacks are Rashean Mathis and Brian Williams. Sean Considine is the strong safety and Reggie Nelson is the free safety.
This unit (secondary) was lit up quite often in 2008, allowing 224 yards per game through the air. There were just 13 interceptions on defense and the pass rush was only able to generate 29 sacks for the season.
Jacksonville also allowed 367 points in '08, which was higher than previous seasons.
OUTLOOK: Jacksonville was a huge disappointment last year as many football fans figured they could be contenders for the Super Bowl.
Head Coach Jack Del Rio has to figure out a way to get the swagger back in his team in 2009.
This team seems to come alive after a down season and that has been the trend the past five or six seasons for the Jaguars.
There were a lot of changes in the off-season on offense and if Garrard and his new cast of receivers can connect quickly, it will be a great benefit for the team. Jones-Drew will have to carry the bulk of the load in the running game in '09 and that may be a concern for the team if he breaks down during the season. There is not a lot of depth at this position.
Defensively, the Jags have to pick it up and get after the quarterback to help out the secondary. They simply cannot allow opponents to pass at will against them in 2009, especially playing in the AFC South where Peyton Manning, Matt Schaub and Kerry Collins reside.
If Jacksonville can mesh offensively and the defense turns it around and plays the way it did in 2007 when the Jags battled hard into the second round of the playoffs, they can once again make a run at the playoffs.
The schedule is tough and the team has to prove itself all over again after making so many changes from last year.
The Jaguars should win more games, just not enough to get to the playoffs. A 7-9 finish would be more likely for the Jags than anything else this season.
Week 1- at Indianapolis (Sept. 13)
Week 2- vs. Arizona (Sept. 20)
Week 3- at Houston (Sept. 27)
Week 4- vs. Tennessee (Oct. 4)
Week 5- at Seattle (Oct. 11)
Week 6- vs. St. Louis (Oct. 18)
Week 7- BYE WEEK
Week 8- at Tennessee (Nov. 1)
Week 9- vs. Kansas City (Nov. 8)
Week 10- at NY Jets (Nov. 15)
Week 11- vs. Buffalo (Nov. 22)
Week 12- at San Francisco (Nov. 29)
Week 13- vs. Houston (Dec. 6)
Week 14- vs. Miami (Dec. 13)
Week 15- vs. Indianapolis (Dec. 17)
Week 16- at New England (Dec. 27)
Week 17- at Cleveland (Jan. 3)