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Team checklist: Jaguars

Oakland Raiders v Jacksonville Jaguars Getty Images

The Jaguars have made it clear they will spend in free agency.  So what will they spend on?

Jacksonville is up next in our series looking at what each team needs to do after the lockout.

1. Find a starting safety or two.

“I think sometimes our corners were stressed more than what they should be,” Jaguars G.M. Gene Smith told Jaguars.com recently.

Translation: Our safeties are awful.

You could argue no safety group in the league is worse.  Fourth-round pick Chris Prosinski will get a chance to start, and the team seems to like Courtney Greene. The rest of last year’s cast of characters are disposable. The Jaguars should be in the mix for top free agent safeties like Michael Huff and Dashon Goldson. It would be a surprise if they didn’t sign a starter and a backup.

2. Solidify linebacker spots.

Justin Durant is expected to leave. Kirk Morrison’s situation is uncertain.  They have Daryl Smith to hold down the fort, but the Jaguars are dangerously thin otherwise.  (Russell Allen and Alvin Bowen are next in line.)

We’d bring back Morrison on a short-term deal and find another guy that contribute right away.  This position is almost as weak as safety and probably needs two starters.

3. Keep Marcedes Lewis happy.

It’s possible that Lewis could hold out of training camp until he gets a new contract.  With so much else to do in free agency, taking care of their Pro Bowl tight end quickly could be tricky. Ideally, they can get Lewis in camp under the franchise tag and work on a deal later.

4. Sniff around for wideout value.

We get the sense Jacksonville will spend all their free agent money on defense, but they should wonder if their have enough firepower out wide.

Mike Thomas is a quality starter.  Rookie Cecil Shorts and Jarrett Dillard can compete for the job in the slot.  But do the Jaguars really believe in Jason Hill enough to make him practically the only deep threat on the team?

Mike Sims-Walker may have been a knucklehead at times, but he gave Jacksonville’s meat and potatoes offense a different dimension. This group needs more playmakers. Counting so heavily on Hill based on a few good games could cost them.

5. Pray Aaron Kampman stays healthy.

If the needs at safety and linebacker weren’t so desperate, we’d say that signing a defensive end was paramount.

The Jaguars are hoping for a lot at the position. They hope Aaron Kampman stays healthy and returns to his 2010 form after returning from a torn ACL.  They hope that a young trio of Jeremy Mincey, Austen Lane, and Derrick Harvey can make significant strides.

Jacksonville was one of the worst pass rushing teams in the league last year. What’s changed?

6. Balance the present and future at quarterback.

It’s hard to imagine Blaine Gabbert having a real chance to start in Week One after such a short offseason.  Still, Jack Del Rio has to get Gabbert as many meaningful snaps as possible to prepare Gabbert to possibly play later in 2011. They also need to evaluate the kid.

It will be a tricky balancing act with David Garrard still in place. He needs to play consistently or risk losing his job, not to mention Del Rio’s.

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14 Responses to “Team checklist: Jaguars”
  1. jlana24 says: Jun 19, 2011 2:45 PM

    Really solid list. Glad to see some journalists actually do their homework on the Jags. PFT has done a much better job of reporting on the real situation in Jax, instead of saying why every other lazy writer says about us: “Tim Tebow would of sold tickets and now they’re definitely moving to LA, no matter how many times Weaver denies it”.

  2. footballhistorian says: Jun 19, 2011 2:51 PM

    My Cowboy’s safeties were (and probably will be) worse…

  3. frostbelt says: Jun 19, 2011 3:14 PM

    7. Move to L.A.

  4. tonyinjax says: Jun 19, 2011 3:27 PM

    I posted something similar at Jaguars.com, but even though it’s a longshot, I wouldn’t be at all surprised to find Nnamdi starting in the backfield whenever football gets going again. People say the WW is a cheap owner, but we watched him drop close to 25 million in Jerry Porter and Drayton Florence – two of the worst FA signings in Jags history. The difference with Asomgwe (sic) is that, even though he will be really expensive, he fits Smith’s profile of a Jaguar. He performs on and and off the field and carries himself with a presence. He is a high-character guy that has proven that he can shut down half of the field during the game and not shut down half of the night clubs after.

    The other thing that makes this intruiging is the fact that you don’t here that rumor out there. Smith is known to show zero interest in his actual draft picks and with this being a huge/crazy FA offseason, I would expect him to keep his hand closed to outsiders.

    So while I still feel that it’s highly unlikely, it wouldn’t surprise me at all to read this in the paper, ‘Nnamdi signs with the Jags?’

  5. ludwig1029 says: Jun 19, 2011 3:46 PM

    It would be nice if Derek Harvey would have some production and not be labeled as a COMPLETE bust.

  6. svallen says: Jun 19, 2011 4:44 PM

    Seeing as the Jags are willing to spend during free agency, here is a list of their current free agents that they may/my not sign once Free Agency begins (http://www.spotrac.com/free-agents/nfl/jacksonville-jaguars/). I’m not sure any of these players are anything to really write home about…but maybe there is a diamond in the rough?

  7. nationalmediacansuckit says: Jun 19, 2011 6:24 PM

    frostbelt says:
    Jun 19, 2011 3:14 PM
    7. Move to L.A.
    ————————————————–
    8. Choke yourself.

    Rosenthal, that was a quality assessment of the Jaguars without the usually Jag bashing. See what happens when you do quality reporting, you get quality praise. Very accurate. Nice work.

  8. clintonrb says: Jun 19, 2011 6:53 PM

    why did they let mike sims walker go?
    he wasnt top tier but was a decent wideout who could burn and stretch the field….
    having him out there opened up the running lanes for maurice and allowed for mercedes lewis to catch easy passes over the middle..

    there are several teams that would be happy to make him the 2nd wideout on their team..

  9. tonyinjax says: Jun 19, 2011 7:37 PM

    @clintonrb

    MSW was a good player, but he couldn’t stay on the field and he seemed to get the drops on critical plays.

    Apparently Gene Smith didn’t think that he would get any better.

  10. dogsweat1 says: Jun 19, 2011 7:57 PM

    Team Checklist: Jags….

    Los Angeles Bound……

  11. jvillenole says: Jun 19, 2011 10:09 PM

    MSW definitely could not “burn and stretch the field.” He is a possesion receiver, not “wheels” receiver. He really is not very fast.

  12. hobartbaker says: Jun 19, 2011 10:24 PM

    Leaders are born, not made.

    http://www.nfl.com/news/story/09000d5d8205e155/article/freshfaced-future-football-players-when-they-were-young?module=HP_spotlight#photo=19

  13. commonspence says: Jun 19, 2011 10:47 PM

    Answer to your Question 5:

    D’Anthony Smith is healthy and ready to play. Also, while one of the worst, the Jags increased their sack numbers dramatically in 10 from 09.

    This is by no means a ‘Teal Curtain’, but the arrow is pointing up. With health a concern in Indy for Manning, Tennessee going to a 50yr old or rookie at QB, and the Houston Texans STILL the Houston Texans, the Jaguars are the only team improving or staying put at all positions. This, from a team that could have clinched the division in week 15 last year.

    And that’s today’s totally biased, ‘homer’ response. Have a good night.

  14. bigvinnyinjax says: Jul 9, 2011 7:09 PM

    The WR and Safety positions are dire. And without Kampman the DE position is a solid F (with him it’s a D).

    Lewis is interesting at TE. He was very solid in 2010 but still not top shelf in my opnion. He would be unwise to hold out after one good season and many average ones. Zach Miller is a very good option as a backup TE – not certain if he’s a starter just yet (college QB).

    I’m excited about the young DTs and OTs. Other than that this team needs a ton.

    twitter.com/vincenthale

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