No Excuses: Jaguars Passing Game

In 2006, the Jaguars finished the regular season ranked 24th in passing. With a third ranked rushing attack, and second ranked defense overall, the passing game was clearly the Jaguars achilles heel. There are a plethora of reasons for the teams' lack of effectiveness throwing the ball, mostly experience and injury related.

The biggest reason for the lack of a passing game was the injury to Byron Leftwich. Leftwich is clearly the best passer on the team, and when he went down, the passing game went down with him. Another reason for the struggles was the lack of a speedy, deep threat. Reggie Williams, Ernest Wilford, and Matt Jones are solid young receivers with plenty of upside, but neither can get open effectively in the deep passing game. Another reason is experience, or lack there of. The Jaguars had a young group of receivers, who haven't had much NFL success yet. The final reason is pass protection. The Jaguars line was better than average, but there were breakdowns from time to time. So if you put it all together, the starting quarterback playing just six games, the backup quarterback not being able to go through progressions, no fast receiver who can get open quickly, no deep threat, nobody who has been through the battles, and the pass protection not being up to snuff, it makes much more sense why the Jaguars passing game was so bad in 2006.

Let me coin what should be the Jaguars team motto for 2007- "No More Excuses". The Jaguars have spent the off season addressing what caused them to have an 8-8 2006 record. They fixed the passing game by acquiring veteran deep threat Dennis Northcutt, who has looked like a pro so far in minicamp. They drafted UCF Knight wide receiver, Mike Walker who could turn out to be the best receiver on the Jaguars roster, and just for kicks, the team selected former San Jose State Spartan, John Broussard, who may be the fastest player on the roster. Add another year of experience to Reggie Williams, Matt Jones, Ernest Wilford, and Marcedes Lewis, and there are threats all over the field. To help with the pass protection, the Jaguars spent $30 million on right tackle Tony Pashos from Baltimore.

The Jaguars now have a healthy Byron Leftwich, who will now have speed and talent all over the field to throw to. With all of these weapons the Jaguars should be able to muster a passing game that is better than #24 out of 32 teams, although don't expect them to light up the scoreboard through the air like Indianapolis, New Orleans, or New England. The Jaguars will continue to be a run-first, physical, control the ball and the line of scrimmage, type of team, but even if Leftwich gets injured again, either of the backup quarterbacks will have enough weapons to continue to run a balanced offense. If any of the quarterbacks aren't successful with this group, it will be from no fault of anyone else.

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