Jaguars: Bye Week Evaluation

After the Jaguars made their final cuts earlier this month, JagNation did a roster breakdown grading each position. Since the bye week is here, we are going to re-visit the breakdown and our final grades, and update the progress at each position group.

We will look at which players have overachieved, which have underachieved, and to borrow a phrase from the legendary former Arizona Cardinals head coach Dennis Green, those who "are who we thought they were."

Quarterbacks- David Garrard, Quinn Gray

    Preseason Final grade: 3/5- Biggest question is if Garrard is ready to play against defenses that will force him to beat them with his arm.

    Now: David Garrard has been the Jaguars biggest surprise. He's respected the football by not making bad throws, he's been extremely accurate, and he is playing at a level that's as high as any quarterback in Jaguars history. It's only been three games, but Garrard has given Jaguars fans reason to be very optimistic.


Running Backs- Fred Taylor, Maurice Jones-Drew, LaBrandon Toefield, Greg Jones, Montell Owens

    Preseason Final grade: 5/5 - No question marks. If they stay remotely healthy, they'll be one of the best units in the NFL.

    Now: The running backs haven't put up big numbers as of yet, individually, but there are signs that the Jaguars rushing attack is ready to break out. Fred Taylor had a solid game against Denver, and Maurice Jones-Drew is running hard, despite fumbling twice.


Wide Receivers- Dennis Northcutt, Ernest Wilford, Reggie Williams, Matt   Jones, John Broussard

    Preseason Final grade: 3.1/5- They have speedy guys, they have tough guys, will they be able to get open consistently?

    Now: The wide receivers have shown flashes thus far. John Broussard showed his speed in the opener by catching a 47-yard touchdown pass. Reggie Williams has two touchdowns in two games, and Dennis Northcutt has been the Jaguars most consistent receiver. Ernest Wilford hasn't dropped any passes, and Matt Jones has been disappointing.


Tight Ends- Marcedes Lewis, George Wrighster, Greg Estandia

    Preseason Final grade: 3.1/5- Although the talent is there, they are all unproven. Can they step up?

    Now: Marcedes Lewis is showing why he was the Jaguars number one pick in 2006, as he's shown himself to be a nice possession receiver. Greg Estandia and George Wrighster have been catching everything thrown their way. The Jaguars tight ends appear to be one of the strengths of the team.


Offensive Line- Khalif Barnes, Vince Manuwai, Brad Meester, Chris Naeole, Tony Pashos, Maurice Williams, Uche Nwaneri, Dennis Norman, Richard Collier

    Preseason Final grade: 4.3/5- The line was great last year after a poor preseason showing, lets see if that becomes a trend.

    Now: The Jaguars offensive line has improved each week, but starting tackles, Khalif Barnes and Tony Pashos have been disappointing. The run blocking was great against Denver, but opponents are getting pressure from the outside with relative ease.


Defensive Ends- Paul Spicer, Bobby McCray, Reggie Hayward, Brent Hawkins, Kenny Pettway

    Preseason Final grade: 3.5/5- It will be up to defensive coordinator Mike Smith to guess correctly with personnel.

    Now: The Jaguars ends have been solid, but unspectacular. Hayward is further along then we thought, but he lacks a lot of the explosion that he had prior to his Achilles injury.


Defensive Tackles- John Henderson, Marcus Stroud, Tony McDaniel, Rob Meier, Derek Landri

    Preseason Final grade: 5/5- As long as they stay healthy, the DT position has no questions.

    Now: The Jaguars defensive tackles have been nicked up, and their play hasn't been as good as expected, although like the rest of the team, they appear to be improving weekly.


Linebackers- Mike Peterson, Daryl Smith, Clint Ingram, Justin Durant, Brian Iwuh, Pat Thomas

    Preseason Final grade: 4/5- There are some minor injury concerns, but if this group is healthy they are as good as any.

    Now: The Jaguars linebackers started off shaky against Tennessee, but have played two really nice games since. Mike Peterson looks strong and fast, and Clint Ingram may be ready to play after the bye week for the first time since the preseason opener.


Cornerbacks- Rashean Mathis, Brian Williams, Aaron Glenn, Scott Starks, Terry Cousin

    Preseason Final grade: 3.8/5- As long as they stay healthy, they are fine. This position doesn't have the depth that can sustain numerous injuries.

    Now: The corners have been solid, with the exception of Terry Cousin. Cousin has been getting beat like a drum early and often, and opposing offenses are picking on him more than ever.


Safeties- Gerald Sensabaugh, Reggie Nelson, Sammy Knight, Chad Nkang

    Preseason Final grade: 3/5- Nobody knows what to expect from these guys when the real bullets fly. Will Nelson be ready, and if so, he has missed a lot of valuable reps in the preseason. The good news is that with a strong front seven, the Jaguars can take a lot of pressure off these guys, and almost "hide" the safeties.

    Now: Gerald Sensabaugh is out of the season with shoulder surgery, so the Jaguars are very thin at safety. Sammy Knight has been a nice surprise, and although Reggie Nelson has made a few rookie mistakes, he has shown flashes of being a true play-maker. Jamaal Fudge has been signed to replace Sensabaugh.


Special Teams- Josh Scobee, Joe Zelenka, Adam Podlesh

    Preseason Final grade: 3.2/5- If Scobee can get more consistent, and Podlesh can do what the front office thinks he can do, the Jaguars special teams will be special yet again.

    Now: Josh Scobee has been injured since opening day warm-ups, and he has been temporarily replaced by veteran John Carney. Carney has been as solid as can be, and the Jaguars will have a tough decision to make when Scobee is ready to return. Podlesh is off to a tough start, ranking 32nd in gross punting average.



Charlie Bernstein is the Editor-in-Chief of JagNation.com, and a regular syndicated contributor to FoxSports.com, Sirius NFL Radio, and Sportsillustated.com. Charlie is also a member of the Pro Football Writers Association, and is a columnist for the New Smyrna Observer.


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