Jaguars: Special Teams

In this series we will look at each position on the Jaguars, determine the talent and needs, and suggest changes. The next position group we are going to analyze is the Jaguars specialists.

The Jaguars special teams unit was solid in 2007, as they finished in the top five in kickoff coverage, and in the top third of the league in punt coverage. The kicking game was solid, and the punting was good enough.

PK Josh Scobee, P Adam Podlesh, LS Joe Zelenka, KOR Maurice Jones-Drew, PR Dennis Northcutt.

Josh Scobee finished the regular season hitting 12 of 13 field goals with a long of 48 yards, after being injured in the season opener, and missing eight of the first nine games of the season. Scobee hit three of four kicks in the postseason, including a 25-yard game winner at Pittsburgh. Scobee has one of the best legs in the NFL, but has historically been shaky from longer than 40 yards.

    Contract status: Scobee is under contract through 2011.

Adam Podlesh was the Jaguars fourth-round pick in last April's draft, and finished his rookie season with a 41.6 yard gross average (25th in the NFL). Podlesh was asked to kick directionally which affected his distance.

    Contract status: Scobee is under contract through 2010 (rookie contract).

Joe Zelenka has been the Jaguars long snapper since 2001, and has been very effective in his position. Zelenka finished the season with a few errant snaps which could put his future with the team in jeopardy.

    Contract status: Zelenka is under contract through 2008.

Maurice Jones-Drew averaged 26.2 yards per return and scored on one kickoff return in 2007, and returned another kick to the one-yard line in the playoff game against Pittsburgh.

    Contract status: Jones-Drew is under contract through 2009 (rookie contract).

Dennis Northcutt averaged 9.2 yards per punt return in 2007, and more importantly, didn't fumble. Northcutt could be the Jaguars best punt return man in team history.

Contract status: Northcutt is under contract through 2011.

Are changes necessary? Probably not. The Jaguars coverage units were much improved in 2007, and they have solid return men. The only way the Jaguars could shake things up would be if Zelenka was replaced and/or Northcutt (due to his 2008 salary + roster bonus of nearly $4 million).

Other free agent options that could be available: B.J. Sams, Antonio Chatman, Patrick Crayton, Andre Davis, Eddie Drummond, and Tim Dwight.

Who makes sense: Davis is a great return man, and a big play wide receiver. Sams is a very good return man when healthy.


Charlie Bernstein is the Editor-in-Chief of JagNation.com, and a regular syndicated contributor to FoxSports.com, Sirius NFL Radio, MySpace Sports and Sportsillustrated.com. Charlie is also a member of the Pro Football Writers Association, and is a columnist for the New Smyrna Observer. Feel free to contact him -HERE- with questions or comments.



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