Jaguar Needs / Offseason Personnel Strategy

Jacksonville must fill some glaring needs this offseason.

The defensive needs come before all else. Most crucial is what the team will do at the defensive end spot. Paul Spicer will be 33 years old when the season starts and his best football is behind him. He may have to be counted on more so as a backup than as a full-time starter that he was last year. With the uncertainty surrounding both Reggie Hayward and Bobby McCray, the Jaguars will make defensive end their top priority. They acquired Hayward through free agency two years ago and had it not been for the severe Achilles tendon injury in 2006, it would have been a good move. They could duplicate such a deal once free agency starts in March.

General thought is that free agents quarterback Quinn Gray, wide receiver Ernest Wilford, offensive lineman Maurice Williams and McCray will all find new deals elsewhere. Wilford led the team in receiving with 45 catches but hasn't shown the consistency the team is looking for in his four years with the club.

    1. Defensive end: Spicer was the best of the four players at this position in 2007 but his age factor and the uncertainty of Hayward and McCray leave a very big question mark for the Jaguars. The club got just 20 total sacks from their defensive ends last season, an indication opposing passers had too much time to look for receivers.

    2. Defensive tackle: Several years ago Marcus Stroud and John Henderson were as potent a combination at this position as there was in the league. But neither had a good year last season, with Stroud missing four games due to alleged steroid use. There's not enough quality backup other than Derek Landri who had a good rookie season and Rob Meier who was solid at both tackle and end. Free agency or draft picks will be needed to strengthen this position.

    3. Wide receiver: It sounds like a broken record but the Jaguars still have not solved their needs at the wide receiver spot. Reggie Williams caught a team best 10 TD passes and had 629 yards, but only had 38 grabs for the season. Ernest Wilford led the team in number of catches (45), one more than Dennis Northcutt. When no one on the team can average 4 catches and 40 yards a game, there's a problem.

MEDICAL WATCH:
    During the regular season, the following players required surgery, some before the season started, others during the season. Those that were placed on IR and what was surgically repaired include: OL Chris Naeole (quadriceps), LB Mike Peterson (broken hand), WR Mike Walker (knee), SS Gerald Sensabaugh (shoulder), DT Tony McDaniel (wrist), TE Greg Estandia (knee), TE George Wrighster (knee), DT Marcus Stroud (ankle) and WR John Broussard (ankle). No Jaguars had post-season surgery, nor is anyone listed to receive anything in the near future.

FRANCHISE PLAYER: None.

TRANSITION PLAYER: None.

UNRESTRICTED FREE AGENTS
  • QB Quinn Gray will test the market to see if someone is willing to give him a shot as a starter. Otherwise will likely remain with the Jaguars in a backup role.
  • WR Ernest Wilford had his best year and caught just 45 passes. He's a good guy in the locker room, but will likely find a new club for '08.
  • OL Maurice Williams, who started 64 consecutive games at right tackle, watched the Jaguars bring in Tony Pashos to replace him prior to the 07 season. He started two games at left tackle and started final 10 including the two playoffs at right guard. Team would like to keep him, but he wants to start and he's likely played his last game for Jacksonville.
  • DE Bobby McCray re-signed as a restricted free agent on the final day last year but is unrestricted this year and will most certainly land with another team.


RESTRICTED FREE AGENTS
  • CB Chris Roberson
  • S Gerald Sensabaugh


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