In the Jaguars playoff loss to New England, all of the team's weaknesses were seemingly exposed, and Jacksonville saw exactly what positions they needed to upgrade in the offseason. Despite not having anything resembling a pass rush and the secondary missing more tackles than your run of the mill high school JV team, the Jaguars were still in the game late in the fourth period against the then undefeated New England Patriots.
Jacksonville hung around mainly due to the arm of David Garrard, but the Jaguars dynamic quarterback received little to no help from his receiving corps. The Jacksonville receivers were not getting open consistently, and when they did, they struggled to hold on to the football. Still quarterback David Garrard refused to throw his group under the bus after their lackluster performance in Massachusetts.
"I think this offense is great where it is," said the Jaguars quarterback. "You can always add stuff to it, but I think we showed that we can play with whoever. That is important. It is not necessary that you have a guy that everybody locks in on and you feel like you have to get him the ball. We need just players. We need guys who are willing to make plays, who will go across the middle, willing to block. Those are big for receivers. I think if we can just add to what we have, we have a great nucleus already and if we add anything to it, it can do nothing but add icing to the cake."
The Jaguars front office agreed more with the fact that they could add to their offense, and one of the first moves of the offseason was to get more speed at wide receiver with former Vikings first-round pick, Troy Williamson. Expectations were high for Williamson in Minnesota, as the Vikings drafted him seventh-overall in 2005, and he was immediately expected to be a replacement for the recently departed Randy Moss. Williamson talked about the much needed change of scenery–
"It was very important. Things were getting intense up there (Minnesota) as far as the head coach, me and the other coaches. I really feel welcomed here and I really love the atmosphere."
Williamson's biggest asset is his speed, something the Jaguars did not have last year after their fastest receiver, Mike Walker, was placed on injured reserve. But Williamson's problem has always been his inability to hang on to the ball. Williamson struggles to adjust to deep balls, is weak at catching the ball away from his body on anything deeper than a seven-yard slant, was rarely sent across the middle in Minnesota, and has a tendency to drop accurate passes with no defender within five yards of him.
"I feel like I'm comfortable,"said Williamson. "I just need to learn the offense and learn some other stuff and it's all good. I just feel like I need to play football and be me and be comfortable. I had some good times in Minnesota that I can speak highly of, but visa-versa. Minnesota's in the past and it's time to get to work and do what I have to do to help the team."
Despite having all the expectations of a star in Minnesota, Williamson seems to be very grounded about his experiences and has anything but a prima-donna attitude.
"I'm just going to play my role," said Williamson. "Whatever the coaches want me to do, I'll do. If that's special teams, if that's lining up at wide receiver, or running down and covering kickoff, it doesn't matter. I'm here and I just want to have fun playing football."
Although Williamson is saying all the right things and is performing up to expectations in OTA's, his roster spot is far from secured. With Jerry Porter, Reggie Williams, and Dennis Northcutt likely having roster spots firm in hand, that leaves Williamson in a battle with youngsters Mike Walker, John Broussard, D'Juan Woods, and former first-round pick Matt Jones, who is in a somewhat similar position as Williamson, as they both haven't lived up to their draft billing.
"I can only control my destiny as to where I am on the depth chart," said Williamson. "That's why I work hard. There's somebody that's always going to be working hard (behind me), so I have to work hard and do what I have to do."
Troy Williamson will no longer be judged as the former seventh-overall pick in the draft, rather the player that the Jaguars used a sixth-round pick to acquire. Williamson will get an opportunity to reinvent himself and resurrect his career, and he seems to feel right at home with the front office that afforded him another opportunity to be a contributor.
"I feel like (there's) more of a family here (in Jacksonville)," said Williamson. "I feel more welcomed and I really like it down here, as far as the coaches and everybody."
Williamson will be embraced by Jaguars fans if he can use his speed and display the hands that Minnesota thought they were getting.
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