The injury to Reggie Williams last week, a knee injury that eventually required minor arthroscopic surgery, was especially damaging to the Jaguars in that it puts the team's top two receivers on the sideline.
Williams reported to training camp over a week ago with a non-football injury that put him on the physically-unable-to-perform list for several days. He said he suffered the injury running the stairs at the stadium prior to the start of camp. The first day he was cleared to return to practice, Williams went down after making a cut following a pass reception. It turned out to be damaged cartilage in his right knee that needed surgery to repair.
There was speculation that Williams was brought back too soon, that possibly his knee wasn't ready when he was cleared to play. Jaguars coach Jack Del Rio shot down that theory.
"He was cleared to practice and he wasn't symptomatic," Del Rio said.
With Jerry Porter already stationed to the sideline for at least the next six weeks recovering from hamstring surgery, Williams' loss leaves QB David Garrard without his two leading receivers at a time that is used to perfect timing between quarterback and receivers. In addition to Porter and Williams, veteran Dennis Northcutt has also missed some practice time due to back strains.
With Uche Nwaneri splitting time as backup at both guard and center, the Jaguars picked up some insurance for the offensive line by signing veteran guard Chris Liwienski.
Liwienski, 32, started 14 games at the left guard spot a year ago for the Miami Dolphins. The Jaguars consider Liwienski a utilityman who can play nearly every position along the line.
He has a history with Jaguars assistant head coach Mike Tice, having played with the Minnesota Vikings from 1998 to 2005, the last four years with Tice as head coach. Liwienski becomes the sixth Jaguars player to have played under Tice in Minnesota.
The Jaguars' first, and only, scrimmage of training camp proved to be less entertaining than anticipated. Because of injuries and fewer bodies on the roster, Del Rio called for less than 100 percent hitting by the defense. There were no sacks on the quarterbacks (all of whom were in red, no-touch, jerseys while linebackers and defensive backs simply had to wrap up runners or receivers to have game officials blow the play dead.
A crowd of just over 12,000 didn't have a lot to get excited about, though quarterback David Garrard showed he's ready to pick up where he left off last year. Garrard, who finished with the NFL's third-best passer rating figure of 102.2, hit on four of five passes for 49 yards, including a 19-yard touchdown pass to Matt Jones.
"As you can tell, we cut back on our live work a little bit," Del Rio said afterward. "All in all, it was a successful experience for us."
One of the other standouts in the 90-minute scrimmage was Josh Scobee, who capped a two-minute drill with a 57-yard field goal with a full defensive rush coming at him.
Wide receiver Ryan Hoag is considered a long-shot to make the club as a receiver or contributor to special teams. Hoag was signed as an extra receiver when training camp opened this year. He's stuck around with the growing number of injuries to Jaguars receivers.
However, Hoag made his presence known in two different venues, prior to stepping out on the Jaguars practice field. Hoag was Mr. Irrelevant in 2003, an NFL tradition in calling the final pick of the college draft by that name. He was the last player picked that day, going to the Oakland Raiders.
"I define irrelevance. I've been cut 10 times, played in the Arena League and CFL and NFL Europe and yet I'm still hanging around," the 6-2, 200-pound receiver said.
He's yet to appear in an NFL regular-season game during stints with the Raiders, Washington Redskins and Minnesota Vikings. He has appeared in a number of preseason games for NFL teams, including last year's Redskins game in Jacksonville, when he caught a touchdown pass from former Jaguars quarterback Mark Brunell.
"At some point, I'm hopeful my shot is going to come. I just need that one team, that one break, that one coach to fall in love with me," Hoag said.
Falling in love is something Hoag missed out on this summer when he was a contestant on the popular reality show 'The Bachelorette'. He lasted just two episodes before he was rejected by the show's bachelorette, DeAnna Pappas, who eventually selected a snowboarder and is now engaged to be married to him.
QUOTE TO NOTE: "The problem she had with me is I was a professional athlete and I might be around groupies too much and that I wouldn't be able to settle down in the living situation." -- Jaguars WR Ryan Hoag, in talking about being rejected by DeAnna Pappas on the TV reality show, 'The Bachelorette' this summer.
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