Here's My Take
With all of the speculation running rampant on the message boards, sports radio, print media, and on the web, I thought I would throw my two cents in regarding what I think will be the direction the Jacksonville Jaguars head in under the guidance of their new leader, Jack Del Rio. Over the next several weeks, I want to take key positions on the Jaguars roster, and provide my expert analysis on what I think the team should do to bolster their chances for future success. This in-depth analysis is probably as factual as any other person speculating about the future for this team, so my opinions hold as much credibility as anyone else's. So, with determination, focus, a shiny new quarter, and a couple of dice, and an eagles feather, I will now begin to give my prognostication for what the 2003 Jaguars will look like when the dust settles.
The Jaguars have been fortunate to have one of the top signal callers in the league over the past 8 years, but there's a new wind blowing, and change is on the horizon. It might as well start at the top.
A good guy. He has been great for the community. On top of that, he is a wily veteran, and one of the more accurate quarterbacks in the league. He'll look good in Steve Spurrier's offensive scheme in Washington. The Jaguars should consider trading Mark for the Redskin's 2nd and 4th round draft picks. This gives the Jaguars immediate cap relief of $4 million, and much needed draft picks to fill a couple of holes. I know that there are many local fans that think Mark is clearly worth a first round pick, but this is not 1996 or 1997, and Mark has a good bit of mileage on the odometer, and dings to his lower extremities which reduce his trade value. If they can manage to get 2 picks for him, they should pull the trigger and consider it a gift.
Come on folks. Does anyone want this guy around? Graham, an 11-year veteran, is a one year deal. He's considered a journeyman and a career backup. Hope he enjoyed his Florida visit. Maybe St. Louis is looking for a new back up?
The 6-foot-3 and 246 pound rookie from Florida A&M has a big time-arm. After spending the entire training camp amazed by his ability to throw the deep ball, one thing became glaringly obvious about the canon from FAMU. He's got a big arm. That might be good for those many times when we go vertical on our offense, but his ability to make the short passes left much to be desired. Quite often during camp, his passes missed the mark. He never found a groove where he was consistently hitting his receivers in stride. His balls fell behind, below, above, and in front of most receivers on the short routes. This is not a good thing, particularly in the west coast offense. But he sure does have that big arm! Maybe a practice squad slot would be available for him to develop, but he is not going to be on the regular roster on opening day.
Young, strong arm, mobile, and smart. He is probably one of the smartest guys on the Jaguars roster in fact. Congratulations. You've got a future with the Jaguars.
Now, with one guy on the roster playing QB, we might want to consider actually going after a couple of guys to make sure we are set for 2003. This could be tricky because we don't want to spend a lot of cap money on guys that may or may not pan out. So going after the glam picks like Jake 'The Snake' Plummer is not an option as far as I am concerned. And since this is MY musing about the future of the team, the only thing that matters is what I think. With Plummer out of the picture, we must look at what other options are available to us through free agency or the draft. I prefer to stay away from the draft on this pick because the depth at quarterback in this draft is average at best. So, with that being the case, I have deemed that we must look to free agency to fill our QB deficiencies.
Where do we look?
Doug Johnson is a restricted free agent, a former Gator, and a kid that has proven that he can be productive in the NFL. Playing behind one of the most overly hyped players in the NFL, Johnson does not get his just recognition. But, in his one opportunity to shine this year, he made the most of it by going to the Meadowlands and beating the Giants. It's nice to see a QB go on the road and win a game. It is even better for that QB to do it when he is the second stringer. Johnson made his case to be a starter somewhere in the league by going to New Jersey and putting up solid numbers that would make any team happy (19/25, 257 yards, 1 touchdown). He's smart, big, and he would be popular with the Gator homers that consider themselves ‘Jagator' fans. This team is on a PR blitz. This would be a solid move, and one that would only cost the Jaguars a provisional pick in a later round.
Now, with two quarterbacks on the roster, we will need that third guy to make things interesting. Enter Charlie Batch. Here is a guy that was never really given adequate time to develop in Detroit. He has the talent and ability to be a solid starting signal caller in the NFL if he's surrounded with quality players. Being a back up on Pittsburgh's roster, and a free agent, my guess is that he will be looking for a place where he can compete for the starting gig. Jacksonville is as good a place as anywhere for him to compete. Plus, the Steelers want him back. And we know how the Jaguars as an organization love to snatch players away from those pesky Steelers!
That gives you four quarterbacks on the roster for training camp. All are young, hungry, and extremely talented in different ways. The competition that could be generated by that mix could produce a guy that is going to be the long-term starter, and a bona fide star in the NFL. Who benefits? The team and the fans? It is a toss-up. Both benefit from the competition, and the team certainly gains by not having Brunell's bloated cap figure on the books. The savings alone will help down the road when it comes time to re-sign a player like Fred Taylor (don't want to tip my hand just yet on the running back situation. Save that for a later date!).
The bottom line: the Jaguars benefit by saying goodbye and thank you to Mark Brunell. If they can benefit in a way that not only saves them money, but also gets them extra draft picks, they should pull the trigger and move on.
Next week.........running backs!
Jags Illustrated Top Stories
Dis-GUS-tingThere is not much to say about this Jags vs. Raiders game. It was embarrassing from start to finish. The score ended 33-16 and the score seems closer than is actually was. The Jags…
Jags IllustratedYesterday at 12:00 PM
Raiders vs Jags - 2 Minute WarningThe Jags and Raiders have been the two poster franchises for "Ineptitude Magazine" for the better part of the last decade. They are almost identical to one another in terms of…
Jags IllustratedYesterday at 8:50 AM
Super Allen BrosThe Oakland Raiders have one of the worst secondaries in the league. They are near the bottom of the league in terms of passing yards allowed per game, and have made decent…
Jags IllustratedSaturday at 6:30 AM
Know Your Enemy Week 7: Oakland RaidersJacksonville is coming off of a big time comeback win over the Chicago Bears and are probably amped for the opportunity to play against a team that leads the AFC West, the Oakland…
Jags IllustratedFriday at 12:47 PM