Jaguars News And Notes

Don't read into the Jaguars lack of drafting offensive players that everything is so good with the offense, there's no need to tweak anything. It's just that there were so many glaring holes to fill on the defensive side of the ball that those needs had to be addressed first.

As for the offense, it looks like it will be more of the same. Other than wide receiver Kassim Osgood who was picked up in free agency, more for his value as a special teams player than as a receiver, the Jaguars offense will have much the same look as it did a year ago.

When it comes to running the ball, that's not all bad as Maurice Jones-Drew has shown that he belongs with the elite running backs in the league. But moving the ball through the air is suspect as are the five guys up front who must give quarterback David Garrard time to throw the ball.

Comparing the number of sacks and lost yardage from what the Jaguars recorded and what they gave up, shows the need to improve. Jacksonville had a league low 14 sacks for just minus-79. But Garrard was dropped 44 times, resulting in a negative 243 yards.

Part of the reason for all the sacks allowed is the offensive line, especially between the two guard spots. Another part is inadequate receivers and their inability to free themselves of defenders. And certainly Garrard has to shoulder a fair share of his failure to avoid the sack.

That's why the Jaguars will look to get a productive season out of one of their better pass receivers, tight end Marcedes Lewis. The team's first-round draft pick in 2006 has yet to fulfill the expectations that come with a first-round selection. Lewis had increased his receptions in each of the last two seasons, but dropped back to just 32 catches in 2009. The good news is that he actually gained more yards (518) than in any of his three previous seasons.

"I feel like last year I had a good year. I was happy to go out there ...whenever the team needed me and called on me," Lewis said. "This year it's more of everybody is expecting it. I expect a lot out of myself and I want a lot of the pressure on me so I'm ready to go out there and do whatever it takes.

"I want to be the best at my position, regardless if it's blocking, catching the ball, running the ball or anything that is going to help this team get to a championship."

Lewis said he especially feels good because he can see a change in the locker room already. After winning seven of their first 12 games last year, the Jaguars dropped their final four games to fall out of contention for a playoff spot. Some of the seasoned veterans that were with the club didn't take the losing lightly. Lewis said it will be different this year.

"It's a different feeling in the locker room. It's a different feeling out there on the field," he said. "Everybody is on the same page. It's a new start. I think everybody got that message in our first team meeting. We are going to change the whole face of this team.

"You can see that everybody is playing close attention to detail to getting that job done."

Now in his fifth season with the club, Lewis feels he's ready to take on more of a leadership role. He did so some a year ago but that it's now time to do more and contribute in other ways.

Last year, vocally I felt it was needed, just to get everybody o the same page. I think this year it's more about going out there and doing it," he said. "I know I wouldn't be able to follow a leader that was running his mouth all the time. So I'll just try to go out there and lead by example. Everybody will see what great leadership is. I think we have a good core and group of guys that lead the right way. Everybody is following it."

--Already thin at the linebacker spot, the Jaguars lost one of their top backup linebackers for the 2010 season when Bryan Smith was diagnosed with a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee during the team's minicamp last weekend.

"We thought at first it was a minor sprain and we had the MRI and he did get an ACL," said Jaguars coach Jack Del Rio, who said Smith would miss the upcoming season. Del Rio couldn't confirm that Smith tore his ACL or that it was a partial tear. "I don't get into the medical part of it. I just know that he's not going to be with us."

The 6-2, 250 pound linebacker was signed off the St. Louis Rams practice squad last year and started two games. He finished the season in injured reserve because of a shoulder injury he suffered against Buffalo.

--Del Rio liked what he saw in his two new defensive tackles, Tyson Alualu and D'Anthony Smith in the Jaguars minicamp last weekend. Alualu was the team's first-round pick, No. 10 overall, while Smith was taken in the third round.

"Alualu and Smith are both going to be real nice additions to the squad. They're active, disruptive, athletic defensive tackles and one of the things that we really wanted to do in going back to a 4-3 is become a more penetrating, disruptive front," the Jaguars coach said. "I really believe that with these two young men, that they'll give us some athleticism and some push in the middle and make the quarterback uncomfortable. The shortest path to the quarterback is a straight line and they line up closer than anybody to the quarterback.

"They'll have a chance to affect the launch point of the quarterback and make him move off the spot and be disruptive. I think that will help the ends."

--If Jaguars kicker Josh Scobee loses his job as a kicker in the NFL, he may turn to the game of golf as his next career. Scobee will be in the field next Monday trying to qualify for the U.S. Open.

"I've never really played in any kind of tournament golf. I didn't play golf in high school or college so this will be my first real tournament experience and I'm pretty excited about it," he said. "I'll have some butterflies, but it won't be anything like football butterflies. It'll be a little different.

"It will be worse, but it'll be a lot of fun."

Scobee, whose handicap is 0, which officially makes him a scratch golfer, is participating in the qualifying for the experience of playing in a big-time tournament. Even if he does shoot well enough to move on to the sectional qualifying, he may have to take a pass as it would conflict with the Jaguars OTAs comng up in May and June.

"I told him to hit it straight and then when he comes to kick field goals, kick those straight. That's what I'm looking for," Jaguars coach Jack Del said when asked what advice he gave to his kicker.

Scobee served as a marshall in Tiger Woods' pairing in Thursday's first day of The Players Championship in Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla.

--While the Jaguars didn't bring in any new faces along the offensive line, there will be some changes in the line for next year. Uche Nwaneri who started 13 games at right guard a year ago, took a number of snaps at center in the team's three-day minicamp last weekend. In addition, Vince Manuwai who started all 16 games at left guard, was re-positioned at the right guard spot, adjacent to tackle Eben Britton, forming a power-run look on the right side of the line.

Kynan Forney, a 10-year veteran who joined the Jaguars last September, moved into Manuwai's spot at the left guard spot. That leaves veteran center Brad Meester as the odd man out. Meester is the longest-tenured Jaguar on the roster with 11 years and leaves his status on the club in doubt for training camp.

"Right now he's the anchor of our offensive line," Nwanneri said. "For us, there is always competition. You're always trading reps with somebody else.

"That's something we're all use to. We'll all used to cutting a little bit of reps and having somebody else play that position too."

QUOTE TO NOTE: "I'm expecting a lot out of my offensive line and I know they are expecting a lot of me. One of our things this year is keeping our sack total down and our goal is to stay in single digits. That's a big task but we can do it." -- Jaguars quarterback David Garrard talking about the line improving on its total of allowing 44 sacks last season.

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