Playing For Their Jobs

The Jaguars still have some veterans on their roster and not all of them will be suiting up against the Denver Broncos on September 12th. Find out which players must have a big summer to earn a paycheck this fall.

The Jaguars are moving toward a young nucleus and they hope to compete for a division title this year. After two consecutive last-place finishes, the title talk seems like nothing but talk, but going from worst to first is somewhat routine in the NFL.

David Garrard, QB- The Jaguars quarterback has been unreliable in big situations, but his level of play remains just high enough to keep him getting paid. This could be a make or break camp for Garrard as he's due nearly $8 million and backup Luke McCown has had a season to learn the playbook and build rapport with the receivers.

Who could take his job? Luke McCown would likely be the starting quarterback if he can outplay Garrard in camp and preseason. The Jags would then sign a veteran backup.

Reggie Hayward, DE- The focus of Jacksonville's offseason was to improve the league's worst pass rush from a year ago, and they did just that by signing veteran Aaron Kampman and spending much of their draft on the defensive line. Hayward re-signed with the team after there was hardly any interest in him on the free agent market, and the team has a minimal investment in him which wouldn't make it difficult to let him go.

Who could take his job? Derrick Harvey and Aaron Kampman will likely be the fixtures at defensive end, and if youngsters such as Julius Williams, Jeremy Mincey, Jeremy Navarre, Larry Hart or Austin Lane can step up, Hayward will likely be on the outs.

Greg Jones, FB- Greg Jones is one of Jack Del Rio's favorite players and he's a very valuable player when healthy. Unfortunately, Jones has missed multiple games in four of his six seasons and his salary of $3 million is among the league's highest at his position.

Who could take his job? Brock Bolen spent much of last season on the practice squad, and although Jones is very good, Bolen and Owens may be able to get the job done at less money.

Brad Meester, C- The Jaguars veteran center is the longest tenured player on the team, but his time may be running out. Meester signed an extension before last season, but his level of play has severely dropped and he hasn't been able to finish three of his last five seasons.

Who could take his job? Uche Nwaneri can play several positions on the line, and a guy like Cecil Newton could be in the teams plans, as well as undrafted rookie John Estes.

Reggie Nelson, S- The Jaguars have every reason to keep Nelson around this season as his salary is low and he's only 26 years old. That said, Nelson has regressed since his rookie season and he plays soft. His work ethic has been questioned by many, and he's said that he won't switch positions if the team needs him to.

Who could take his job? Gerald Alexander finished the season as one of the starters at safety and played well. If Sean Considine, Anthony Smith, Courtney Greene or Terrell Whitehead can step up and play well, Nelson could become a former Jaguar.

Ernest Wilford, TE- At this point in his career, the 31-year old Wilford is more of a team ambassador than a valuable commodity on the field. The team may go in a different direction to give some of the younger guys more of a chance.

Who could take his job? Zach Miller stepped up at the end of last season and showed an ability to be a legitimate pass-catching threat at tight end, thus taking Wilford's role. If a guy like Zach Potter or Mike Caussin steps up as well, it's unlikely that Wilford will make the roster.

Charlie Bernstein is the Editor-in-Chief of, a member of the Pro Football Writers of America, and also the co-host of CB Sports Radio on ESPN 1420 in St. Augustine, FL. You can contact him at or follow him on twitter @nflcharlie

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