Competition Is the Name of the Game

The Jaguars have seemingly flipped their roster in the past two years to get younger, more athletic guys in with better attitudes. With all those new players, there is competition at seemingly every position. Jack Del Rio, clearly on the hot seat, has to win now and he'll play whichever players give him the best opportunity to do that.

When a team has completed two consecutive last-place finishes, doing things the same way doesn't seem to make much sense. The Jaguars appear to have a plan, and that plan is to get younger, more athletic and more competitive.

In this situation, veterans are at a disadvantage as their are hamstrung by their ages and salaries. With nobody seemingly having any built-in advantages, this should make for a great camp.

"It's open everywhere," Jaguars head coach Jack Del Rio said of his teams roster. "In terms of somebody rises up and proves they're the best player, we're going to play him."

Most teams with coaches on the proverbial "hot seat", as Jack Del Rio is in Jacksonville, are at a disadvantage. This time around, it should play into the team's favor as Del Rio knows he has to win now and will play the players who best give him that opportunity on a weekly basis, despite their contract or draft status.

As far as the camp competitions, it's wide open in many places such as wide receiver, offensive line and safety, but considerably less open at running back and linebacker.

"I think it's safe to make certain assumptions," Del Rio said. "I think you can assume that Maurice Jones-Drew is going to be our starting halfback. Daryl Smith is going to be a starting linebacker for us."

Many fans disagreed with the team parting ways with veterans Fred Taylor, Marcus Stroud, Mike Peterson and most recently John Henderson over the past two years. Although those players gave the fans plenty to cheer about over the years, they were aging veterans whose best years were clearly behind them. The team now has replaced them with younger, more athletic guys such as Deji Karim, Tyson Alualu, Terrence Knighton and Kirk Morrison.

"We feel like we're strengthening our team," the Jaguars head coach said when asked about the competition from the young guys. "We're a young, athletic team right now that has strengthened."

Although these young players are exciting to watch, they haven't proven much on the NFL level as of yet and there are plenty of reasons to show some trepidation before making your arrangements to see the Jaguars in the Super Bowl at Cowboys Stadium this February.

"We're not full of depth where it's just so deep that there's talent everywhere," Del Rio admitted.

There may be some surprises on the opening day roster for the Jaguars this season as they have plenty of young players looking to make impacts, and there could be some undrafted guys that find their way to an NFL paycheck. If the Jaguars can get improved play from the quarterback position and have some good injury luck, the playoffs are a possibility.


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