2009 Jacksonville Jaguars Season Preview
2009 Jacksonville Jaguars preview from MadduxSports.com. The AFC South is once again loaded and week by week anyone can knock off anybody in this division. Having an expert NFL pick handicapper will help you maximize your sports betting profits this season.
2009 Jacksonville Jaguars Predictions
By Adam Barone
The Jaguars had been hovering on the cusp of Super Bowl contender for a few seasons, but hit a speed bump last season, going 5-11. This year they’ll have to make their run without long time face-of-the-franchise running back Fred Taylor. Maurice Jones-Drew will take over the full time duties at running back, and should prove fully capable. Taylor was let go after some rearranging of the front office, including the hiring of new General Manager Gene Smith. Smith also let linebacker Mike Peterson, receivers Matt Jones and Reggie Williams, and defensive lineman Paul Spicer go. He signed receiver Torry Holt, tackle Tra Thomas, and safety Sean Considine. A new defensive coordinator and special teams coach were also hired, with Mel Tucker and Russ Purnell taking over.
David Garrard turned out not to be what the Jaguars had hoped after the 2007 season when he threw 18 touchdown passes against just three interceptions. Last season he played in every game, throwing for 15 scores with 13 picks. His quarterback rating was a very average 81.7. A good part of his struggles can be blamed on the combination of injuries to the offensive line and a flat-out lousy group of receivers. Jerry Porter was signed before last season, but was a bust and was let go. Jones had 65 catches last season, leading the team. Holt, Troy Williamson, Mike Walker, tight end Marcedes Lewis, and three rookies—Mike Thomas, Jarett Dillar, and Tiquan Underwood will be Garrard’s targets in 2009.
There’s really no one to take carries away from Jones-Drew, who was given a $31.5 million dollar contract extension in the offseason. Fullback Greg Jones will get a carry here and there, but isn’t anything more than a bruiser. Jones-Drew has never topped 200 carries in his three season career, but has averaged an impressive 4.8 yards per carry.
The offensive line was far and away the biggest issue the Jags faced in 2008. They lost center Brad Meester, and starting guards Vince Manuwai and Mo Williams early in the season for significant periods of time, and neither Garrard nor the Jags could ever get in a rhythm. The shooting of Richard Collier made things even more difficult. Garrard was sacked 42 times. That’s why Thomas was signed, and tackles Eugene Monroe and Eben Britton were drafted.
Defensive tackle John Henderson had just 44 tackles and two sacks a season ago, and a starter next to him has yet to be determined. The end spot will be a rotation involving second year players Derrick Harvey and Quentin Groves, along with Reggie Hayward. Harvey and Groves were disappointing last season with just 3.5 and 2.5 sacks.
Middle linebacker Mike Peterson left as a free agent and will probably be replaced by Justin Durant. Daryl Smith and Clint Ingram are likely to man the outside spots. Durant accumulated 70 tackles in 2008, while Smith had 69 and Ingram 38. Someone will need to step up.
There are more open spots in the secondary—one at corner and one at safety. Rashean Mathis, who had one sack and four interceptions in 2008, and Reggie Nelson, who had 54 tackles and two interceptions, will start at cornerback and safety respectively. Free agent signee Considine has a good chance to start at strong safety.
Kicker Josh Scobee doesn’t get a ton of opportunities, and is just average when he does. He made just 19 of 25 field goal attempts in 2008. Brian Witherspoon was both the kickoff and punt returner last season, but is not guaranteed the job for 2009.
Jack Del Rio may be entering his last season as head coach of the Jaguars. Though overall he hasn’t done a bad job, he hasn’t had a lot of success. Their record in 2008 can be written off as bad luck, but that only brings expectations for the coming season that might be too difficult to reach. The playoffs are a possibility, but nothing about this team is particularly intimidating.