The Dead Zone is OVER!! Let's Recap...

 

Congratulations...You've successfully navigated another off-season of football inactivity and managed to stay informed to boot. The season is almost upon us and nothing screams NFL more than the opening days of training camp. Injuries become a possibility again, every team is poised to compete (in their respectful fans' eyes), and the dreaded "Dead Zone" is a distant and fading memory. No longer do we have to sit through boring articles ranking the owners from worst to first or comparing Pacman's 2nd arrest to his 5th; we now have REAL NEWS.

So, what's been going on with our beloved Jaguars? If you've been reading any of the camp reports we've been posting, you already know. This team is game. Period. Here’s a recap of this off-season's moves.

Our front office NEVER ceases to amaze me. Garrard signed for less than he wanted with no contract issue lingering into the season. Shack Harris didn't stop there though; he gave Garrard weapons to succeed. Jerry Porter was signed to a six year $30 million contract, and Troy Williamson was brought in for a measly 6th round pick. If Williamson turns out to be a big time player, he will be one of Harris' biggest snags yet, I just can't say enough about our GM. Shack continued a busy offseason for the offense by tying up the Jaguars' backfield at least until Freddy retires by extending Greg Jones. Jones has quietly become one of the league's best lead blockers, a mantle he wears with pride. Combining his fearless lead blocking with the offensive line's powerful style should allow Jones to continue contributing to one of the league's best backfields.

The offensive line has also been revamped. Chris Naeole (arguably NOT the team's best lineman) was cut due to injury problems he would have faced this season. He hasn't gotten any other offers, so the injury he suffered must have been quite serious. Vince Manuwai will move from LG to RG to take Naeole's place. Joining him on the right side will be last year's acquisition at RT, Tony Pashos. The left side is slightly more muddled, but that isn't a bad thing. The line is mostly solidified with the C, RG, and RT positions settled. On the left side we have a bit of a camp competition to keep our eyes on. Barnes vs. Collier at the LT position and Mo Williams vs. Uche Nwari at guard. There's no need to worry about a lack of cohesiveness within the unit because everyone competing for a spot has past experience with the team so they should meld together quickly.

Defensively, the Jags made vast strides as well. They shored up the secondary by bringing in Drayton Florence, a savvy and hard-working player who was coming off his rookie contract with San Diego. He'll pair with Rashean as the team's cornerback duo. Brian Williams will compete with Gerald Sensabaugh for the strong safety position, and second-year phenom Reggie Nelson will man the free safety spot.

On the D-line the Jags have made big changes, but we won't know how well our front office did with the moves until the season begins. Marcus Stroud was traded to Buffalo for a King's ransom (trust me – Marcus, as we know him, is through), and the picks were used in claiming Derrick Harvey and Quentin Groves. The Jags extended Rob Meier and Paul Spicer during the offseason, providing strong veteran leadership for our new defensive ends while setting a good example of how to take care of your own. Reggie Hayward will be on his second season since rupturing his Achilles; if he doesn't get back to his old form he'll be cut before the season begins. A healthy Tony McDaniel was also extended and should be ready to “bring it” this season.

At DT the Jags have some dark horses who could snag a roster spot.  Theo Horracks is the UDFA with the strongest chance of snagging a spot, but he'll face some tough competition. J. Kennedy was a former first round pick who had bust written all over him, however, much like Troy Williamson, he too will receive a second chance at an NFL career in Jacksonville. Derek Landri was good last season, but his roster spot is less than secure. He'll have to do more than just show up to camp this year if he wants to beat out the competition.

As you can see, this team has done nothing but improve during the offseason, and it is an exciting time to be a Jag fan. Friends, the Dead Zone is officially over, so get ready for one heck of a year!

-Collin

 

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