The time is drawing near. In less than 6 hours, the Jaguars' will take the field on national television, and broadcast over the internet. They play a game that is a must-win of the most epic proportions if they hope to stay anywhere near the playoff hunt. They've gotten this far on the backs of rookies, journeymen, and cast-offs, and they're going to have to rely heavily on some of those players to contribute if the Jaguars hope to add a blemish to the Colts' spotless record.
This is my list of some key offensive and defensive players. Feel free to add your own list of key players in the comments.
Brock Bolen - The UDFA rookie out of Louisville may not be fast, but he's built like a truck. He stands 5'11" and weighs about 240lbs. Bolen was brought up from the practice squad with the injury to G. Jones. This is Bolen's chance to shine, and he's got to make it impossible for the Jaguars to cut him. As it stands now, this is Brock's only chance to stay on an active roster, because after the season Gene will cut him with the intentions of being brought back on the practice squad. He has to shine in order to prevent that from happening. The Jaguars must run successfully, and they love the I-formation. If Brock flops, look for more single back running plays.
Brad Meester and Vince Manuwai - The two veterans who used to blow open DT's have both aged overnight. Vince isn't the same since his injury, and Brad has obviously lost a step and some strength. They are playing against a notoriously bad run-blocking team, and the Jaguars must be able to run up the middle to succeed.
Mike Thomas - The rookie wide-out needs to show up with some big YAC plays. Are you the next Steve Smith, or are you just our slot receiver for the next 5 years? You've got full time return duties with Witherspoon gone, can you break one today?
John Henderson - He's gotta be healthy to allow the Jaguars to stop the run with only four men, that is a must.
Rashean Mathis - He's back, and now would be a great time to give the Jaguars a TD on defense. Thankfully, Tyron Brackenridge will be relegated to Nickel, where he'll be closer to the line of scrimmage should the offense call a running play. I certainly respect T-Brack's tackling, it's his coverage that still needs some refining.
Russell Allen - The second UDFA rookie to make the list will be starting over the lackluster Clint Ingram in this evening's game. He's a run stopping beast, and has clearly shown he's going to be a longtime Jaguar. This is the LB we all said we needed to draft. He's a wall against the run, and rarely misses tackles. He still misdiagnoses plays occasionally, as he is a rookie, but he is improving each week. His coverage skills are still definitely lacking, but his grit, determination, and tackling make up for it. Making him a great LB to have in base. Daryl and Justin will still be the Nickel-backers.