"We’ve taken a very aggressive approach at it; the amount of turnover is unusually large and you can’t continue to do that and have much success. Part of that was moving on, purging guys that just didn’t fit," Del Rio said. "We do have a young team."
I read that and nodded, yes they are a young team. But, then I thought about it. "Hey wait a minute, what does that actually mean?" I thought. A young college team is freshmen and sophomores that probably won't contend for the National Title, I get that. Is a young pro team a lot of rookies? Is it a lot of first and second year guys? What exactly is Jack telling us? I really don't know so I'll leave that question for the comments. Let's look at who the Jaguars kept, and what youth there is on the squad.
Offensive Line: The preseason starting lineup has been Tra Thomas (12th year), Vince Manuwai (7th year), Brad Meester (10th year), Mo Williams (9th year), Uche Nwaneri (3rd year), Tony Pashos (7th year) and Dennis Norman (9th year). I know they want to work Eben Britton and Eugene Monroe in but they should have to earn a spot over a lower performing veteran. I don't see a young team here; in fact this is a group of veterans that should be dependable.
Offensive Backfield: David Garrard is the QB (8th year), Gregg Jones at FB (6th year), Maurice Jones Drew RB (4th year). If you include Tight Ends, we have Marcedes Lewis (4th year), Ernest Wilford (6th year), Greg Estandia (3rd year). Again, a strong group of veterans that should be ready on game day, in fact climbing into their most productive years.
Offensive Summary: One guy on the starting offensive team will be a rookie. If they decide to go with Monroe and Britton, they will have dependable veterans right behind them. To be honest, unless there is a problem with the players on this team, this amount of experience on offense should be able to deliver a competitive performance.
Let's look at the defense.
Defensive line: John Henderson (8th year), Reggie Hayward (9th year), Derrick Harvey (2nd year), Quentin Groves (2nd year), Terrance Knighton (1st year), Derek Landri (3rd year), Rob Meier (10th year). Basically I see a nice mix of veterans and youth in here with most of the youth represented by second year guys, Groves and Harvey. I can give a slight nod to youth here, but not inexperience. This line is not as seasoned as the offensive line but is a nice combination of fresh legs and wisdom.
Linebackers: Daryl Smith (6th year), Justin Durant (3rd year), and Clint Ingram (4th year). Brian Iwuh (4th year), Adam Seward (5th year) all represent the core of the lineup. There is nothing but experience in this group and should represent an easy bunch to coach to be productive.
Defensive Backfield: The starters look to be Rashean Mathis (7th year), Brian Williams (8th year), Reggie Nelson (3rd year), Gerald Alexander (3rd year), Sean Considine (5th year) Tyron Brackenridge (3rd year), Scott Starks (5th year), Brian Witherspoon (3rd year) and Derek Cox (rookie). I know they would like to integrate Derek Cox into the lineup but the basic starting lineup will have 3 years or more experience.
Defensive Summary: Harvey, Groves and Knighton represent the true youth in the defense and the line is on the younger side. Other than that, the backfield has a strong mix of experience and should know what is expected. Maybe a slight nod to lack of playing experience?
My Take: When I looked at it, I was surprised at how much experience the Jaguars have. They don't resemble a young college team. If we can't post 8 wins with this group, Gene has more work to do. A lot more.
So help me understand, what do you think Jack is trying to say?
- Terry O'Brien