This is an on going series of articles on key players for the Jaguars in 2009. What did they do right? What did they do wrong? Should we be happy with their performance? We'll look at that here.
Reggie Nelson came to the Jaguars in 2007 already in the midst of controvery. The Jaguars passed on Notre Dame quarterback Brady Quinn twice in order to draft "The Eraser" out of Florida. However, Nelson seemingly quieted the critics with a stellar rookie year. Nelson recorded 5 interceptions, 58 tackles, and was named to numerous All-Rookie teams. However, since then Nelson has struggled immensely. He was never the star safety with Gregg Williams in 2008, and despite moving back to the role he played as a rookie, still struggled in 2009.
After being demoted following the Indianapolis game, there are those wondering if he has seen his last snaps as a Jaguar. Does he deserve the amount of bile thrown his way?
Well, he wasn't involved in a hit and run on the way to the team plane. He didn't get pulled over with illegal guns in his car. So at least he kept himself out of the headlines for any off the field related issues. However, his on the field play doesn't deserve many mentions here.
It is clear he has the talent to play the safety position. He's flashed it at several time this year, using his speed to react to the ball and receivers. However, more often than not that simply hasn't been the case.
Would anyone hold it against me if I just put everything else? Football Outsiders has a term called "Hole in Zone" when talking about defensive coverages. I think a "Hole in Zone" could cover better than Nelson did sometimes this year.
The creshendo of Nelson's 2009 season came again the Colts on Thursday Night Football where he had not one, but two face palm worth plays. The first was his touch football tackle of Dallas Clark, and the second was of course letting Reggie Wayne get behind him for the game winning score.
However, those were far from his only boneheaded plays in 2009. However, the Colts game may have sealed his fate in Jacksonville. Nelson barely played more than a dozen snaps against the Patriots and Browns, a sure sign the coaching staff was done putting up with his poor play.
I think Reggie Nelson has seen his last snaps as a Jaguar. If Gene Smith can't put on his used car salesman hat and manage to get a draft pick for him, he'll most likely be cut. Such a shame for someone with so much talent. His rookie year made us believe he would be a Pro Bowler by this point in his career. Instead, now we're counting the number of high light reels he's made.