The 2009-2010 Jacksonville Jaguars team will be remembered for the rookies, the newcomers, and the incredible youth present on the team. With a ridiculous number of young players the Jaguars roared into playoff contention before slowly dying into last place in the division, but still developed many players for the future.
But with the development of many key younger players, some older players are seeing their spots hit the chopping wood. Evidence of this includes multiple reports suggesting that Torry Holt and Tra Thomas both will not be with the team come black Monday, when teams first are able to make cuts. So what Jaguars will breakout and what Jaguars will break in 2010-2011?
1. Zach Miller: Zach Miller proved to us all against Cleveland that he is slowly becoming one of David Garrard’s favorite targets. He found the endzone twice, and caught the last pass on the last play of the Jaguars season for a touchdown. Could this be a symbol of the future? I think yes. When you see the way that Zach plays you can’t not think of a Dallas Clark. And if the Jaguars do indeed find a Dallas Clark tight end, they are bound for success.
2. Mike Thomas: If Torry Holt is indeed released, Mike Thomas is going to have more balls thrown his way. Considering Thomas broke the rookie record for receptions by a rookie, he’s already doing much better than any other wide receiver that the Jaguars ever drafted. This year, we’ll be able to see how good Thomas can actually be.
3. Eugene Monroe: When you watch the tape from the last couple games from last year, you’ll notice Monroe was playing at a Pro-Bowl level. If you don’t believe me, watch the Colts game, as he constantly was able to contain Freeney after being manhandled in his opening game. Plus, the Jaguars got a ton of yardage running toward the left side.
4. Russell Allen: Put in place of Clint Ingram at the end of the season, Allen was constantly around the ball and played very well. The undrafted free agent is bound to be one of Gene Smiths masterpieces, as he may get the start over Ingram all of this year. Expect big things out of Allen this year. That is unless the Jaguars draft a linebacker in the first round.
5. Reggie Hayward: Unless he is released, which there is a possibility he could be, I see Hayward possibly having a big year. He did, once upon a time, lead the Jaguars with 8.5 sacks, but has been plagued with season ending injuries each year. Does this not sound like Mike Sims-Walker? Not exactly the same, but Hayward will be hungry to prove he is worth keeping. If he stays healthy; watch out.
Question Mark Players:
1. Derrick Harvey: This was supposed to be his year. Next year is supposed to be his year. Well the last Shack Harris draft pick has not fared too well in the NFL. But give him some kudos, his play against the run was stellar this year. And the Jaguars new defensive line coach, Joe Cullen, helped a weak Detriot Lions pass rush register 33.5 sacks in a year. So maybe the new coach can work miracles for Harvey and he can become the player he was drafted to be. Or maybe not.
2. David Garrard: I feel for David Garrard, as he is not as bad as people say. No, he is not elite, but he is definitely better than a good half of the QB’s in the league. This year however, he has a chance to really improve for one reason, improved everything. He will have an improved o-line and improved receivers. Yes, we heard this last year as well, but this year at least, he will be able to work a rhythm with the receivers in the offseason, so he doesn’t throw as many high balls. Or maybe not.
3. Troy Williamson: Remember back in the preseason? Remember who led the league in receiving yards? Yes, it was Troy Williamson. The deep threat for the Jaguars was injured week two, and never was able to come back. So maybe Williamson will rebound again, and produce this season, and with the assumed department of Torry Holt may be able to really make a difference this season. Or maybe not.
1. Clint Ingram: Ingram slowly faded throughout the season and was eventually replaced by Russell Allen. He showed little improvement, in a year in which he was supposed to shine, but did not. Especially when your head coach is an ex-linebacker, you need to produce. And he hasn’t. He may even be on the cut or trade list this offseason.
2. Reggie Nelson: When the Jaguars chief concern is at safety you know that there is a problem. And if you watch the Jaguars games this season, you know why. However, let us be fair, many considered Marcedes Lewis a bust pick until he exploded last season. So does Neslon still have a chance? Absolutely. A very big one? No.
3. Nate Hughes: One of the feel good stories of the year, may have redeemed himself with a touchdown at the end of the year, but still did not have much of an effect on the offense itself. He will have to compete with Tiquan Underwood or a new wide receiver if in fact the Jaguars go that direction. And he will have to compete with Mike Sims-Walker, Mike Thomas, Troy Williamson, and Jarred Dillard for play time not to mention that you could see Zach Miller in the slot.
4. Vince Manuwai: The once all-pro guard has seeming lost some of his power on the inside, as the Jaguars often struggled defending the pass up the middle. However, another offseason to fully heal may be able to help him regain his once dominating form. Still, he is a player who definitely needs a strong camp, or he may be on the chopping block especially on a team so set on youth.
5. Brad Meester: Speaking of youth, it seems as if Meester might need a drink from the fountain of youth. The center was once one of the best in the game, but struggled mightily this season and is probably on the chopping block, especially if the Jaguars can grab a center in the draft.