The big question right now is, who's number two?
One player in particular has taken the job by the horns.
Last season Troy Williamson started out as the Jaguars number one wide receiver, and he earned it. Williamson put together a great training camp and pre-season, but his time was cut short with an injury in the second game of the season. That gave Mike Sims-Walker, who was hurt most of the pre-season, the green light to take over.
The rest of 2009 went on with Torry Holt as the Jaguars number two and Mike Thomas as the slot receiver as the season came to a close. Quietly however, Mike Thomas set the team rookie record for receptions. Thomas showed he was a dangerous weapon with the ball in his hands on kick returns and after a reception. It looked like the Jaguars had finally found that dangerous weapon in the slot they'd been looking for.
Fast forward to 2010, and it looks like they've found quite a bit more.
Mike Thomas, who a lot thought would be nothing more than a great slot receiver, is proving his doubters wrong by having a stellar training camp. Thomas has been on fire all week and showed it in front of nearly 13,000 fans at the scrimmage last Friday night, catching a 40-yard bomb from David Garrard to start things off. Now, up in Flowery Branch, GA Thomas has been fuel to David Garrard's fire, who by all accounts was fantastic in both sessions yesterday. Thomas was the only receiver of note on Monday and continued to shine in both practices Tuesday catching long touchdowns from both Garrard and back up Luke McCown.
Though in the scrimmage and in some of the practices this week, Thomas has been lining up in the slot at times in 3-wide sets, it looks like he has a firm grasp on the number two receiver position. In the scrimmage, Thomas would line up opposite Sims-Walker in two receiver sets, and move to the slot with Troy Williamson on the outside in three receiver sets. It makes a lot of sense to shift Thomas over in three wide, but he should wind up being the number two receiver on opening day and in most formations.
As far as the rest of the receiving corps, Nate Hughes went to injured reserve with a torn labrum after clearing waivers over the weekend, and injury he suffered last week going up for a pass. Jarrett Dillard is still fighting a stress fracture in his foot, and Tiquan Underwood remains to be Tiquan Underwood. He's a guy the team really would like to see succeed because of his speed, but he simply cannot perform consistently or show consistent hands. Kassim Osgood has been up and down, but when he's up he looks like a weapon. He's still a bit awkward catching the football, but when he does catch it he gets chunks of yardage.
I mentioned previously Troy WIlliams, who seems to be the forgotten man at this point. He's really come on since training camp started after a poor spring. "He’s had a good off-season strengthening the shoulder. He always could run. He can really run so it’s never been a question about that. I think he feels more and more confident. The strength is there. He’s been completely cleared, really no lingering issues with that and so I think it’s great he’s re‐established himself," said Jack Del Rio when asked to give his assessment of Williamson. Troy has been the forgotten man so to speak, as he doesn't really do anything to stand out but he hasn't show a propensity to drop passes like someone like Underwood. He was the Jaguars number one last season, and I expect the Jaguars to give him one last shot to make a name for himself as a number two/three receiver for the team. He's cheap and he's got speed to burn.
Quote of Note
"I think at the wide receiver spot, I think Mike (Sims‐Walker) has been our best guy. I think Mike Thomas is doing a nice job. I really think Troy (Williamson) after having a pretty mild spring, I think he’s stepped it up in the first week of camp. As I asked him, was he going to come back and show us the same guy we saw last year when he emerged as a starter? And he said, ‘That’s my intention Coach.’ So I think he’s worked at it in that way where he’s looking at getting himself back in that conversation, so that’s been good to see."
-Head Coach Jack Del Rio on the wide receivers