Rashean Mathis injury could negatively affect special teams

No, cornerback Rashean Mathis does not participate on special teams outside of the two fair catches he made on opposing punts. However, cornerback William Middleton does contribute on special teams and he does so well. As a rookie, Middleton made Paul Kuharsky's 2009 All-AFC South team as the division's special teamer, ahead of teammate Montell Owens.

With Mathis now on injured reserve, Middleton will fill in as the Jaguars starting corner opposite Derek Cox and there will surely be a drop off in coverage. An understated loss will be Middleton's contributions on special teams.

The Jaguars struggled most on special teams during a particular string of injuries that sidelined Kassim Osgood and Montell Owens. Also missing during that period of time was cornerback Derek Cox. With Middleton filling in for Cox, he didn't fill his usual duty as gunner on punt returns.

Perhaps, even more important are Middleton's contributions on kickoffs. While Josh Scobee has managed to kick every Jaguars kickoff into the endzone, 10 of his 33 kickoffs were taken out of the endzone for returns. Six of those returns came during the week 4-6 period in which Osgood, Owens and Cox were all missing or 50% of the kickoffs over that period. Just 19% of the kickoffs in other weeks have been taken out of the endzone.

Luckily for the Jaguars, Osgood and Owens are not out and the Jaguars will hopefully be able to avoid having the breakdowns that they struggled with earlier in the season.

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