Jacksonville Jaguars tight end Marcedes Lewis has taken a lot of criticism from fans after signing a big contract prior to the 2011 season, but has improved from his down year in most areas. Jaguars head coach Mike Mularkey sees the improvement on tape.
"I think he had a better year this year than he did last. I think more productive down in the red zone like we hoped. I just felt like more production," Mularkey told reporters on Monday. "He did more things for us than I’ve been used to in the run game, which has been good for us having a guy that can block like he can."
Lewis' numbers so far in 2012 are about on par with his final numbers from 2011, at least in regards to receptions and receiving yards, but that doesn't tell the whole story. Early in the season Lewis was getting open down the seam and was just missed by Blaine Gabbert. As the season wore on with the shuffling on the offensive line, Lewis was used to block more often to help protect the quarterback.
"I’ve never seen him have any frustration or anything," Mularkey said about Lewis' role on Monday. "We’ve had to keep him in to chip and maybe even bang a defensive end before he goes out into a route or literally protect as much as he did. He’s probably one of the better pass protectors that I’ve been around, and we’ve needed that help from him."
Lewis is one of the better all-around tight ends in the NFL, despite fan scrutiny, but until the team gets a consistent quarterback his receiving contributions will leave a lot to be desired.