Jaguars Win, with Injuries.
Remember what I said before the game? That winning was secondary to avoiding injury. Nothing is more important than starting the regular season without losing starters. Thankfully, the game wasn't the preseason massacre of the Sunday night game. I couldn't believe the injuries in that match up. I could care less about the Giants, but losing Will Demps and Sam Madison in what I consider one of the worst defensive backfield in the league is terrible bordering on tragic. If you're one of those compulsive fans who reads about every team, please check out Big Blue View for your fill of Giants nonsense.
There were some unique aspects to the game that deserve mention. First off, Greg Jones looked pretty good in a limited role. What's interesting is this little nugget of coincidence offered by Del Rio:
I don't know if anyone remembers, but Jack Del Rio was basically in tears last season when Jones tore his ACL. Jack is a huge believer in Jones as the ultimate 3rd down/ Full Back runner. I'm still waiting to see that, but I've got faith that if everyone in our coaching staff, including all the various offensive coordinators that we've had roam the sidelines, he must have something special.
Speaking of special, Wide Receiver Charles Sharon earned himself a roster spot. 3 catches, 54 yards, with a 27 yard reception. I'm told that his routes are especially crisp and he's developing into quite the receiver. Oh yeah, Reggie Williams diddn't catch a single ball. I restate the fact that Reggie Williams will not be a Jaguar for much longer.
So I'm sure everyone knows by now that First Round pick Reggie Nelson suffered a high ankle sprain in the game. He's in a "boot" now and will be out for at least the short term. The good news is that we've got some depth. Jamaal Fudge looked outstanding with two fumble recoveries. Let's not forget that we've got a lot of depth at cornerback. I'd be intreagued by the possibility that we move Brian Williams to FS and let someone like Scott Starks play corner. Not that Scott is a better CB than Williams, but we can put talented people at every position, that's pretty encouraging.
Anyhow, it's a pretty common injury, but one that can nag and dampen a season. Remember that Marcades Lewis suffered the same injury and was a non factor for the first half of the season. I'll be honest though, I'm glad it slows down Reggie's emergence as a starter, simply because it gives him a little bit longer to get comfortable with the academic side of professional football. He'll get more time to break down film and study opponents tenancies without the pressure of a real game situation breathing down his neck.
Other injuries of note include: OG Chris Naeole (Sprained Right Knee) and DT Tony McDaniel sprained his left knee.
Other rapid fire observations:
- Jacksonville fumbled 3 times. That makes me unhappy. If we have to become one of those "defense first" teams, then the offense HAS to protect the ball. We can't have a top defense and an offense that gives up the ball. I'd expect the coaches to get on that.
- 2nd round pick Justin Durant had 5 tackles, 3 solo. Even though these stats are about as meaningless as possible, I like to see him toward the top of the list.
- The top of the list is Safety Jamaal Fudge, with 5 tackles, 5 solo, and 2 recovered fumbles.
- I have no idea who's going to make the team at linebacker. Mike Peterson is a lock, as is Justin Durant and Clint Ingram. Daryl Smith, Pat Thomas, Tony Gilbert and Brian Iwuh are all performing well enough for consideration. Then we've got Kenny Pettway and Nick Greisen who bring things to the table as well. I can't break down the film well enough to know who's the man and who's on the outside, other than the obvious. If any of you out there are smarter than me and can do so, I'd appreciate it.
- Byron started slow. That's going to happen. He's a real game player, not a preseason player.
If anyone out there has the first two preseason games on disk, please email me.