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2010 Mini-Camp Aftermath: The Secondary

One of the areas for concern all off-season and during mini-camp was the safety position.  Many people aren't concerned with the cornerback position all that much, but should they?  Some interesting happenings occurred during mini-camp weekend that could potentially be foreshadowing.

As we all know, the saftey position on the Jacksonville Jaguars is a position of dire concern.  Former first round pick Reggie Nelson took a nosedive in play after his rookie season and so far in camp hasn't been any better.  There were murmurs of the team trying to move him during the draft to no avail, and even a report earlier in the week about calling around and trying to peddle him now.  Outside of Gerald Alexander who the Jaguars traded for last season, everyone else filling in at safety has left a lot to be desired.

Something interesting that did occur however, was at the cornerback position.  Derek Cox, who was a 3rd round pick in 2009 that everyone questioned, got a lot of work at the left cornerback position, normally manned by veteran Rashean Mathis. "I thought it was because Rashean [Mathis] needed a blow," Cox told Michael DiRocco of the Florida Times-Union. "I thought they were just doing a veteran move, letting him sit down and I was just taking the reps on the left side. I guess it's worth giving it a shot."

The move shouldn't be unfamiliar to Cox if it occurs, as he played on the left side in high school and in college at William & Mary. "I like the left side, just because I've done it for so long. It's comfortable for me." If the move works into being permanent, does that mean Rashean Mathis is being phased out and over to the right side, or is something else in the works?

In 2003, Rashean Mathis was drafted in the second round as a free safety out of Bethune Cookman.  He played all 16 games as a rookie, beginning his career at free safety and then moving to starting cornerback as the year went on.  With the concern at safety and Cox working in on the left side, is it possible the Jacksonville Jaguars ask Rashean Mathis to make a move back to the safety position in the same way they did with former Jaguar Brian Williams a few seasons ago?

If you think about it, it makes a lot of sense.  Mathis is 29 years old, he'll turn 30 during the season.  He's getting to the point where he will be considered "older" for a cornerback. Mathis play hasn't wained yet, but he has been hampered by injuries and hasn't played a full 16 games since 2006.  A move to free safety could not only add a real ball hawk in the backfield, but prolong his career.  Mathis isn't really known as a tackler, but at the safety position he can use his range and ball skills to play center field, like the Jaguars hoped Reggie Nelson would be able to do.  A move from corner to safety isn't an abnormal thing for older corners either, especially considering Rashean Mathis' size (6'1", 200lbs).

The big question if the move is made however, is who takes over at the right cornerback position that Derek Cox used to man?  My first guess would be Tyron Brackenridge, who had a very good season last year starting 5 games as a fill-in corner and nickelback.  Outside of Brackenridge, William MIddleton had a lot of work with the first team defense over the weekend.  Then there is always the infamous pirated player, Don Carey.  Carey had a decent weekend, but you can tell he's getting his legs out from under him after a year out of football.