JACKSONVILLE – This wasn’t about being unconventional.
As Jaguars General Manager David Caldwell saw it, the Jaguars’ busy, unusual Sunday afternoon wasn’t about anything but the most basic thing as the 2013 season approaches.
The Jaguars wanted to get better. They will do whatever it takes to do it.
On Sunday, that meant claiming seven veteran players off waivers and releasing seven players who a day before had been on the 53-man roster – a flurry of transactions that came on the same afternoon the Jaguars also signed seven players to the team’s practice squad.
“We just looked at it as an opportunity to get better,” Caldwell said Sunday afternoon, a week before the Jaguars open the 2013 regular season with a home game against Kansas City.
The seven players claimed were:
Former Packers tight end
The team also released five veterans – safety Antwon Blake, tight end Brett Brackett, defensive tackle Kyle Love, wide receiver Jordan Shipley and linebacker Andy Studebaker – as well as first-year center Dan Gerberry and fullback Lonnie Pryor.
The Jaguars added seven players to the practice squad, all of whom spent the preseason with the team: Defensive back
The Jaguars, because of their 2-14 record last season, are in the No. 2 position on the NFL’s waiver claim spot. They hold that spot until at least Week 3, which meant they were the second team after Kansas City Sunday to have a chance at the seven players claimed.
“The mindset we had going into this was knowing we could take advantage of this No. 2 waiver spot in the hope that we’re not here in the future,” Caldwell said.
Caldwell also said the Jaguars wanted to continue getting faster, something he said the team did during the April draft and again Sunday. Caldwell also said Sunday’s claims improved special teams and depth.
“When we came in here, we wanted to upgrade our team speed,” Caldwell said. “We didn’t completely complete that in the offseason, but we did that today.”
Caldwell said Burton, Guy, Thomas, Harbor, Williams all have been good special teams players in the past.
“A lot of these players we claimed are young players that we feel have a specific trait that we feel like our coaching staff can develop,” Caldwell said.
Caldwell said the players claimed could contribute immediately and some could be active against Kansas City Sunday. He also said the signing of two tight ends had nothing to do with tight end
“Our personnel department did a great job the last few weeks,” Caldwell said. “We didn’t know what other teams were going to release and what they were going to keep. We just prepared.”
Caldwell said the difficult part of Sunday was releasing the seven players. All except Studebaker had been with the team throughout training camp.
Caldwell said the Jaguars aren’t necessarily done making transactions, and may not be done for the foreseeable future. Caldwell said with a wave of players being released around the league Sunday the team will evaluate that group Monday.
“It’s all based on opportunity,” Caldwell said.
Caldwell said the possibility remained that a player released Sunday could be added to the practice squad. The team can have up to eight practice-squad players.
Caldwell addressed some of the specifics of the team’s thinking Sunday:
*The release of Love: “That really came down to a numbers game for us. We feel like we have up to six players that can play inside for us on any given down. We were able to find some players who could help us on special teams who could be active for us and we weren’t sure we’d be able to activate all seven interior defensive linemen.”
*The addition of Harbor and Williams at tight end: “They both bring good athleticism and good speed. They’re both good pass-catchers and they’re active in the passing game.” Caldwell said Williams can also play fullback and is “a solid blocker.” Each can be a core special teams player.
*The release of Pryor: “That was a tough one. We had a lot of discussion with that. But for us to claim the two tight ends, we had to give up something somewhere.”
*The signing of Guy: “Winston plays with great energy and great urgency. He is a big strong safety.” Caldwell said Guy also can play free safety, and could contribute immediately on special teams. Guy’s ability as a special teams player and as a solid backup safety, allowed for the release of Blake.
*Carrying four receivers on the active roster,
*McCoy, acquired from Philadelphia, could play the team’s Leo pass-rusher position.
*Caldwell’s familiarity with McClendon – he was on Atlanta’s practice squad last season with Caldwell was with the Falcons – played a role in his acquisition. Caldwell said McClendon could be a fit in the team’s zone-blocking scheme.