As Dennis Northcutt was doing his offseason conditioning due diligence on Monday, the people at the other end of the hall were said to be working on a contract that could bring Torry Holt to the Jaguars. What was Northcutt's reaction?
"I hope they do. As a guy who understands this league, it is so important for us to sign Torry Holt and to take a guy in the draft. I always believe there's no 'I' in team, there are plenty of balls to go around and the better we are as a team the better our chance of making money. Torry Holt is a great receiver. He'd really help the team. You can't be selfish and then have a worse record than we had last year," Northcutt said.
He really is a team player. Tell him what role you want him to play and he'll do it without complaint. Consider the range of roles at which Northcutt has performed since joining the Jaguars in 2007.
He was signed to be a number three, slot receiver and punt-returner, but he assumed the number one receiver early in the '07 season out of default. Slowly, Ernest Wilford moved into the team lead, but by season's end Northcutt was the team's second-leading receiver, just one catch behind Wilford. * Last year, Northcutt was by and large a forgotten man until late in the season, after Matt Jones began serving a season-ending, three-game suspension and Reggie Williams continued to fade. Northcutt took over the number one receiver role and the Jaguars' passing game soared to new heights. In those last three games of the season, he caught 18 passes for 263 yards, touchdowns of 30 and 28 yards and a 14.6 yards per reception average that included a 41-yard reception that was the Jaguars' longest pass play of the season. All of a sudden, the deep pass was back in the Jaguars' offense. *
"You never know what's going to happen. You have to stay prepared and focused. Last year was something that I've been there before. I've seen guys' opportunities come and not be ready for it. I stay prepared and did my job," Northcutt said.
Northcutt is already hard at work preparing for 2009, but for what is he preparing? That seems to be a question that would apply to his time with the Jaguars. What exactly is Northcutt's role?
"Do I wanna be a number one? Absolutely. I wouldn't let this team down. But if I'm the number one guy can we win a Super Bowl? Absolutely not," Northcutt said.
Whoa! That last statement requires an explanation.
"It's the size. It's the stereotype. You're not a number one," Northcutt said.
He's not saying he can't do the job, he's saying the size prejudice that stereotypes him as a number three receiver is such that if he did win the number one job, it would be, again, by default and that would mean the Jaguars' wide receiver corps would lack the talent and depth necessary to go all the way. Get it? It's actually sound logic.
"Right now, we would be considered at the low point in the league as a group and I would be trying to come here. Dennis Northcutt has never been a number one. Mike Walker really hasn't done anything. Troy Williamson is a former first-round pick. Who cares about the other two guys? That's what they would say," Northcutt said.
"We know what we can do. I've been counted out many times. I love that situation because you get another year to prove who you are. I tell the young guys all the time to expect two more guys to come in here. It can change in one week and you're back at the end of the totem pole trying to work your way up," he added.
Northcutt is waiting for the Jaguars to add to their wide receiver corps because Northcutt knows and admits help is necessary.
"It would fix things on paper," he said of signing a proven veteran, such as Holt, and drafting a receiver this weekend. "Nothing is fixed until you can prove what you can do. You try to put the best you can on paper. That's a start and at least you have a chance.
"I really don't know who's out there. Once we draft them, then I start focusing on how I can help them. It's my job as a veteran to help them make the team. It's my job to make sure they know how to focus, how to prepare for a game; help them in life if I can," he said.
It's expected the ranks of the Jaguars' wide receivers will soon increase.