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Time for 'Big John'


Football is an emotional sport. How many times have you heard that one?

It's true. Football is a sport that must be played at a heightened level of excitement and energy. It's the opposite, for example, of baseball and golf. Those sports require a quiet focus. Football, other than at quarterback, is best played with wild enthusiasm.

All right, how about a little emotion in the locker room? Maybe that's what this team needs. Maybe the Jaguars need for one of their big guys to call out the guys who are dropping passes. Maybe it's time for John Henderson to get in someone's grille. That'll make you stop dropping the ball, huh?

And that's all the Jaguars need to do to win. Just stop dropping passes and start making enough plays in the passing game to complement – that's all, just complement – everything else the Jaguars are doing right.

That's not asking much, is it? Just do some little things. Instead of dropping a five-yard pass, catch it. Forget about running with it. We'll save that for another day. Just catch it, and if you must drop it, drop it to the ground, not into a defender's hands.

Fans and media have been very fair in their expectations of the Jaguars receiving corps. Have you heard anyone even mention that the Jaguars don't have one player among the league's top 50 in receptions or yards receiving? Not one guy in the top 50! Imagine that.

Everything else about this team is sensational. Jack Del Rio says a lot of good things are going on but that's an understatement because a lot of great things are going on. It's just that a lot of great things aren't going on in the passing game.

The Jaguars have a great defense that is currently ranked number four in the league, which is two spots higher than last year's number six ranking, even though the Jaguars have played without Reggie Hayward, Mike Peterson and Marcus Stroud.

How good is this coaching staff that it has developed quality replacements in rookies such as Clint Ingram, Tony McDaniel and Brian Iwuh? What does it say about this team's depth and the coaches' ability to prepare players that they could deactivate their starting left tackle and replace him with a street free agent from Princeton and not experience a fall-off in performance? Dennis Norman turned in a sensational performance, blocking against, at times, the first pick of this year's draft.

The Jaguars have the league's sixth-ranked rushing attack and one of the league's most explosive one-two punches at running back in Fred Taylor and Maurice Jones-Drew.

How about that pass-defense? It's fifth in the league in yardage allowed and tied for fourth in interceptions.

And the kicking game? Josh Scobee has converted 11 consecutive field goal attempts and is tied for fourth in the league in touchbacks on kickoffs.

There's almost nothing not to like about this team except, of course, its passing game. It's 24th in the league and showing no signs of improvement.

All right, so what to do about it?

"Work at it. Challenge guys. Making sure we're doing the things we need to do to be the best we can be. We gotta get (Cortez Hankton) some more reps. The best way to challenge guys is with playing time. They tend to separate themselves," Jack Del Rio said.

Here's one more suggestion, coach: Get "Big John" to have a talk with the pass-catchers, er, pass-droppers.

I say this tongue in cheek, sort of. I'm not big on players calling out players because it's not something that lasts long-term. What are you gonna do, have a calling-out meeting every week?

The long-term, though, is not the concern right now, is it? As the playoffs near, the picture gets smaller and the focus sharpens. Just win this one, right? Worry about the following game the following week.

Yeah, it's time for "Big John" to have a talk with the skill guys. That would work for me.

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