Let's clean out the notebook and cork another vintage Underwear League season. The first order of business, of course, is presentation of the "Mr. May" Underwear League MVP award.
Nominees are: on offense, guard Kynan Forney, wide receivers Mike Sims-Walker, Clarence Denmark and Tiquan Underwood (pictured), and running back Deji Karim; on defense, end Larry Hart and cornerback Derek Cox.
And the winner is … Underwood in underwear. The second-year man from Rutgers made a big push in the final two weeks. Sims-Walker was doing the same and might have overtaken Underwood had the final two OTAs not been canceled.
Forney appeared to elevate his position more than any other offensive lineman, Denmark earned mention for being in the competition for the number four wide receiver job, and rookies Karim and Hart displayed eye-popping moves.
"Mike Thomas and Jarett Dillard are probably two and three right now," coach Jack Del Rio said in evaluating the pecking order of his wide receivers at the end of OTAs. "That fourth receiver, the speed receiver, is the spot that's wide open right now. Tiquan has come on."
Mr. Congeniality—Quarterback David Garrard is the easy winner. Garrard was called out by his owner and his coach at the end of last season, and Garrard responded in all the right ways. Through quarterback camp, offseason conditioning, mini-camp and 12 OTAs, Garrard was never anything but an effervescent, ebullient, hard-working team leader. Neither Wayne Weaver nor Jack Del Rio could possibly find fault with anything Garrard did in this offseason.
Mr. Heat—Terrance Knighton reported for mini-camp at an alarming weight and was immediately ordered to take it off, take it all off. By the time OTAs began, Knighton had shed 15 pounds. It would appear the second-year defensive tackle will have to battle weight problems throughout his career, which was a rap on him coming out of Temple, but all indications are Knighton is one of those rare players that can play heavy. As temperatures soared to the 100-degree mark in the final two weeks of OTAs, Knighton's conditioning was never at issue. He actually appeared to get quicker as it got hotter. General Manager Gene Smith found a rare specimen in Knighton.
Mr. Absent—Cornerback Rashean Mathis never weakened; he missed them all. So, did he open the door for the competition? Probably not, but if there was a guy who came on late in OTAs, it was defensive back Michael Coe, a fifth-round pick of the Colts in 2007 who saw spot duty with the Colts and was on the Giants' practice squad last season.
Mr. Bicycle—Tight end Zach Miller spent the whole spring on the rehab bike. He may have ridden to Nebraska and back. The media was told not to worry, Miller's injury is minor, but we're a month and a half from the start of training camp and, frankly, Miller's foot injury has become worrisome. He's too important to the Jaguars' offense not to worry about his inactivity.
Mr. Who?—Nothing was decided at safety in the spring. The two spots are wide open and will probably be claimed by the two players who tackle best in the preseason. "A lot of our defense needs to tackle better and will and you can throw Reggie (Nelson) in there," Del Rio said on Thursday, referring to the Jags' 2007 first-round pick. Nelson, Sean Considine, Gerald Alexander and Anthony Smith would all seem to be on the same competitive level heading into training camp.
Mr. Snitch—Whoever you are, Del Rio would like to thank you for giving his team an identity for being too intense. It will quickly become the Jaguars' "Red Badge of Courage" and they will wear it proudly into training camp and into the season. Expect the suspension of OTAs to become a rallying cry for this year's team.