Skip to main content

Jaguars News | Jacksonville Jaguars -

Week one overview


The defense has been impressive, the Jaguars should get some help from their rookie class, and we shouldn't have to worry about Byron Leftwich getting a big head in just his first full training camp.

That's a very broad overview of the first week of Jaguars training camp. Let's take a deeper look.

The defense has been sensational. You want names? Start with Rashean Mathis, who has quietly taken on the look of a young player destined to quickly become one of the best cornerbacks in the league. His skills are top-notch and he works and learns efficiently.

Second-round pick Daryl Smith will not be held back. He's surging to the head of the linebacker class.

Free-agent acquisition Tommy Hendricks has the kind of energy coaches love. He's currently working at all three linebacker positions and he's almost certain to make an impact at one of those three positions and on special teams.

Safety Deke Cooper has picked up where he left off last year. He had an impressive first week. The question is where will he play?

Tackles Marcus Stroud and John Henderson are impressive by their mere presence. If the Jaguars had their equal at defensive end, we might be talking about the best defense in the league.

Pass-rush remains the most major concern on the defensive side of the ball, and maybe the number one concern overall. Hugh Douglas was head and shoulders better this past week than he was at any time in last year's camp, and that's a big story because this team desperately needs Douglas to play at his level of the past. He is the Jaguars' only true every-downs defensive end candidate.

On the offensive side of the ball, Leftwich and the passing game struggled through the first week of training camp. Jimmy Smith is back to form but no one has put a hook in the number two wide receiver job, yet. There are candidates, but at this point that's all there are.

First-round pick Reggie Williams is off to a slow start. He will be a player of major scrutiny in the preseason games because Williams was drafted to offer immediate help.

Fourth-rounder Ernest Wilford turned in a home-run performance in week one and Wilford is one of the rookies who almost certainly will offer help this season, but expectations for Wilford should remain conservative. This team needs a number two wide receiver and that was not the expectation with which Wilford was drafted.

Though the passing game struggled in week one, the running game did not. Fred Taylor is having the best camp of his career. Simply put, Taylor is the best player on this team and it shows on a daily basis.

Kicker Josh Scobee is another rookie who could lend immediate help. If he wins the placekicking job, and he has a leg up on it right now, it would mark the third consecutive year the Jaguars went into the regular season with a rookie kicker. That's a concern, but that's also where it stands at this point.

Running back Greg Jones, the Jaguars' second pick in the second round, is also expected to offer help this season, but Jones didn't jump up in Friday night's scrimmage. He's another player who will be closely scrutinized during the preseason because the Jaguars need a short-yardage and goal-line runner and Jones is expected to be that guy.

The situation at running back overall is outstanding. It'll be the most difficult position to cut and one of the big decisions will be what to do with Chris Fuamatu-Ma'afala. Fu has been sensational to this point in camp. In fact, if you were facing a third-and-one today, he's the guy to whom you'd give the ball.

There have been jump-up players, too: Undrafted rookies Brian Jones, David Richardson and Matt Cherry have had their moments, and fifth-round cornerback Chris Thompson has been outstanding in coverage.

By and large, the first week was a win, but it left a couple of questions still to be answered: Do the Jaguars have a player capable of being a true number two wide receiver? Can they manufacture a pass-rush? Should they put their trust in a rookie kicker, again?

This article has been reproduced in a new format and may be missing content or contain faulty links. Please use the Contact Us link in our site footer to report an issue.

Related Content