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Wide receivers have chemistry


The Jaguars' need for better chemistry is symbolized by the reconstruction of its wide receiver corps. Gone are the tall guys who all did the same thing, replaced by a cast of characters who fit neatly into their individual roles.

"You want to have two legit starters, a slot and a fourth guy who's developmental. You hope you have guys fitting those and embrace that. I hope we have that. It makes it easier," wide receivers coach Todd Monken said.

It would seem Monken has exactly what he wants. Torry Holt and Mike Sims-Walker are the legit starters, rookie Mike Thomas is the Jaguars' slot receiver, and rookie Jarett Dillard was the developmental guy until suffering a broken leg two weeks ago, replaced by rookie Tiquan Underwood in the current developmental role.

What this year's group has done is to have given quarterback David Garrard a dependable and explosive group of pass-catchers who are blowing away last year's group, statistically and otherwise. This is a happy, eager-to-learn group of young receivers that define the improved chemistry to which coach Jack Del Rio referred as last season drew to a disappointing conclusion.

Reggie Williams, Matt Jones and Jerry Porter are all out of football currently, meaning the Jaguars labored through last season with a trio of receivers who've been judged unworthy of a roster spot anywhere in the league this year. The situation had only one way to go, up.

That's also the way Sims-Walker describes what he was thinking during two injury-filled years that kept him from reaching his expectations.

"It couldn't get any worse. If I could get through that, some good things will come out of it," he thought.

Good things certainly have come out of it. Sims-Walker leads the Jaguars with 51 catches, 740 yards and six touchdown catches. He is clearly the team's number one receiver, the first receiver worthy of that designation since Jimmy Smith retired following the 2005 season.

"I wouldn't say all that," Sims-Walker said. "I think I've made a little name for myself. I feel like I'm a number one receiver.

"I think we can take it to the playoffs. We've got to keep our focus and go out there and win these games," said Sims-Walker, who embraces his role as "one of the guys they count on to get open and catch the ball. I'm the biggest receiver on the team, so I have the main blocking responsibility, too."

All of this, Sims-Walker's surge, Holt's steadying influence and the rapid development of the rookies, has made Monken's job more enjoyable.

"Having guys wanting learn, improve, make a career of it, that's been great," Monken said. "It's more enjoyable because of the roles the guys fit into."

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