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2012 Team Report: Jacksonville Jaguars
QuarterbacksStarter: Blaine Gabbert
Backup(s): Chad Henne Starting QB: The Jaguars quarterback play in 2011 was among the worst in the league. The team's total offense was the lowest in the NFL despite Maurice Jones-Drew rushing for 1,606 yards. Blaine Gabbert and Luke McCown managed to combine for an atrocious 2,179 yards (worst in the league) and 12 touchdowns (second worst). They completed 51.2% of their passes for a decidedly terrible 5.4 yards per attempt. Much of the problem came from Gabbert being a rookie and McCown simply not being very good. But these issues were enhanced by a receiving corps lacking in size, speed, and overall talent. Blaine Gabbert will enter the season firmly entrenched as the starter. Despite his poor play last season, Gabbert's prospects are hard to evaluate because of so many issues out of his control (poor protection and the aforementioned receivers). The Jaguars have tried to upgrade players all around Gabbert to give him a fighting chance once the ball is snapped. That said, Gabbert's long history of low completion percentages dating back to high school indicates that he will need to develop better accuracy and decision making if he is to be the Jaguars long-term solution at quarterback. Backup QB: Former Dolphins starter Chad Henne was brought in as a free agent to backup Gabbert. Henne is a substantial upgrade from Luke McCown, having completed 60% of his career passes and to go with a respectable 6.7 yards per attempt. While Henne is far from the best backup quarterback in the league, he would provide a stable, veteran voice in the huddle should Gabbert falter. That said, with a first-round pick invested in Gabbert the Jaguars are likely to give him an extra long leash in 2012 to determine if he is their quarterback of the future.
Running BacksStarter: Maurice Jones-Drew
Backup(s): Rashad Jennings, Montell Owens, Jalen Parmale, DuJuan Harris, Richard Murphy
Fullback(s): Greg Jones, Brock Bolen Starting RB: Maurice Jones-Drew had perhaps his best professional season as a rusher in 2011. He ran for a career high 1606 yards and averaged a career-high 100.4 yards per contest. Jones-Drew also recorded a career-high in carries (343) which presents some cause for alarm for the 2012 season. Although he is a strong, low-running back, so many carries often leads to future wear from which there is no recovery. That said, Jones-Drew was the lone bright spot of an otherwise putrid offense and his 1980 combined yards continue to show that he can be a game changer each and every week. At 27 years old, he is just entering his prime and should be a stellar back again this season for the Jaguars. Detractors will point to the heavy workload carried in 2011 as well as the uncertain development of Blaine Gabbert as reasons that Jones-Drew might regress in 2012. That said, he did not have nearly as many long runs and receptions in 2011 as in prior years so it is possible that even with a smaller workload in 2012 he could still match or exceed his production from last season. Furthermore, Jones-Drew scored only 11 touchdowns in 2011, the third lowest total of his career. An increase in long plays or scores would keep him among the top players at the running back position for the coming season. Backup RBs: Rashad Jennings missed all of 2011 so he was unable to build on the quality contributions he made in 2010. During his last healthy season, Jennings carried the ball 84 times for 459 yards and four touchdowns. Jennings is also an able receiver having posted 42 receptions in 28 games as a professional. If he were to perform similarly in 2012, the Jaguars could reduce Maurice Jones-Drew's workload and have a reliable performer backing up their star running back. Montel Owens and Jalen Parmele lead the race for reserve running back, but neither is overly talented. Fullback Greg Jones could also shoulder some of the workload out of the backfield should the need arise. Fullback: Long gone are the days when fantasy pundits saw a promising future for Greg Jones. In his first few seasons, Jones was thought of as a back that could be the bruising part of a quality committee. Over the last four years, however, he has been a fantasy afterthought.
Wide ReceiversStarters: Laurent Robinson, Justin Blackmon [R]
Backups: Mike Thomas, Lee Evans, Cecil Shorts, Brian Robiskie, Chastin West, Taylor Price, Mike Brown, Chris Forcier Starting WRs: After having perhaps the worst receivers in the NFL in 2011, the Jaguars worked quickly to upgrade the position for 2012. They signed Laurent Robinson away from the Cowboys and then drafted Justin Blackmon as the first receiver selected in the 2012 NFL draft. Robinson had a career year in 2011 with the Dallas Cowboys, but while his talent is apparent, it is far from certain that Blaine Gabbert can help him produce at the same level Tony Romo did. However, Robinson has shown excellent ability in the red zone and has the speed to be a deep, field-stretching threat that the Jaguars have lacked for years. Robinson's experience and confidence should make him a favorite target for Gabbert, while Blackmon learns the ropes. Blackmon lacks the size of A.J. Green or Calvin Johnson, but he is a very dangerous receiver with excellent hands and a strong core. He was drafted to give the Jaguars a true play-making receiver in the hope that Blaine Gabbert's play will improve once he has quality receivers to target. The addition of Robinson and Blackmon doesn't move the Jaguars in to the league's elite, but it should certainly help the team avoid having the worst passing game in the NFL as they did in 2011. One important note, in June Blackmon was arrested for aggravated DUI, which was his second offense. The league could come down hard on the rookie and a suspension could be in order. Backup WRs: Perhaps the biggest impact felt by the signing of Laurent Robinson and the drafting of Justin Blackmon will be felt by the Jaguars slot-receiver. Mike Thomas was overmatched as a No. 1 receiver last season. Although he led the team's receivers in catches and yards, it was clear that Thomas was not able to get off the line of scrimmage against most No. 1 cornerbacks. Under these circumstances, his open-field playmaking was essentially obsolete. By shifting him to the No. 3 / slot receiver role, the Jaguars should be able to get Thomas the ball on the run against smaller corners or slower safeties. Lee Evans was signed away from Baltimore to provide veteran leadership as a fourth receiver. Depending on Blackmon's development in camp, Evans could actually start for the team if the need was there as he brings a good deal of experience. Brian Robiskie will also see time as a fourth receiver in some packages. Cecil Shorts was on many sleeper lists a year ago, but the acquisitions of Blackmon and Robinson pushes Shorts way down the ladder.
Tight EndsStarters: Marcedes Lewis
Backups: Zach Miller, Zach Potter Marcedes Lewis had a down year in 2011, catching only 39 balls and scoring non touchdowns after a 2010 season when he caught 58 balls for 10 touchdowns. While the 10 touchdowns was an anomaly, getting blanked in 2011 was just as bizarre. Part of the problem came from the Jaguars poor quarterback play last season. Jacksonville is no doubt hoping that improved production from quarterback Blaine Gabbert and receivers Justin Blackmon and Laurent Robinson will help Lewis produce numbers similar to what he did in the past. Lewis is a big body with good speed and average hands. However, he is an excellent goalline threat and should benefit from more drives in to the opponent's territory than the team had last season. Zach Miller and Zack Potter will be utilized primarily as in-line blockers while Lewis is likely to garner most of the receptions from the tight end position. That said, Miller is a veteran pass catcher capable of gaining separation from linebackers at the line of scrimmage. Potter will also be used on special teams.
Place KickerJosh Scobee, Brandon Coutu, Sam Swank : Like many kickers this year, Josh Scobee was given the franchise tag. Among them, he (and his agent) have been the most vocal about refusing to sign the tender and wanting a long term contract. Scobee is coming off one of his stronger years, hitting 23 of 25 (92.0%) field goals including five from 50+ yards. Presuming he eventually signs, he'll again be working with long snapper Jeremy Cain. They'll be working with their third new holder in the past two years -- this time rookie punter Bryan Anger (California). He'll be facing the ongoing media attention resulting from being drafted in the 3rd round. After ranking 18th and 20th in attempted kicking points the prior two years, the Jaguars dropped to last place in 2011.
Kick and Punt ReturnersKick Returners: DuJuan Harris, Jalen Parmele, Rashad Jennings With the release of Deji Karim there is an opening for a kickoff returner. Running backs DuJuan Harris and Jalen Parmele should be in competition for the position in training camp. Punt Returners: Aaron Ross, Mike Thomas, Jarett Dillard, Dontrell Johnson [R] The Jaguars were the second worst punt return team in the NFL in 2011 and they did not address the situation during the draft. This offseason cornerback Aaron Ross, wide receiver Mike Thomas and wide receiver Jarett Dillard have been working out at punt returner. One person to watch is undrafted rookie cornerback Dontrell Johnson. Johnson was an FCS All-American punt returner at Murray State, with two touchdowns and a 22.8 yard average.
Offensive LineProjected Starters: LT Eugene Monroe, LG Eben Britton, C Brad Meester, RG Uche Nwaneri, RT Cameron Bradfield
Key Backups: T Guy Whimper, C Josh Beekman, C Mike Brewster, G Jason Spitz (inj), G Will Rackley (inj), G John Estes (inj) UPDATE: Will Rackley is out indefinitely with ankle issues and the line has been shuffled in his absence. Right tackle Eben Britton slides to left guard and previously untested Cameron Bradfield will start at right tackle. PRESEASON OUTLOOK: The word for the Jaguars line is potential. There's a lot of potential in these players, but when or if they meet that potential is unclear. Left tackle Eugene Monroe is a good player - better in the run game than the pass - which fits what the Jaguars have historically tried to accomplish on offense. Monroe was drafted in the Top 10, and while he has yet to achieve Pro Bowl status, he is getting closer. Monroe took a big step forward last season and looks to continue that trend. Left guard Will Rackley is another player that has great potential but is still developing his game after coming out of small school Lehigh prior to last season. Center Brad Meester is one of those quietly solid players that do a darn good job despite not being widely regarded. Be aware that Meester is entering his 13th season and is a threat to retire at any point. Right guard Uche Nwaneri is a beast in the run game, and he actually was one of the league's better guards last season. Nwaneri is another on the cusp of being considered a Pro Bowler if his improvement continues. Both Nwaneri and Rackley are potential replacements at center. Right tackle Eben Britton suffered a back injury last season, and his absence is the half-point deduction keeping the Jaguars from a full cohesion score. Britton is actually a talented player, once considered to be a potential (there's the P-word again) first-round pick. He has looked good in limited action at guard. This year Britton has to establish himself as a healthy, reliable starter. Swing tackle Guy Whimper did a decent job at right tackle last year and could step in again should injury strike. In terms of further depth, undrafted center Mike Brewster from Ohio State is in competition with John Estes for backup center. Will Robinson is a possible swing tackle. Line coach Andy Heck is a former first-round pick who played 12 seasons in the NFL. Heck is an above average line coach who does a good job emphasizing intensity in the run game. The Jags have the potential to be an elite line, but there is a difference between potential and performance.
Team DefenseThe Jaguars were a middle of the road fantasy defense last year. They finished 11th in total team takeaways with 28, including 3 defensive TDs, which is surprising considering they were among the league's worst pass rush with just 31 sacks. The loss of DE Aaron Kampman (knee) was a big reason for the decline. He has been a big bust for the Jaguars, but he claims he'll be ready by the start of training camp. DE Jeremy Mincey had a big year, forcing four fumbles with 1 INT, 8 sacks and 40 solo tackles. He will have to play that well or better for Jacksonville to be considered a formidable fantasy defense. Most of the free agent moves and draft picks were on the offensive side, however they did add CB Aaron Ross via free agency and DE Andre Branch, via the draft. Branch could see a larger role if Kampman can't come back from his second ACL tear. Most expect the Jaguars to be a bottom 10 defense in new HC, Mike Mularkey's first year. There are some bright spots, however a lot of questions, that likely will keep this unit as one to look over when choosing a fantasy Def/St for your squad.
Defensive LineStarters: DE Jeremy Mincey, DE Andre Branch [R], DT Tyson Alualu, DT Terrance Knighton
Backups: DE Austen Lane, DT C.J. Mosley, DE George Selvie, DE John Chick Starting DL: With Aaron Kampman released, Andre Branch, who was drafted in the second round this year, is the favorite to start. Branch still needs to refine his game a bit, but he will definitely compete for the starting job with Austen Lane. Given the starting nod, Branch could explode with double digit sacks and will be given plenty of playing time either way. The sure bet to start at DE for the Jaguars is Jeremy Mincey. Mincey was a free agent in the offseason, but the Jaguars resigned him and he had 40-17 tackles and a team-leading eight sacks. While not elite, the former sixth round draft pick is a solid DE2. DT tyson Alualu is entering his third year after being the tenth pick overall in the 2010 NFL draft. While Alualu has performed reasonably well, there remains the overlying feel that he hasn't lived up to his potential. He has averaged 25-14 tackles and three sacks in his two seasons. he can be a disruptive force inside, but his play has been inconsistent and knee injuries have slowed him a bit. He has the potential to be a DT1 in leagues that must start a DT. Terrance Knighton will also start at DT if he recovers from an eye injury he suffered in a bar incident in early April. He'll likely miss most, if not all, of the offseason workouts and it's unclear if he'll be ready opening day. Even if healthy, Knighton does not present high IDP value even in leagues that must start a DT. Backup DL: Austen Lane will also compete to start at DE if Kampman is not good to go. Lane, a fifth round draft pick in 2010, was recently given the go ahead to play after suffering a should injury last year that limited him to six games. The team envisions Lane to take a big step forward and finish with six to seven sacks. If Terrance Knighton can't go, C.J. Mosley is slotted to take his spot. Mosley was decent as a reserve last year, but don't expect much IDP value even as a starter.
LinebackersStarters: MLB Paul Posluszny, OLB Daryl Smith, OLB Russell Allen
Backups: OLB Clint Sessions, LB Brandon Marshall Starting LBs: Paul Posluszny was the team's biggest offseason acquisition last year and he did not disappoint. While he may not have had as many tackles as his sensational 2010 campaign, he still had 70-49 tackles and 2.5 sacks. There's no reason why he won't obtain similar numbers in 2012, which makes him a very solid LB 2 for your IDP roster. While Posluszny had shoulder surgery in January, he has stated he could play today if he had to. At 30 years old, Daryl Smith is finally heading towards the final chapters of his career. His play continues to be a model of consistency and his numbers should be good enough to make him a solid LB3. In 2011, Smith had 73-33 tackles and 2.5 sacks. After Clint Sessions went down with a concussion, Russell Allen stepped in played fairly well. An undrafted rookie last year, Allen had 23-12 tackles in his last six games. But even as a starter Allen would not have much fantasy impact. Backup LBs: Depth is an issue for the team at linebacker. They had been very hopeful that Clint Sessions could return to play all of 2012, but his concussion problems continue to linger. Sessions was a free agent last year who started off slow but was coming on strong before succumbing to concussion problems. He was placed on injured reserve. He has since been involved in a concussion treatment program at the University of Pittsburgh and has claimed to be symptom free for a while now, but you're still talking about a guy who by his own estimate has had five concussions from playing football. I doubt he be counted on to be a drafted or started soon in IDP leagues, but worth keeping an eye on for early success. Rookie Brandon Marshall is a versatile sort who can play all three LB positions. While his lack of speed might prevent him from a starting spot anytime soon, he'll play an important role on a team lacking depth at LB. Also note that Marshall has undergone two arthroscopic knee surgeries in the past.
Defensive BacksStarters: SS Dawan Landry, CB Rashean Mathis, FS Dwight Lowery, CB Derek Cox
Backups: CB Aaron Ross, S Christopher Prosinski, S Courtney Greene Starting DBs: Dawan Landry will be one of their starting safeties. Landry was another key acquisition last year for the Jaguars and not only provided assistance in a much needed area, but he also had 71-26 tackles and a pair of interceptions. Expect more of the same in 2012. While not as valuable as his brother LaRon, Dawan is a quality DB3 and S2 in IDP leagues. The other safety should be Dwight Lowery. Lowery had a good year last year, but his numbers did not reflect that from a fantasy perspective, as he had only 28-8 tackles and two interceptions. Other than his rookie year as a corner for the Jets, Lowery's IDP value has been minimal and I doubt that changes much this year. The Jaguars hope to stay injury free at cornerback this year. Veteran Rashean Mathis suffered season-ending ACL injury and only played nine games. he's back on a one-year deal, but at 32 years old (on opening day) he's not quite the same and will battle Aaron Ross for the starting nod. Derek Cox will start opening day. While injuries limited Cox to only six games last year, he played well enough to assure the starting nod. From a fantasy perspective, though, it's not clear whether he'll be a viable roster player. He only had 16-6 tackles and zero interceptions in those six games. It should be noted that he had 58-14 tackles and four interceptions are a rookie in 2009 and followed up with 41-8 tackles and another four interceptions the next year. Backup DBs: Aaron Ross came over from the Giants and is a reliable, steady corner. With 45-14 tackles and four interceptions last year, Ross is arguably the favorite to win the job over Mathis even if Mathis is healthy. If so, Ross is an adequate IDP CB. Providing depth at safety are Chris Prosinski and Courtney Greene. Prosinski was a fourth round draft pick last year and showed some promise. Last modified: 2012-09-03 12:07:39