It’s time again! This week, football is finally back, and so are our weekly Q&A sessions with bloggers covering the Patriots’ upcoming opponent. First on the docket is the Jaggernaut, a fantastic blog from our very own Bloguin Network, covering the Jacksonville Jaguars. We touched based with the head writer, Shane Clemmons to get his take on the Jags.
1. The main selection in the draft from Jacksonville everyone talking about is Blaine Gabbert. Do you think he can succeed at QB in Jacksonville for Jack Del Rio? How long until he takes over the job from David Garrard?
All the reports about Gabbert coming out of camp tend to be very positive. He still has to learn to make better decisions, and he’ll have to learn how to stand in the pocket and make good throws, but I’d be very surprised if he doesn’t succeed. That being said, I expect David Garrard to be the starter for the entire 2011 season (unless he gets injured). If Gabbert is everything the Jaguars hope he is, he’ll take over for the 2012 season, and Garrard will be released or traded then.
2. How do you think Jacksonville did in free agency? Were they winners/losers? Why?
The Jaguars, in my mind, were one of the quiet winners in free agency. They acquired linebackers Clint Session and Paul Posluszny as well as safety, Dawan Landry. All of those guys should step in and be day 1 starters. The Jaguars were able to adequately address most of their needs with quality players, and that should allow them to compete with the Colts for the division this year.
3. Which one of their free agents (Landry, Posluszny,Session) will make the largest impact in 2011?
They’ll all probably make a big impact, but Landry should make the most notable impact. The Jaguars’ secondary was terrible at best in 2010, and a big part of that was the lack of a coverage safety. Landry should be able to fill that gap, and I expect him to make everyone else look better around him.
4. With Mike Sims-Walker now in St. Louis, how do the Jaguars make up for his production at wide receiver?
The wide receiver question is the biggest question remaining for the Jaguars. They’ll be expecting Jason Hill to pick up the slack, and Jarett Dillard should be healthy and ready to go. Cecil Shorts III will be called upon as a rookie to contribute in a big way as well. The Jaguars are counting on some relatively unknown guys making big impacts, and that’ll be one of the biggest things I’ll be keeping an eye on in the pre-season.
5. Being that its the 1st preseason game, what backups should we look out for in this game?
I’ll be watching the rookies, especially Cecil Shorts III, Will Rackley, and Chris Prosinski. Those are Gene Smith’s draft picks, and they all need to be able to contribute in a positive way, albeit, probably as backups. Tiquan Underwood is another guy that will get a lot of my attention. He was expected to help out at the WR position in a big way last year, but he’s been largely a disappointment. He’ll almost certainly be playing for his job this throughout the pre-season.
6. Where will the Jaguars finish in the AFC South? Is this the last year for Jack Del Rio?
It’s always hard to make predictions, but considering the Jaguars’ free agency moves, I think the Jaguars will win the AFC South (yeah it’s bold, and yeah, I’m probably a bit of a homer). The Colts haven’t improved from last season outside of getting healthy again. The Jaguars have, in my mind, closed the gap between them and the Colts. The Titans are in a transitional phase. The Texans may actually make a strong run at the division. In every scenario I see, the team that can go 5-1 or 4-2 in divisional play will win the division.