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Tag:Jacksonville Jaguars
Posted on: August 13, 2011 11:10 pm
Edited on: August 14, 2011 2:17 am
 

How 2011's rookies fared during the first week

Posted by Will Brinson



Rookies are at a disadvantage during the 2011 season, because of the shortened amount of time they were given to prep for the season due to the lockout. As such, they're likely to struggle substantially early.

But not every rookie will struggle.

For instance, in the Falcons preseason opener on Friday, Julio Jones flashed enough explosiveness to warrant Mike Smith describing him as "outstanding" after Atlanta loss against the Dolphins.

Had the first teams stayed in, we likely would have gotten more glimpses of the reason Thomas Dimitroff traded up 21 spots to nab the Alabama product -- he turned a pair of short grabs into 43 yards quickly and a reverse for 12 yards looked like it could have easily gone for more.

Atlanta believes the reason the missed a shot at the Super Bowl in 2010 was their lack of big playmaking. And correctly so. Jones appears -- in an admittedly small sample size -- to be very nice remedy for that problem.

Things didn't go quite as swimmingly for Bengals rookie quarterback Andy Dalton, who managed to post somewhat decent stats -- 11/15, 69 yards and an interception. But don't listen to me on that.

Offensive coordinator Jay Gruden's description (he said Dalton's start "wasn't a total debacle") probably summed it up best.

Dalton struggled mightily, and not just because Gruden put him in tough spots by trying to take shots downfield with Ndamukong Suh breathing down his neck (he did). Of course, it didn't help that Suh popped his helmet off and chunked him to the ground late in the first quarter either. That's enough to make a man quit his job for good, especially on the first day.
NFL Preseason Week 1

Dalton doesn't have the arm strength or athleticism to just step in and overcome inexperience. Even some of his completions -- including a quick out to Jerome Simpson from the shotgun set -- were off and didn't do his receivers any favors.

Speaking of his receivers, A.J. Green looks like the real deal, insomuch as one could determine that from the shorter passes he caught from Dalton. Not to sound weird, but I'd be cool with just watching him run and jump all day. (That's weird, isn't it? Crap.)

Point is, Green's athletic as hell and all the hype about him before the season might not be that overblown.

Also not overblown? Cam Newton's athleticism. Whooooo-boy. But Newton's a good-news/bad-news situation. See, his athleticism is unquestioned. He's a freak. A totally different package of size, strength and speed than we've ever seen in the NFL. But as expected he isn't precisely polished. That's the bad news.

The good news is that Newton has clearly progressed from where he was when we last saw him (read: the combine). If Newton can make strides like that without serious hand-on guidance from the coaching staff, I'm willing to bet he can eventually become a great quarterback. He's got a cannon for an arm, but his touch was clearly off on some throws.

That may not matter for Carolina, though, as even though Jimmy Clausen played pretty darn well after throwing a pick six on his second throw, there could be riots in Charlotte if Newton doesn't start right away simply because he oozes potential.

Blaine Gabbert also oozed enough of something for the Jaguars to trade up for him. Could it have been composure, perhaps?

"I thought [Gabbert] was composed and did a good job making decisions," Jaguars coach Jack Del Rio said following Saturday's blowout loss to New England. "He looked like he belonged. It was a good beginning."

Gabbert finished 9/16 for 85 yards with no touchdowns (but no picks) and got hosed by a number of drops from his wide receivers. That being said, he looked like most of the other rookies we saw, in that he struggled at times to step up and complete passes in the pocket.

Gabbert definitely showed some flashes that should give the Jaguars optimism for his future, but if you go back and watch the game (or, if you prefer, just scan the play-by-play), you won't many combinations of the words "complete" and "deep." The Jaguars kept things short, as one might expect, particularly given the dearth of weapons available to the rookie on Thursday.

Speaking of that Patriots-Jaguars game, um, Ryan Mallett's really good. OK, "really good" might be a stretch but how about good? Or good? One of those should work well enough to emphasize how he might be the most pro-ready quarterback in this rookie class.

Mallett's got poise in the pocket, doesn't seem scared of pressure, knows when to run, has a big arm and confident in moving through his progression. Plus -- and this might have to do with his familiarity in a pro-style system -- you do just don't see him float throws like other rookie quarterbacks.

I mean, yeah, it doesn't hurt that he's being mentored by Tom Brady and Bill Belichick, and, yeah, we're not like five years away from watching the hoodie stroll the sidelines with a crooked cane while Mallett and a gorgeous mane of hair takes down a Super Bowl win, but -- surprise, surprise -- New England might have found a steal in the draft with their third-round nab of Mallett.

It's definitely too early to call Titans rookie Jake Locker a "steal" (and, I'd argue, he was taken too meet such qualifications, barring an absolute blowup), but he looked particularly comfortable in going 7/10 for 89 yards and a teeter while running the Titans offense on Saturday night.

The play that clearly stood out? Locker fumbling the snap on the first play after Tennessee's defense forced a turnover, recovering his own fumble, rolling out right, setting his feet and chucking a 45-yard bomb Yamon Figurs for his first professional touchdown.

For whatever reason, Locker seemed to fit the bill for "prepared" in a completely different way than Mallett. Thrust into a difficult situation with no real weapons -- paging Chris Johnson! -- and pressure as the not-too-far-off future of the franchise, Locker seemed to manage the game in a hyperactive, scrappy kind of way.

That's not to say that he's the NFL's David Eckstein or anything, obviously. And maybe it's just that the Titans know what to do with him. (Credit to Doug Farrar over at Shutdown Corner if this happens -- he's been driving the Locker bandwagon, based on his situation, for a while now.) Obviously they didn't plan to have him fumble, recover and scramble, but you could see that when Locker rolled out he could sling darts.

Christian Ponder's first career completion in the NFL was also a rollout. The rookie out of Florida State hit fellow rook Kyle Rudolph for a 10-yard gain, but that might have been the highlight for Ponder. He never really had the poise that we expected from the most "ready" (theoretically) quarterback in the first round, and at times he looked a bit lost and/or overwhelmed especially at first and, surprisingly, seemed to have his most success when on the move, outside of the pocket.

One of those on-the-move plays should have resulted in a first down on a 3rd-and-16, but was called back for a personal foul penalty. The interesting thing is that Ponder managed to avoid a sack, buy time and made a crucial throw on the move; yes, it was pretty surprising given what we expected from him.

It was also surprising considering Ponder faced off against the third-string defense.

On the bright side: it's just one game. And it's early. That's the beauty of preseason.

For more NFL news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnNFL on Twitter and subscribe to our RSS Feed.
Posted on: August 11, 2011 7:29 pm
 

2011 NFL Preseason Live Chat, Week 1



Posted by Ryan Wilson

Hey, hey, hey, the NFL is back. Sure, it's only preseason but let's be honest, a month ago we'd take anything and, well, we got it. There are five games on the slate -- Seahawks-Chargers, Jags-Pats, Ravens-Eagles, Broncos-Cowboys, and Cards-Raiders -- and we'll be keeping an eye on all of them.  

Feel free to stop by and let us know which games you're watching because tonight we're all fans of the same thing: the return of football.



For more NFL news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnNFL on Twitter and subscribe to our RSS Feed.
Posted on: August 10, 2011 10:41 am
 

Jones-Drew has no plans to apologize to Cutler

Posted by Ryan Wilson

It all started in January, barely halfway through the NFC Championship Game between the Packers and Bears. Chicago quarterback Jay Culter left early in the third quarter with a knee injuy and didn't return. The problem: he didn't appeared injured enough for some fans, media and players. (Turns out, Cutler had Grade II MCL sprain so, yeah, it was plenty serious.) As a result, Twitter promptly blew up with thoughts from, well, everybody.

One of the most memorable tweets came courtesy of Jaguars running back Maurice Jones-Drew: “Hey I think the urban meyer rule is effect right now... When the going gets tough........QUIT.. … All I'm saying is that he can finish the game on a hurt knee... I played the whole season on one...”

Surprisingly, that didn't go over well in Chicago. A few days later, Jones-Drew clarified his remarks to the Associated Press: “I never attacked him, called him soft or a sore loser. I never questioned his toughness. I think people took my joke out of context. I was taking at shot at Florida fans."

Fast-forward seven months and Jones-Drew was still being asked about the incident. In an interview with NFL Network, the Jags running back says he hasn't seen Cutler and he has no plans on apologizing if he does.

“I don’t regret anything I do,” Jones-Drew said, according to PFT.com. “You think about everything you put out there. I’m not going to be one of those guys to say, ‘I shouldn’t have done it.’ Because I did it. I knew what I was doing when I tweeted it. I just didn’t know that many people were following me at the time.”

We believe this is commonly referred to as the "Anthony Weiner defense" (made popular by Kenny Britt earlier this offseason).

“I haven’t gotten a chance to (talk to Cutler), but I wouldn’t apologize because I didn’t do anything wrong, I don’t think,” Jones-Drew said. “I didn’t commit a crime. I didn’t kill anyone or rape anyone or anything like that. I mean, I stated my opinion, and it seems like you get more backlash for that than committing a real crime in some sense. I feel like I didn’t do anything wrong, I just said what everybody else was thinking.”

Jones-Drew is right about that last part. Everybody was thinking that as they watched Cutler on the bench, appearing, well, uninjured.

But hey, it wasn't like MJD was the only guy making jokes about Cutler in recent months.

For more NFL news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnNFL on Twitter and subscribe to our RSS Feed.
Posted on: July 28, 2011 5:20 pm
Edited on: July 28, 2011 5:25 pm
 

Clint Session leaves Indy for Jaguars

SessionPosted by Josh Katzowitz

Whether the Colts have a chance to compete for another Super Bowl isn’t necessarily dictated by Indianapolis’ offense. With QB Peyton Manning and his ability to make any receiver look like an All-Pro, the ability for the team to score points is rarely in question.

For Indianapolis to compete, the Colts defense has to be tenacious and strong. Going forward, Indianapolis will be fine on the defensive line -- ends Robert Mathis and Dwight Freeney are still pretty scary -- but oft-injured, yet very-talented safety Bob Sanders is gone to the Chargers.

And now, making the Colts defense just a little bit weaker, LB Clint Session has signed a five-year, $30 million ($11.5 million guaranteed) deal with the Jaguars, writes NFL.com’s Jason LaCanfora (via the Indianapolis Star).

He’s coming off a season in which he played only five games due to injury, but when he’s on the field, he can be a force -- he combined for 197 tackles in 2008-09 and was playing awfully well before injuries cut short his 2010 season.

And lest you forget, Session is a tough, tough man.

After breaking his forearm and dislocating his elbow, Session left the game briefly and then returned in the second half (!) to play well. Ultimately, the injury ended his season, but that’s a pretty strong mindset for a guy who now will go to a division rival and try, at least twice a year, to stop the Colts offense from advancing to the postseason.

For more NFL news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsnfl on Twitter and subscribe to our RSS Feed.

Posted on: July 26, 2011 10:08 pm
Edited on: July 26, 2011 10:23 pm
 

Takeo Spikes agrees to terms with Chargers

SpikesPosted by Josh Katzowitz

After three seasons in San Francisco, free agent LB Takeo Spikes has a new destination. The Chargers announced Tuesday night that Spikes and San Diego have agreed to terms on a three-year deal.

Even though Spikes will turn 35 in December, he’s coming off a standout year in which he combined for 109 tackles, his biggest number since 2003, and recorded three interceptions. Though it’s understandable why the 49ers wouldn’t want to give him a long-term contract -- though one of the San Francisco beat writers earlier this year said signing Spikes was a “no brainer” -- Spikes clearly still has value.

Even better for Spikes, his old defensive coordinator in San Francisco, Greg Manusky, is now in San Diego.

And maybe for Spikes, it’ll be nice to play for a team that has a pretty good chance to win. From my Five Questions (or More) with him last November:

4. CBS: You know, your career is fascinating to me. You’ve played at such a high level for so long, but you’ve only been on one team that’s finished with a winning record. After 12 years in the league …

Spikes: Thirteen years.

CBS: After 13 years, how do you still get excited about football, even when the teams you’ve played on haven’t been so good?

Spikes: I walk on faith. I think that’s the bottom line. Back in the day, early in my career, you don’t know anything about how a team is supposed to feel, and not understanding the reasons why we’re paying quarterbacks $10-12 million per year. If you have a good quarterback, you’re able to go out and compete no matter how bad your defense is. That’s a fact. Earlier in my career, I didn’t understand that. I thought the defense could do it all. But you still need help. Now, how do I keep myself going? I’m surrounded by a great group of guys, and it’s an even push. They push me all the time. I know what we can be. I see us working toward that as a defense.

- In other former Bills LB news, Paul Posluszny has agreed to a six-year deal with the Jaguars, according to NFL.com's Jason LaCanfora.

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Posted on: July 18, 2011 12:53 pm
Edited on: July 18, 2011 5:32 pm
 

GM Smith: Re-signing current Jags '1st priority'

Posted by Will Brinson

The Jacksonville Jaguars are an interesting team to watch as we emerge from the lockout cocoon and head (hopefully) to the 2011 season. They've got a rookie quarterback who might or might not play and a head coach who might or might not be on the hot seat.

In other words, the future, and measuring short- versus long-term goals is kind of up the air. So it'll be interesting to see how they handle free agency. According GM Gene Smith, getting their "own players" will take precedent. “Our own players will always be our first priority,” Smith said, per Tania Ganguli of the Florida Times-Union. “I’ve said this before that it is our objective to get a long-term deal done with Marcedes.”

Obviously, Smith's referring to tight end Marcedes Lewis, who was franchise tagged near the end of February. Less obvious is how the situation with Lewis will play out -- there's been some chatter that Lewis will hold out, based on his decision to remain in Los Angeles "until [his] deal is done."

He's also commented that he just wants "to be treated fair."

“All I can do is be optimistic about it,” Lewis told Ganguli in a recent phone interview. “I think both sides have an idea of where we want to go. I’m just going to continue to handle my side and let them take care of that. I’m hoping we can get it done and get me in camp.”

Lewis' situation is fascinating because the Jaguars have already gotten rid of one-time breakout wide receiver Mike Sims-Walker and are left with Mike Thomas shoring up their No. 1 receiver spot.

Making Lewis happy and getting him into camp on time is something that appears absolutely essential for Smith if he wants to ensure that the Jaguars have enough offensive potency to keep with the rest of the AFC South, especially if they're not planning on trolling for free agents between now and the start of the season.

After all, if David Garrard doesn't have any weapons, the Jags might struggle early and Blaine Gabbert might find himself under center sooner than anyone expects. Not having a safety net at tight end for their rookie is probably something the Jacksonville front office would like to avoid.

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Posted on: July 6, 2011 4:44 pm
 

Hot Routes 7.6.11: MJD losing carries already?

Posted by Will Brinson



Got a link for the Hot Routes? Hit us up on Twitter (@CBSSportsNFL).
  • Albert Breer of the NFL Network is sitting on the side of the street in New York (like, literally) waiting on lockout-related news. Here's his latest update.
  • SB Nation Atlanta reports that Sean Weatherspoon is going above and beyond what he needs to do during the lockout, getting together with Missouri teammates to workout. I have an unholy amount of love for 'Spoon and I'm hoping it doesn't manifest itself in an ill-advised DPOY pick this preseason.
Posted on: June 27, 2011 5:58 pm
Edited on: June 27, 2011 6:09 pm
 

Hot Routes 6.27.11: Dominique Foxworth does MMQB

Posted by Will Brinson



Got a link for the Hot Routes? Hit us up on Twitter (@CBSSportsNFL).
  • Dominique Foxworth of the Ravens guest-penned Peter King's "Monday Morning Quarterback" column on, um, Monday and I gotta tell you, it was awesome. The general premise of the piece is about the lockout, and it's important to remember that even though we think there's a deal getting done, no one knows. Foxworth, in particular, has a great point-of-view, because he missed all of last season with an injury, and is really itching to get out on the field. Also, he dropped the funniest line of the year with "I think cell phones have ruined pushing people into pools." Preach on, brother.
 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com