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Could Allen Hurns be the next Jimmy Smith for the Jaguars?

Aug 29, 2014 -- 11:40am

By:Eric Serna (@MrEricAlmighty)

How many times have we as fans talked about someone being the next Jimmy Smith? I mean...think back from 2005 to now. Was there really anyone we ever truly believed could match that type of production and consistency, let alone surpass 1,000 yards receiving in one season? Reggie Williams, Matt Jones, Mike Thomas, and even Cecil Shorts have failed so far. The names have never been impressive or quite frankly realistic since Smith retired. But there is a rookie WR on this roster who is giving me hope, and he wasn’t even drafted.

Allen Hurns has been turning heads ever since the Jaguars picked him up as an undrafted rookie. First in practices, then in training camp, and now in the pre-season, Hurns has been a playmaker you can’t keep your eyes off of. Although he has had more success with Blake Bortles so far, he has had many targets and also some nice catches with Henne. Because of injuries to the receiver position, Hurns is impressing with and against first team players. That is quite a feat when you consider fellow rookie Marquise Lee (who was drafted in the second round) has only shown very small flashes in his opportunities in comparison.

The most recent stats in the game against the Detroit Lions will be talked about more often, but this has not been a one game wonder type of situation. Before his 7 reception, 113 yard (w/ 1 TD) game last week, Hurns had 6 catches for 117 yards in the first two pre-season games. That is including a 45 yard gain, his longest reception in the pre-season. I can’t stress enough how impressive this is given the fact he played with the starters as an undrafted rookie, despite being familiar with Jedd Fisch’s offense during his time at Miami.

Now that Hurns is making his name known on the national scale, he will be even further integrated into the offense sooner rather than later. There will be road blocks for immediate success of course. He is a rookie after all, and although we could hope for a Keenan Allen type year, historically rookie receivers tend to underperform. He has more chemistry with Bortles than Henne, and he hasn’t faced any “elite” corners (or even played a meaningful down in the regular season). So although expectations will continue to be high for Hurns now, he will have a good amount of time to make strides in his game as a potential No. 1 receiver.

Could Allen Hurns become the go to guy we’ve missed in Jacksonville since Jimmy Smith? If you asked me last month, I would have called you crazy and that Hurns was barely a roster lock. But ask me now? This guy has had the most impressive pre-season for an undrafted rookie since Victor Cruz. And it doesn’t hurt he’s about two inches taller with a similar skill set. I don’t think Hurns will answer this question for us in his first season. This could take 2-3 years before he ever reaches the type of production Jaguar fans have been missing in almost 10 years. But he undoubtedly has the potential and talent to be a playmaker for this team for years, making this EASILY the best move the Jaguars brass has made in 2014. I know I am looking forward to seeing his progress, which will mean only good things for the Jaguars moving forward.

Is Gus Bradley Already on the Hot Seat?

Aug 28, 2014 -- 11:48am

By: David Levin (@davidlevin71)

So it seems Lorenzo Reyes knows everything. Evidently, he knows nothing about our Jaguars. In a recent podcast for USAToday.com, Reyes, who is not listed as a staff writer for the site, made a comment that unearthed all of Jacksonville, claiming that our head coach Gus Bradley was on the hot seat and could be a casualty in 2015.

Excuse me? Seriously? What are you talking about, Willis?

These is the direct comments this reporter made the other day.

"Typically, turning around an NFL franchise takes at least three seasons. It may not be fair, but Jacksonville Jaguars head coach Gus Bradley may not get to see his third season if the franchise doesn't fix some of its big issues," Reyes said on camera with a straight face.

"After going 4-12 last year, the Jaguars filled some holes but they're still a young team and expected to finish near the bottom of the division," Reyes continued. "Can Bradley show enough progress to keep his job? Stay tuned."

This is another case of some writer watching the NFL Network, reading the wrong notes or blog, looking to stir the pot a bit, when they have no real substance for a story.

Shame on you, Mr. Reyes.

I got so mad at these national writers who have yet to set foot in Jacksonville or the ones who have been at one practice or game, and seem to think they know everything about this team. I think it started years ago when Woody Paige of the Denver Post opened his big trap when we beat Denver in the playoffs in 1996. When the columnist Paige referred to the Jacksonville Jaguars as the "Jagwads," it became a battle cry for the team. Jacksonville beat the Broncos 30-27 in the playoffs, moving them on to the AFC Title game.

Maybe this is the kind of fodder this team can use as motivation for a winning season. I’m not sure how it could top the enthusiasm or energy Bradley pours out every day in practice, film study or motivation at EverBank field, but hey, it couldn’t hurt.

I will agree with Reyes on the idea there are still issues with this team to fix, but that is the same thing happening with 31 other teams – some with the same or bigger problems. Rome was not fixed in a say and the Jaguars were rebuilt from the bottom up. Maybe Reyes should get off his perch and come visit our city before he comments on our football team. While perception is motivation for a column or blog like this one or even his, seeing the product on the field is the best way to formulate a true opinion.

This is a case of another writer or reporter reporting on something it appears he knows nothing about. Come to Jacksonville, Mr. Reyes. Let us education on what progress has been made with our franchise.

 

Many Questions Remain for Jaguars

Aug 27, 2014 -- 2:23pm

By: David Levin (@davidlevin71)

There are 11 days left until the start of the Jaguars regular season and the most pressing issues on the team revolve around the offensive line. Who is going to fill the center role? Will defensive ends have their way with left tackle Luke Joeckel and what happens if rookie Brandon Linder cannot solidify the guard spot?

All of this makes you appreciate the work Brad Meester did for 14 years, however finding someone like Meester on the fly cannot be accomplished right now. The Jaguars have improved in almost every unit this offseason, with the exception of the offensive line – or at least it appears that way.

What’s an offensive line coach, team head coach and general manager to do?

The situation with the offensive line is not the only issue this team must deal with, however it is the most pressing. Here are a few more questions that must be answered.

How soon before we see Blake Bortles?

John Oehser of Jaguars.com gave the best answer as to why the team will not start Blake Bortles at the beginning of the season. In a nutshell, Bortles does not have the command of the offense that Chad Henne does. While Bortles is exciting and he looks the part, for the time being, Henne gives this team a better chance of winning. In the end, that is all that matters.

What happens with the wide receivers?

Right now, I think the receiving corps will consist of Cecil Shorts, Marquis Lee, Allen Hurns, Allen Robinson, Mike Brown and Ace Sanders. Kerry Taylor will stay on the roster until Sanders comes back from suspension and then may be released. This unit is the most improved on the team – with Hurns showing he may be the best of the unit.

Can Toby Gerhart be the bell cow back?

This is a team that has revamped the running game. Gerhart is the big back that will complement the improved passing game. As long as the offensive line gets better and opens holes for the former Minnesota back and Jordan Todman, Denard Robinson and Storm Johnson, this could be a nice surprise.

Who will be a surprise cut after Game 4?

I look at center and think Mike Brewster may be a causality. I also believe someone line Chris Prosinski could have finally reached the end of the line in the secondary. Mike Harris has already been released and Josh Evans may have also come to a road block in his progress.

I am not willing to put money down on these cuts, but there will be plenty of discussion after Monday. It could also mean many of the players released will wind up on other franchise rosters. That is a testament to the quality and depth this franchise this season. It also means the Jaguars have gotten better at talent evaluation.

 

 

Predicting the 53-Man Roster

Aug 27, 2014 -- 7:30am

By: James Johnson (@SportGrind_Don)

With just one preseason game left for all of the NFL’s 32 teams, it’s just about that time of the year when each of those respective organizations start shaping their rosters through final cuts. That process for the Jags will begin Thursday night as they take the field one last time for the 2014 preseason against the Atlanta Falcons. That said, here’s an early look at who I think could potentially be a part of the Jags final 53 man roster.

QB (2)

Chad Henne, Blake Bortles.

This part of the roster is pretty mush self-explanatory as Henne will be the team’s starter during week one—and of course it’s a given the team will keep their first overall pick who had one of the best preseasons of any player in the league. The real question is: how long will Henne hold his title as a starter after week one?

RB (4)

Toby Gerhart, Denard Robinson, Storm Johnson, Will Ta’ufo’ou.

As I mentioned in my last article, the Jags signed Gerhart this year in free agency with the intent to make him the workhorse back of their offense. He’ll likely be backed up by a combination of Denard Robinson (likely the team’s #2 RB) and the Jags’ seventh round pick, Storm Johnson (who should be the #3 RB). Robinson really impressed this preseason, as he looks to me to be the most improved player on the roster. His ability to run to the outside will be very valuable for the team as it complements Gerhart’s uphill style of running perfectly. Johnson on the other hand appears to be a combination of both of his counterparts and will likely make the team seeing as depth will be needed at the RB position, especially considering how much the Jags will pound the rock throughout the season. Lastly, Will Ta’ufo’ou will resume his duties as the team’s starting fullback.

WR  (6)

Cecil Shorts, Marqise Lee, Mike Brown, Allen Robinson, Allen Hurns, Tandon Doss

Though Shorts missed a majority of the preseason, it’s very obvious that he is the leader of this young group. Marqise Lee filled in for Shorts as the teams #1 WR in the preseason and flashed a bit in the process. Both Lee and the other WR the Jags took in the 2nd round, Allen Robinson, are expected to be key contributors once the regular season rolls around, though we’ll have to wait to see both of them on field together due to Robinson’s hamstring injury. Two others who received a ton of play time this preseason were Mike Brown and Allen Hurns. Brown started off the preseason struggling with drops, but he later cleaned that issue up. Hurns has been spectacular as an UDFA addition to the team and was without a doubt the best WR on the Jags roster this preseason. He, without question, will make the final 53 and rightfully deserves to. Lastly, the Jags received a bit of good news as Tandon Doss returned to practicefrom an ankle injury he sustained in late July. I think the team may potentially keep him for the sole reason that their return game has been lacking. Not to mention that they’ll be minus Ace Sanders for the first 4 weeks of the regular season so there will be a void there. Once Sanders return, however, the Jags may just have something to think about here.

OL (9)

Luke Joeckel, Zane Beadles, Jacques McClendon, Brandon Linder, Austin Pasztor, Cam Bradfield, Luke Bowanko, Drew Nowak, Sam Young.

This group is probably the one that concerns me the most as the first team unit has yet to gel. One issue that the team may have overcome is the search for a starting center. As we all know, Mike Brewster struggled mightily in week one and two at the position this preseason. He was then pretty much demoted by week three as Jacques McClendon was named the starter against Detroit. McClendon has also found himself some competition in sixth round pick Luke Bowanko, who has silently fought his way up the Jags depth chart this preseason. Reportedly, Bowanko took some snaps with the first team in the Jags last practice session this week, and I believe when it’s all said and done he could likely be the team’s #1 center come week one. My only concern with that is it would put the Jags in a position where they’d be starting two rookie interior lineman. On top of that, the Jags will be minus one starter in RT Austin Pasztor, who will be replaced by 4th year veteran Cameron Bradfield while Luke Joeckel and Zane Beadles will man the left side. Behind them are issues, too, as the Jags appear to lack serviceable depth. For that reason, both Sam Young and Drew Nowak could maybe crack the back end of the roster being that they are veteran backups. Needless to say, this will be a unit that the Jags will definitely look to add some help to before week one of the regular season rolls around.

TE (3)

Marcedes Lewis, Clay Harbor, Brandon Barden.

After Lewis there is a huge drop-off in talent at this position. Harbor has been out since July with a calf injury and Barden hasn’t really flashed this preseason, but somebody has to make the team behind Lewis. I think it’s very likely the team will look to add some help here after final cuts.

DT (5)

Roy Miller, Sen’Derrick Marks, DeAndre Coleman, Ziggy Hood, Abry Jones.

Clear, cut, and dry, Marks has been an absolute terror this preseason and is arguably the team’s best player on defense. Roy Miller also has played well at his respective position, which is good since he struggled last year. Ziggy Hood, one of the team’s many additions on defense during free agency, proved to be a solid rotational player behind Marks on the Jags DL, while Abry Jones looks to make the team as the Jags second nose-tackle behind Miller. I also believe Deandre Coleman could potentially make the team as a sleeper seeing as he flashed early in the preseason process.

DE/ 5-Tech (2)

 Red Bryant, Tyson Alualu.

Bryant was one of many signings the Jags brought in to upgrade their defense and will be the starter as the team’s #1 five-technique. Behind him is a former 1st round pick in Tyson Alualu, who was the starter at the position prior to Bryant’s arrival. Alualu flashed in the preseason and I think it’s largely due to him and Bryant being able to take the pressure off of each other. Now that he isn’t the primary five-technique, I think we’ll see a healthier Alualu throughout the season, which ultimately equals a more effective Alualu.

DE/ LEO (4)

Chris Clemons, Andre Branch, Ryan Davis, Chris Smith.

Without a question Chris Clemons was the Jags biggest addition in free agency as he was brought in to be the team’s #1 LEO and lead this young group.  Though Andre Branch hasn’t had a particularly flashy preseason (interception aside), I expect him to make the team as the #2 LEO due to experience. Ryan Davis and Chris Smith on the other hand have been impressive this offseason and I believe they are very good complimentary pieces to both Branch and Clemons. I think we could be in store for a lot of potential QB pressures with this unit.

LB (6)

Telvin Smith, Paul Posluzny, Geno Hayes, Nate Stupar, LaRoy Reynolds, Dekoda Watson.

Of course Posluzny is the heart and leader of this defense, so it goes without saying he’ll make the team while Geno Hayes and LaRoy Reynold look to start the season to the left and right of him. Dekoda Watson, another free agent addition from this year was expected to be the team’s starting OTTO over Reynolds, however, he began training camp on the PUP list. Watson is now back and will battle Reynolds over the coming weeks to crack the starting line-up. Former FSU linebacker Telvin Smith, appears to be a steal of this year’s draft and will be used an extra linebacker in nickel situations due to his speed and coverage ability. I believe one day that he could potentially be a star in this league and will eventually crack the team’s starting line-up in the future. Lastly, Nate Stupar will add depth to the LB position and possibly make the team as a core special teams player. It’s possible the Jags could add another body or two to this unit before the regular season starts.

CB (6)

Alan Ball, Dwayne Gratz, Will Blackmon, Demetrius McCray, Jeremy Harris, Rashaad Reynolds.

According to PFF, Alan Ball was the team’s best corner last yearand I’d agree with that. This year, however, at least in the preseason, I believe Dwayne Gratz has been the team’s best corner so far. That said, both will head into the season as the teams #1 and #2 corners, and they are one of the most underrated tandems in my book. Will Blackmon proved to be a valued asset to the team as he was able to fill in admirably in the absence of Gratz. His performance made him a top priority for the Jags to resign this offseason and it’s safe to pencil him in as the teams #3 corner. Demetrius McCray, one of the five DBs that Dave Caldwell drafted in 2013, looks like a player who has made great strides as he was called upon briefly to fill in for Ball early in the training camp process. I believe his brief moment in the spotlight proved his potential and I can’t see the Jags cutting ties with a player that is developing as well as he has. I believe the team will also keep Harris and Reynolds on the back end of this unit to see how they progress in time. They will likely be given the chance to make their names through special teams.

S (3)

Winston Guy, Johnathan Cyprien, Josh Evans.

Cyprien is of course one of the team’s building blocks for the future, while Winston Guy appears to have won over the free safety position partly due to the early absence of Josh Evans. Now that Evans has returned, however, it appears he’s on Guy’s heels and over the course of the season could win the starting free safety position back. Aside from them, I believe the Jags should look to add some help at this position through the crop of players that don’t make final cuts this upcoming week.

Specialist (3)

Josh Scobee, Bryan Anger, Carson Tinker.

Nothing really that needs to be said here as Scobee is one of the best in the league, while Anger is an ascending star at his respective position. 

Jaguars reduce roster to 75 players; place Aaron Colvin on reserve/non-football injury list

Aug 26, 2014 -- 11:31am

The Jacksonville Jaguars moved rookie defensive back Aaron Colvin from the active/non-football injury list to the reserve/non-football injury list.  The Jaguars now have the league-mandated 75 players on their active roster.

 

Colvin was drafted by the Jaguars in the fourth round of the 2014 NFL Draft, the 114th selection overall.  Colvin suffered an ACL injury while playing at the Senior Bowl in January of 2014.  He was a four-year letterman at Oklahoma, playing in 50 games with 36 starts.  He finished his career with 234 tackles (170 solo), 15 tackles for loss, 3.5 sacks, five interceptions and 23 passes defensed.

 

“We are really pleased with Aaron’s progress throughout the offseason and preseason,” Jaguars General Manager David Caldwell said.  “He has been dedicated to his rehab from day one and worked extremely hard with our training and strength staff every day.  He played at a high level at Oklahoma and we feel strongly about what he will bring to our roster in the future.  He will continue his rehab and we will make a decision on his playing status for 2014 at the appropriate time.” 

 

NFL rules stipulate that starting on the day after the conclusion of the 6th regular season weekend (October 14) and continuing through the day after the conclusion of the 11th regular season weekend (November 18), clubs are permitted to begin practicing players on Reserve/Physically Unable to Perform (or Reserve/Non-Football Injury) for a period not to exceed 21 calendar days.  Pads and helmets are permitted during the 21-day period.  At any time during the 21-day practice period, or prior to 4 p.m., New York time, on the day after the conclusion of the 21-day period, clubs are permitted to restore such players on Reserve/Physically Unable to Perform to their Active/Inactive List.

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