24. Jacksonville Jaguars
Coach: Jack Del Rio (sixth season)
Last year: 5-11 (a huge drop off from 11-5 and divisional round playoff appearance in 2007).
NFL rankings: Offense – 20th in yards, 24th in scoring; Defense – 17th in yards, 21st in scoring.
Additions: WR Torry Holt, S Sean Considine, OT Tra Thomas, QB Todd Bouman, defensive coordinator Mel Tucker and rookie OTs Eugene Monroe and Eben Britton.
Substractions: CB Drayton Florence, RB Fred Taylor, S Gerald Sensabaugh, LB Mike Peterson, S Pierson Prioleau, DE Paul Spicer, OT Khalif Barnes, G Chris Naeole and WRs Dennis Northcutt, Reggie Williams, Matt Jones and Jerry Porter.
Fantasy pick: RB Maurice Jones-Drew. With Taylor’s departure, the running game goes through Jones-Drew, who averaged 4.2 yards per carry last year.
Outlook: This could be it for Del Rio in Jacksonville. In a sign of his feeling the heat, Del Rio blew up the defensive staff (Gregg Wililams lasted one year) and cut ties with several starters, including Fred Taylor and the disappointing receiver trio of Williams, Jones and Porter. The offensive line will have rookie tackles (Monroe and Britton) so David Garrard better be ready to scramble. On defense, Del Rio will have a hand in the game planning – he claimed Williams’ scheme was too complicated last year. It didn’t seem to be too complex for the Redskins from 2004-07.
Offense: QB David Garrard, FB Greg Jones, RB Maurice Jones-Drew, WR Torry Holt, WR Mike Walker, TE Marcedes Lewis, LT Eugene Monroe, LG Vince Manuwai, C Brad Meester, RG Maurice Williams, RT Eben Britton.
Defense: DE Reggie Hayward, DT John Henderson, DT Terrence Knighton, DE Derrick Harvey, SLB Clint Ingram, MLB Daryl Smith, WLB Justin Durant, CB Rashean Mathis, SS Sean Considine, FS Reggie Nelson, CB Brian Williams.
Projected record: 6-10 (third in AFC South). It’s a coin flip between the Jaguars and Houston for the third and fourth spots in this division. Indianapolis and Tennessee are the teams to beat. Two years ago, Del Rio won his power struggle with front office chief James Harris was demoted. But owner Wayne Weaver has installed Gene Smith as the new general manager and if things don’t go well, he’ll want his own guy as head coach. The first five games – at Indy, Arizona, at Houston, Tennessee, at Seattle – are critical.
- Ryan O’Halloran
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