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News » '08 Jaguars: What happened?


'08 Jaguars: What happened?


'08 Jaguars: What happened?
JACKSONVILLE -- Every part of it is baffling to the Jacksonville Jaguars .


They look around their locker room and see good pieces, players who should be able to turn the team into the Super Bowl contenders everyone thought they'd be before the 2008 season began.

"We have good players, and we can't win those games? It's not being turned into success on the field Sundays," running back Fred Taylor said. "Something has to be wrong. The team is bad. Team. Not the organization. Team."

The Jaguars are now 4-7, having lost five of their last seven games. With the focus now shifting to next year, frustrations are emerging from all facets of the game. And the comedy of errors that was last week's 30-12 loss to Minnesota was just the punctuation on a season gone wrong.

If you believe in omens, you weren't optimistic about a season that began like this one. The offseason brought a felony drug arrest and reports that the team was for sale on the same day, surgeries for key players, and the tragic shooting of backup left tackle Richard Collier, leaving him paralyzed from the waist down.

Still, when the Jaguars traveled to Tennessee to open the season, Super Bowl hopes were alive.

So what happened?

Offensive line

It's almost incredible how many things went wrong with this unit from the beginning of the season. During training camp the team lost Brad Meester for the first half of the season with injured biceps, then at camp's conclusion backup left tackle Richard Collier was shot, thus ending his Football career. The Jags lost both starting guards for the entire season in their first game. They've allowed 30 sacks, fourth-highest in the league.

Running back

After two years as the league's second-best rushing duo, Fred Taylor and Maurice Jones-Drew (below) aren't anymore. Production has severely deteriorated. They've both asked for more carries, and Taylor, who had back-to-back thousand-yard seasons before this year and only has 436 so far, sees his diminishing playing time as a sign that his time with the Jags might be ending. Against Minnesota last week Jacksonville only rushed for 35 yards.

Quarterback

The main criticism of David Garrard's play this season has been that he hangs onto the ball way too long. With the protection that he's getting, Garrard doesn't have a lot of time to make decisions. He's 10th in the NFL, tied with Brett Favre, for passing yards per game (223.7) but one of only three starting quarterbacks without a single completion longer than 40 yards.

Receiver

Another position of turmoil for Jacksonville in the preseason beginning with Jerry Porter's injury during organized team activities and Reggie Williams' two knee injuries during training camp. The Jaguars gave Porter a six-year, $30 million contract in hopes that he'd energize their passing game, but so far Porter's production is lower than four receivers, a fullback and a running back. He's caught eight passes for 115 yards. Matt Jones has been the Jaguars' most productive receiver but could have to serve all or part of a three-game suspension soon for violating the NFL's substance-abuse policy. He is appealing on Dec. 4.

Linebackers

Thought to be one of the best units on the field, the linebackers started the season with 10-year veteran Mike Peterson starting in the middle, where he's been for the last six years. Peterson, after a shouting match with Coach Jack Del Rio, lost his starting spot in favor of Daryl Smith in Detroit. Smith in the middle and Justin Durant and Clint Ingram on the outside is likely how the Jags will start next season. Peterson still leads the team with 57 tackles, but Smith is catching him with 53.

Special teams

Despite an uncharacteristically disastrous game against Minnesota, this is normally a strong point for the Jaguars. Kicker Josh Scobee might be the unit's most consistent player -- at least he was going into Sunday's game when he missed two medium-range field goals wide left. When he hangs onto the ball, returner Brian Witherspoon is a speedy weapon. Defensive backs

The Jaguars picked up cornerback Drayton Florence in free agency, but he's lost his starting spot. Despite a penchant for interceptions, this unit has struggled. Against the Tennessee Titans , the Jags defensive backfield took full responsibility for allowing Titans receiver Justin Gage to have a big game. Jacksonville has allowed 18 passing touchdowns -- better than just three other teams.

Defensive line

The Jags defense doesn't look like it has in previous years and the one major change there is the loss of defensive coordinator Mike Smith whom Gregg Williams replaced. Jacksonville thought it addressed its clearest need in this year's draft, picking up two pass rushers in Derrick Harvey and Quentin Groves. The Jags defensive line has improved as the season's gone on. The run defense is getting better and the pass-rush is inching along, but trouble getting to the quarterback was a big problem early.



Author:Fox Sports
Author's Website:http://www.foxsports.com
Added: November 29, 2008

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David Stewart Name: David Stewart
#76
Position: OL
Age: 25
Experience: 4 years
College: Mississippi State
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