Mailbag: Concerned Jags fans edition
September, 1, 2009
By Paul Kuharsky | ESPN.com
Posted by ESPN.com's Paul Kuharsky
Jeff from Jacksonville, Fla., writes: Paul, should us jag fans make anything of the jags pre-season record of 0-3. Unlike other teams in the past (colts), the jags are not a team that can turn it on for the regular season. I have already lowered my expectations for the Jags to just looking for progress from game to game but do you think that this 0-3 record is a hint of things to come or have you seen or heard of anything in the preseason to make you believe that the jags could have a 500 or better record.
Paul Kuharsky: Good teams playing poorly in the preseason doesn't really concern me very much. With bad teams (or retooling teams, if we want to spin it optimistically) it's different.
I wouldn't be concerned with the 0-3 record. But I would be concerned with the lack of a pass rush, with the inability to protect David Garrard, etc. Without significant progress soon, that first month could be really tough. I see them in the six- or seven-win range.
Dean Winkelmann from Hudson, N.H., writes: Is Maurice Jones-Drew really going to see around 300 touches this year? I have seen no evidence thus far that there has been an improvement to the O-line, what do you expect from the running game?
Paul Kuharsky: Well if he had 262 touches last year while often yielding to Fred Taylor, I certainly think MJD is getting at least 300 touches this season so long as he's not missing games hurt. He will catch a lot of balls intended to get him into space and limit his confrontations with defensive tackle types.
The O-line play has to be a concern. But I think it will get better as they go. I think it has to. And I think they'll have to get Eugene Monroe and Eben Britton in there sooner rather than later if it's not going well with veterans.
David in Jacksonville, Fla., writes: After three preseason games I find myself very concerned with the play of our offensive line. If this trend continues the running game will never get going and Garrard will probably not make it through the season. Is the line struggles due to evaluating different players and line combinations or is this going to be a weakness again this year? I can't up but feel that we should be better with who we drafted, signed in free agency, and players returning from injury last year. I think we have too many question marks at other positions. The offensive line has to be a strong point if the Jags are going to have any type of success this year. What are your thoughts on the Jags O line Paul? Thanks as always.
Paul Kuharsky: I expected better than this by now. I think they have good linemen and a good position coach in Andy Heck. Maybe the process is just taking longer than we’d all like. It will be interesting to see who they decide to go with as starters. Maybe once those decisions are official the group will start to fare better. If they cannot run block and pass protect well, things could get really ugly.