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Monster Mailbag Sunday: Jacksonville Jaguars

8/31/2008

Posted by ESPN.com's Paul Kuharsky

Installment three of Monster Mailbag Sunday focuses on your Jacksonville Jaguars.

Jeff from parts unknown writes: Paul, I read your comment about not hearing from us Jags fans, I think that most Jags fans on trying to be talked off the edge after the terrible performance that they had against MIA, plus this tropical storm "Fay" has also been the center of attention. My question is based upon gregg williams history of being a blitz heavy coach how much could this help compensate for the lack of pass rush. My opinion is even if harvey would have signed 2 weeks ago his lack of experience would of held him from being very effective in year one (see mario williams) but I think that if gregg can come up with ways to create a pass rush at the beginning of the year that hopefully by the second half of the season we can possible get some type of production from one of our first two round draft picks

Paul Kuharsky: Williams will definitely blitz creatively. The Drayton Florence move was made to shore up the secondary and give them more confidence about using linebackers to rush or sending guys from the secondary. We're going to see that. I think your sense of things and timetable are both right on.


Aaron in Orlando writes: How high do you think Fred Taylor can climb up the all-time rushing list? Do you think he can get high enough to be a first ballot hall of famer? And since Jimmy Smith seems to get discredited for putting up his numbers during the "pass happy" era, shouldn't Fred and other running backs get credit for putting up their rushing numbers in the same era

Paul Kuharsky: Heck, let's give Taylor just 2,000 more yards -- not a stretch at all considering he's gone for over 1,000 four of the last five seasons and doesn't appear to be slowing, though it can happen fast north of 30. That would boost him to eighth all time, ahead of Jim Brown, presuming LaDainian Tomlinson passes Taylor on the way. I think Taylor will stay ahead of Edgerrin James for sure. First ballot Hall of Famer? Maybe not, unless he gets a Super Bowl ring. If he is a top-10 yardage guy with his excellent average, he'd have to get a vote from me if I had one.


Brian in Jacksonville writes: Please forgive the Jag fans needing validation. They haven't gotten to point where a team's success is not forged by the sportswriters but rather by winning on the field. Now that I'm off my soap box, the preseason thus far has led me to concern regarding the Jags run defense. If our ends can't contain the sweep and our linebackers can't come up and make the play where do we go in the South? The titans (lower case on purpose) look to have a pretty good running game and even the Texans may be able to have balance against us. Am I missing something? I know it is only preseason but I see cracks in what is normally the strongest link. The Jags can't get into shootouts.

Paul Kuharsky: Valid concerns I think, but I think the linebackers will show up more often than not. Bigger concern is the offensive line, especially Khalif Barnes. What do you imagine Kyle Vanden Bosch is thinking while watching tape of him right now?


Jim from Jacksonville writes: You know what I think (and I think I might get mixed feelings when I say this), I think that just in case Jerry Porter doesn't become "that" explosive receiver (not saying that he won't) Jacksonville need to see whether they can snatch up Usain Bolt from the olympics (which may not be possible, but it's worth a try) and get him develop as "that" guy, because you know he's got the speed, it's just a matter of whether or not he can catch, run his routes and take a hit.

Paul Kuharsky: Devil's Advocate: Catching, route running and taking a hit have done a lot to send very fast receivers who played football their whole lives way off track. Those aren't minor considerations. That said, I read Gil Brandt's assessment of Bolt at NFL.com and expect some team will try to at least get him to workout. It could be lucrative and give him another big platform to show off. Can you imagine his TD celebrations?


Paul Holmes in Wellington, NZ writes: Hi Paul, love your column. Unfortunately you are going up against the Vic Ketchman (jaguars.com)juggernaut in the AFC South fan Q&A domain. Got a question for you though - what do you think of Quentin Groves' performance so far? Is he simply struggling because he's a rookie or are there some fundamental concerns you have based on what you have seen to date?

Paul Kuharsky: It's more and more difficult for a rookie pass rusher to make an impact, I believe. And when I spoke to Groves early in camp, he said they weren't keeping anything simple for him, that he had to know everything.

Here's a blog entry from back then on the difficulties for young pass rushers.


Jason in Jacksonville writes: Two questions: 1) Does Matt Jones make it through the season with the Jags, or will we finally gain his roster spot as soon as the other receivers recover? 2)Why does it seem like Goodell has backed off of his hard line stance against player misconduct that most of the people that I talked to appreciated. Pacman and Henry should not have been reinstated in my opinion

Paul Kuharsky: Matt Jones may have turned a corner. I know that's a dangerous thing to say, but he sure looked good to me in the Washington game. I wouldn't put him out on the market any time soon.

Chris Henry still has a suspension to serve and Pacman Jones' had to end sometime if he stayed out of more trouble. I think Goodell remains as big on the player conduct issue as he's always been.


Brian in Jacksonville (same one I think) writes: I do respect the titans but I simply don't see how you pick them over the Jags. VY is a minus. Their WRs are worse than Jacksonville's. Their running attack, though with potential, is still unproven. The titans have a tough front 7 but but they simply can't expect to compete with their pedestrian offense. What specifically do you like that has them better than Jax

Paul Kuharsky: How is the Titans running game still unproven? It was fifth in the league last year, three whole spots behind the Jags. And now Tennessee has a far better second back in Chris Johnson and two stronger guards. Meanwhile, Barnes looks lost. Not to pick on Barnes.

Tennessee has shown it can win with
a bad passing game. And I expect, in time, Mike Heimerdinger's offense will click in and we'll see some passing-game progress. The pedestrian offense of a year ago was good enough for a split with the Jaguars last season.

I think the two teams are very close and that the Jags may well win on opening day in Nashville. But I gave the edge based on the status of the offensive lines right now.


Jeff from parts unknown writes: No complaints here regarding the fans poll. Personally I think its discouraging that the Jags did not take the corporate ticket bailout. I have seen MIA stadium mulitple times and rarely have they ever had a packed house, even when they was pretty decent they was never full yet there are always "Sold Out" due to corporate and ticket companies buying there unsold tickets. Why the Jags dont due the same is crazy, anyway thanks for the Fred Taylor receipe....I Love Shrimp Creole. Finally any thoughts on Harvey's first appearance in a Jags uniform, he seem to look really quick out there even though it also looked like he didnt have the slightest idea what was going on. Also are you going to put our your predictions for the AFC South now that the preseason is over. Thanks and keep up the good work

Paul Kuharsky: He's referring to these fan rankings. And to these recipes. Let me know how that dish is.

Predictions have been made. Here's a page that shows you what we all think will happen. And from here you can find team previews with specifics on our predictions for each.