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Thursday, June 2, 2011
Jaguars should use Zach Miller more

By Paul Kuharsky
ESPN.com

In two seasons, an often dinged-up Zach Miller has played in 29 games, managing less than 1.5 catches per contest.

Jaguars general manager Gene Smith recently raved to John Oehser from the team's web site about the versatile tight end.

Something about the two is incongruous.

Sure, Marcedes Lewis emerging as a top, two-way tight end last season created a bit of an obstacle. But the Jaguars are hardly loaded with playmakers. If Miller’s overflowing with so much potential, offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter surely could have found more ways to allow us to see it.

From Oehser's piece:
Smith said Miller has the potential to continue to develop, and in a more pass-oriented offense could put up numbers on the scale of some of the NFL's better receiving tight ends. In the Jaguars' scheme, Smith said he adds an underrated element to an already productive, potent offense.

“He's an off-the-line guy more than an on-the-line guy at this point, but he has an outstanding skill set for a No. 2 tight end,” Smith said. “He has special qualities. It goes back to availability is the most important ability. He has to stay healthy.”

“…You have a Pro Bowl tight end, and behind him you have one of the best run-and-catch No. 2 tight ends in the whole NFL. We've got some guys in the running back group and the tight end group who can [complement] the wide receivers.

“If Zach Miller was with another team, he'd be doing what Dallas Clark does with the Colts. He just doesn't get many opportunities to get on the field. He's 6-4, 248 and runs a 4.5-(second) 40-yard dash. He's a tremendous athlete in terms of ball skills, and that combination really helps our receiving group.”

Why doesn’t Miller get many opportunities to get on the field? If you’re not great at wide receiver -- and the Jaguars haven’t been -- it’s not hard to get two tight ends on the field.

And about that already productive, potent offense? While the Jaguars were third in rushing last season, they were 27th in passing and 15th overall. Three of the NFL's 181 100-yard receiving games (1.7 percent) were by Jaguars. They've told Mike Sims-Walker, who accounted for two of those, that he won't be re-signed. They ranked 18th in points per game.

I like Miller. I was impressed watching him in training camp and speaking with him last summer. I saw him quarterback some Wildcat at one practice. I hope he's healthy and gets his number called more going forward.

Because if I had a guy I thought could be doing what Clark does for the Colts on my team, I’d want more than a catch and a half a game out of him.