AFC South: Greg Estandia
Posted by ESPN.com's Paul Kuharsky
Surrounding David Garrard with better weapons was one of the Jaguars’ offseason priorities.
So far it hasn’t really panned out.
Elias Sports Bureau says the Jaguars lead the league in on-target drops through two games.
Jacksonville has 11, Tampa Bay 9, Denver 8 and Green Bay 7.
Here’s the breakdown:
Nate Hughes: 3
Torry Holt: 2
Greg Jones: 1
Garrard actually had nine passes that qualified as “explosive” against Arizona, a good sign for offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter. Here’s what Koetter said on the topic earlier this week about explosive plays in an interview with Jacksonville media:
On how David Garrard is playing:
“You know actually I thought David played much better in game two than he did in game one. One of the things that’s a big measurable in winning football is your explosive gains on offense, and next to turnovers it’s the number two most-important factor. Dave had nine explosive passes -- meaning gains of 16 yards or more -- he had nine completions over 16 yards against Arizona last week. Part of that is the style of game it was, as I mentioned, because we were in a throwing mode in the second half. But I would be willing bet that if you looked up the history of Dave as a starter, there hasn’t many games when he’s had more than nine completions over 16 yards.”
On how 16 yards was determined as explosive:
“I didn’t. NFL decides that, it’s a formula that most NFL teams use. Explosive run -- 12 yards or more. Explosive pass -- 16 yards or more. A lot of teams in the NFL subscribe to that theory. Normally if you can get between seven and eight explosive gains in a game, you’ve got a high percentage chance of winning that game. Or if you if you can get over four explosive runs in a game, you have a high percentage chance of winning that game.”
On how many explosive plays he looks for in a game:
“We’re looking for eight. We had 11 last week overall -- nine passes, two runs. Compare that to the Indy game, we had three. Again, somewhere around seven or eight is the magic number. That was one of our offensive goals; that was in the plus column in the Cardinals game, one of the few that was in the plus column.”
On the magic number of seven or eight explosive plays and why it’s magical:
“There’s a mathematical formula. Several teams subscribe to this that if you go through -- and I know you guys have all looked at this -- there’s a chart that says if you start inside your own 10, inside your own 20, inside your own 30, inside your own 40 … Alright there’s also a chart that says within a drive, based on how many explosives [plays] you have in that drive, how much your percentage of scoring goes way up. If you have two explosives in a drive, your percentage is like almost – I don’t have it memorized but I got the numbers it’s over 50 percent. If you have no explosives your percentage is low. Maybe in our next [interview] I can bring my chart and give you the exact [figures] but trust me next to turnovers it’s the most important thing on an offense.”
Posted by ESPN.com's Paul Kuharsky
The Jaguars have been about youth, youth, youth, but Monday’s reported release of Nate Hughes is about something else they smartly want to emphasize: consequences and accountability.
Hughes started with the Browns as an undrafted rookie in 2008 and finished the season on the Jaguars' roster. During training camp he proved himself more game ready than any of the team’s three draft picks.
But a touchdown pass that bounced off his facemask was apparently part of what led the Jaguars to decide they can fare better elsewhere, even on the day it also became known they’ve lost Troy Williamson for the season with a shoulder injury. (Michael C. Wright's story on the developments is here.)
What’s next? Well, it’s time to turn to more of the draft class. Mike Thomas and Jarett Dillard haven’t dressed for the first two games and Tiquan Underwood is likely to be promoted from the practice squad to fill Williamson's spot once he's officially placed on injured reserve.
The 22nd-ranked passing offense has been horrible and David Garrard is averaging a 5.69-yard gain per pass, better than only St. Louis’ Marc Bulger, Cleveland’s Brady Quinn and Detroit’s Matthew Stafford.
Torry Holt can’t magically cure things, surely has unfavorable matchups and is running routes for a quarterback who’s been shaky. But the Jaguars brought the veteran in to settle the group and lead, and now he’s got an ever bigger opportunity to do both.
Here's what the team announced in terms of roster moves:
- Signed rookie cornerback William Middleton off Atlanta’s practice squad.
- Signed rookie free-agent safety Courtney Greene.
- Released veteran tight end Greg Estandia.
- Released Hughes.
- Waived safety Michael Desormeaux from the practice squad.
- Signed first-year linebacker Justin Roland to the practice squad.
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- It was billed as a scrimmage. A somewhat clumsy scoring system was in place, but it wasn't well translated by the scorekeeper who was controlling the JumbroTron.
It's hard to declare a winner in a glorified practice anyway, which is what unfolded at Jacksonville Municipal Stadium in front of 14,112 fans who took advantage of a free night.
Some highlights, lowlights and developments from the AFC South Blog's final training camp night with the Jags:
- Line judge Tom Symonette talked with offensive tackle Jordan Black after one series about how he was coming close to drawing a holding call near the end of an early period, saying he could tell Black was doing it more as he got tired.
- At the end of a 2:00 drill period, on third-and-goal from the 1-yard line, David Garrard pitched to Maurice Jones-Drew who probably would have been taken down by a defender if things were live. MJD threw a wobbler to the right side of the end zone, and Mike Walker made a great play to go up and take it away from Reggie Nelson.
- Rookie receiver Jarett Dillard went up to pull in a 25-tard gain to convert a third-and-11 from Garrard. It's the sort of catch Dillard's failed to make on a consistent basis in the last several days.
- Defensive back Brian Williams put a shoulder down and crushed Todd Peterson after a mid-range reception. It was called incomplete, but the replay on the stadium scoreboard suggested he'd gathered the ball and taken a step. I asked Symonette about it and he said we'd "have to take it to replay." It was the sort of hit a lot of coaches wouldn't have been happy with in this setting, but that the Jaguars seem not to mind while working to instill their physical mentality.
- Garrard looked for Troy Williamson in the back middle of the end zone from maybe 20 yards out and was picked by rookie corner Derek Cox. Garrard said he'd like to have the throw back, but it was a situation where if the team had game planned it probably would have looked to a different route.
- Kicker Josh Scobee was impressive again, nailing all five field goal attempts from 35 to 52 yards all with quite a bit of room to spare. I was wondering if he's at a point where he should start dialing it down a little, a 27-year old maybe saving a little to help his chances as a 37-year old. Or is it good that he makes plenty of long kicks with eight or 10 yards to spare? There was a practice pause right after the field goal period, and since Jack Del Rio walked by right as I was thinking it, I asked him. He kind of shook his head and laughed, but then told me about how things have really clicked in mentally for Scobee.
- Walker was hurt somewhere along the way, but Del Rio said afterward that a lower leg X-ray was negative and the team was optimistic it wouldn't be a big cause for concern.
- Backup quarterback Todd Bouman threw a nice TD to tight end Greg Estandia over Gerald Alexander in the back left corner of the end zone. Not long later, Bauman was picked off by Scott Starks, who wrestled a pass away from Tiquan Underwood.
- Tyron Brackenridge pulled in a pick of third string quarterback Paul Smith, who's not looked good while I've been here. The throw was a bit behind Clarence Denmark and defensive back Kennard Cox jostled him as it was arriving. It would have gone for a pick-six if officials didn't whistle a stop to the return.
- In the final period, the offense got the ball at its own 35-yard line with 58 seconds on the clock. They got across the 50 in two plays, but the drive died as Garrard threw a terrible ball that Kennard Cox picked easily in front of Williamson. Wasn't much of a finish to the night.
- Two-minute drill receiving totals provided by the team: Underwood 2-26, 1 TD, Dillard 1-25, Alvin Pearman 1-1, Estandia 1-11, Rashard Jennings 1-15, Zach Miller 2-28.
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Every blog entry with OTA practice observations comes with a disclaimer: These practices are about installations and themes. There are no pads and no real contact. These settings favor receivers and don't feature a lot of information about line play. Guys can look like superstars here and be terrible come camp or vice versa.
That said, here's what I saw, thought and heard during the Jaguars session Monday:
Somersaulting: Near the start of practice, defensive players stuttered stepped over five blocking bags on the ground, then rolled into a somersault and looked to grab a loose ball rolled by a coach. "Find the ball, scoop and score," linebacker coach Mark Duffner urged them. Safety Sean Considine's helmet popped off when he hit the ground.
First impression: In one-on-one work in the red zone, my first look at rookie corner Derek Cox was as he intercepted a pass to the back left corner intended for Maurice Dupree. Later, Todd Peterson broke away from Cox along the back line of the end zone under the goal post for an easy TD, Mike Walker dropped a catchable ball against Tyron Brackenridge and Brian Williams break up a pass for Dennis Northcutt. Cox looked pretty smooth.
During that red zone one-on-one period, defensive coordinator Mel Tucker stood under the goal posts and offered a lot of instruction. After a play he'd often talk with the defensive back involved about what unfolded and how it could have or should have been different in very specific terms. A bit later in a defensive walkthrough, Jack Del Rio's was the voice everyone was listening to.
Out of action: John Henderson fell out very early and didn't come back. He was under the shed at one end of the practice field in the shade. Everyone was presuming he fell out because of the heat - recent OTA sessions have been on cool rainy days. But it's sunny and in the high 80s or low 90s Monday. Not a good sign, but we don't have all the info in it yet.
Lineup stuff on defense: Williams was at right corner with the ones, with Considine paired at safety with Reggie Nelson. In nickel, Cox came in and took Williams' spot, while Williams kicked inside. The consensus among observers is that the competition is between Considine and Cox. If coaches feel the D is better off with Considine as a starting safety, then Williams winds up playing corner. If Cox is better, he plays corner and Williams goes to safety.
Justin Durant is playing middle linebacker, but Daryl Smith and Clint Ingram on either side of him. Didn't get a good read on the line, as people were shuffling, Henderson was out, and the O-line was sometime only using three people in team drills with the ends basically kneeling down at the snap. Line play in team periods in these situations often doesn't mean a whole lot.
Lineup stuff on offense: The starting line was, left to right, Tra Thomas, Uche Nwaneri, Brad Meester, Maurice Williams, Tony Pashos and the first two wideouts were Torry Holt and Mike Walker. (Walker gave Holt 81 without any resistance, happily returning to his college number 11 once it wasn't any longer being used by Reggie Williams.)
Wildcat work: Put the Jaguars on the list of teams experimenting with the Wildcat. In the first full team period, the offense broke the huddle and red-shirted David Garrard went wide right as a receiver, with Maurice-Jones Drew behind center in the shotgun, First play: handoff to Northcutt coming on an end around. Second play fake handoff to Troy Williamson and a run up the middle by Jones-Drew. (On defense before the snap, someone yelled, "You know 32 ain't throwing the ball." After the play, Del Rio said. "He got through the hole a little quicker than out quarterback power [run] does.") Third play: the snap went awry. Fourth play, handoff to Montell Owens.
With the second unit, tight end Zach Miller and Owens took snaps.
Update: 5:56 p.m.: I've since spent some time with offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter, who indicated it would be wise to read that period as more about getting the defense ready to defend it than the offense ready to run it. That doesn't mean they won't roll it out, but he urged me to keep in mind I just happened to be here on the day it came around for them.]
Shiny: The new sparkly teal quality to the helmets isn't as bad as I expected. In the sunlight, there is a special kind of shine that bounces off each one. As I sat down to talk with David Garrard, he pulled his out of the locker and we inspected it together. He's a big fan of that sunlight effect and the overall streamlined uniform look. He looked to be in command though the session, but in a 2:00 drill, he missed Tiquan Underwood deep left and Williamson deep right on consecutive passes as the offense failed to score. (More about Garrard specifically in a column to come later Monday.)
Fielding kicks: In kickoff return work, I saw Cox, Underwood, Williamson and Mike Thomas field balls. I am sure Brian Witherspoon was back there as well - I must have managed to miss him.
Different perspective: During a red zone team period, Torry Holt stood off to the side, away from the rest of the team. Later he told me it's just a matter of him getting away from the clutter and being able to better focus on a mental rep. He offered some commentary after a few plays. "You've got to catch that, you aren't going to get more open," he said to tight end Greg Estandia after he broke free from Considine running across the back of the end zone to the right corner. Estandia let Garrard's pass slide off his hands. Later Holt told Thomas, "You're letting them dictate to you."
Plays: Ingram had a pick of fourth-quarterback Paul Smith, as did Considine. Northcutt had a bobbling catch on the left sideline against Thomas Williams, who should have picked it. Russell Allen dropped an interception of a pass intended for Estandia.
Burst: Hard to gauge running backs in this setting, but Rashad Jennings showed a nice burst knifing through the middle on one play. He's a guy that's going to get a lot of attention. Regular observers love what they've seen of the seventh-rounder out of Liberty and said you can't find a nicer or more well-spoken rookie.
Posted by ESPN.com's Paul Kuharsky
In conjunction with the story about what kind of football player LeBron James would be, I asked you who you thought belonged on an AFC South basketball team.
(Thanks to Charles in Jacksonville who pointed me to this at jaguars.com. Ryan Robinson recently asked some players to put together their team of teammates.)
Some of you really got into it, so here's a sampling of the best responses before I give you my starting five. Special props to the first two here, for the way they framed each selection in the context of an NBAer:
Dan in Neptune Beach, FL: PG - Maurice Jones-Drew (Nate Robinson) SG - Courtland Finnegan (Shane Battier) SF - Andre Johnson (LeBron James) PF - Keith Bulluck (Ron Artest) C - Marcedes Lewis (Tim Duncan) Smallish lineup, but defensive oriented.
Darren in TN: Like the "Pick an AFC South b-ball team" idea, so I'll give you mine. PG- Chris Johnson (Titans) ~ Probably would be the fastest player in basketball, would be compared to Chris Paul, he could drive into the lane and score easy layups blowing by defenders, and he could probably drain jumpers too. SG- Reggie Wayne (Colts) ~ A pretty big guy but not too big (i.e. Kobe Bryant) that could push into the defense and get dunks and layups as well as shoot jumpers when needed. SmF- Bob Sanders (Colts) ~ I could see this guy being a LeBron James type that would give it his all to score points, plus he'd be a threat on defense like LeBron. PwF- Andre Johnson (Texans) ~ A big guy who reminds me of Kevin Garnett, big guy who can shoot jumpers, make dunks, and play great defense. C- John Henderson (Jaguars) ~ I would have picked Albert Haynesworth but he's no longer in the AFC South. Henderson is a big big guy like Shaq but not as tall. He would knock guys down getting into the paint and slamming down dunks and blocking shots.
Also considered: Maurice Jones-Drew, Steve Slaton, Vince Young, Michael Griffin.