AFC South: Tony McDaniel
|Steve Mitchell/US Presswire|
|Dennis Northcutt appears to be the latest veteran on the way out in Jacksonville.|
This suggests that after getting some time with Torry Holt and assessing Mike Walker and the three receivers the team drafted, the Jaguars are perfectly comfortable moving forward without players who accounted for 44 percent of their receptions last year.
Northcutt was the team's best receiver at the end of last season. With Matt Jones (since cut) suspended, Northcutt caught five balls for 127 yards and a touchdown in a win over Green Bay on Dec. 14 and eight catches for 101 yards and a touchdown in a Dec. 18 loss to Indianapolis.
But a team that's already let Jones go and showed no interest in retaining free agent Reggie Williams is looking to continue housecleaning.
Under first-year GM Gene Smith, they've cut running back Fred Taylor, Jones, defensive end Paul Spicer, cornerback Drayton Florence, receiver Jerry Porter, tight end George Wrighster and backup quarterback Cleo Lemon. The team didn't attempt to re-sign free agents Williams, safety Gerald Sensabaugh and tackle Khalif Barnes. They also traded defensive tackle Tony McDaniel.
Moving Northcutt would be yet another step in the housecleaning.
They're clearly ready to get Walker on the field with Holt and allow fourth-rounder Mike Thomas, fifth-rounder Jarett Dillard and seventh-rounder Tiquan Underwood to battle it out for the third spot and fill out the depth.
Northcutt, 31, is a savvy player who can still help someone. But revealing they are looking to trade him could prompt an interested team to wait and see if he isn't ultimately released.
Amobi Okoye is heading to Nigeria for a nine-day mission, reports Megan Manfull.
Dwight Freeney shares details about his TV appearance with Dr. Phil on 1070 The Fan in Indianapolis, from sportsradiointerviews.com
Revisiting Bill Polian's stance on overtime, courtesy of John Oehser.
Tony McDaniel's trade to Miami for a seventh-round pick is contingent on him passing a physical, according to Vito Stellino. McDaniel finished the season on IR with a toe injury.
The Jaguars watched Percy Harvin closely at his pro day, says Gene Frenette. I would expect Harvin is only in play for them if they trade back from No. 8.
A look at Vanderbilt cornerback D.J. Moore from a Nashville perspective, from David Boclair. Moore's pro day is Friday.
Jacksonville has a lot of holes, and not so many draft picks.
They boosted their total to seven on Thursday, trading defensive tackle Tony McDaniel to Miami for a seventh-round selection, according to ESPN.com senior writer John Clayton. It's unclear which of the Dolphins' three seventh-round picks the Jaguars are getting -- Miami has picks in the round from Cleveland and Carolina in addition to its own.
McDaniel played in 10 games, starting three for the Jaguars last season, which he finished on IR with a toe injury. He was part of a group the team hoped would effectively replace Marcus Stroud, who was traded to Buffalo. But production from the spot was not good, and John Henderson did not have a good year with Rob Meier, Derek Landri and McDaniel getting the bulk of the work.
The position ranks as one of the team's big draft needs.
The Jaguars are without their original seventh-round pick in the draft. The eighth pick of the seventh round belongs to Tampa Bay from a trade.
Jacksonville is projected by an expert in the compensatory draft pick award formula to get another seventh-round selection when compensatory picks are announced, likely next week.
A review of the Jaguars' picks before compensatory selections are awarded at the back end of the third through seventh rounds.
First round -- Eighth overall
Second round -- 39th
Third round -- 72nd overall
Seventh in the fourth round.
Eighth in the fifth round
Seventh in the sixth round.
Either the fifth, 23rd or 28th pick of the seventh round from Miami.
The Jaguars continue to add players to injured-reserve. Tuesday three veterans were moved to the list, the 12th, 13th, and 14th players who won't finish the season.
Nine of the players who won't finish the year were starters or regular contributors.
Coach Jack Del Rio said recovery for all three players will range from four to eight weeks.
The onslaught of injuries will prompt him to consider changes.
"I'm concerned with the number of injuries we've had," he said. "I think we need to make sure that we're giving ourselves every advantage that we can. We'll look at everything, obviously. The conditioning component of it is important. I think sometimes you just have some bad luck but we'll look at everything."
The Jaguars added defensive back Calvin Lowry and guard Cameron Stephenson to their roster and still have one open spot.
Lowry was drafted in the fourth-round by Tennessee in 2006 and was most recently with Denver. Stephenson was signed off the practice squad of the New Orleans Saints.
Posted by ESPN.com's Paul Kuharsky
|Chris Livingston/Icon SMI|
|Jacksonville has some big shoes to fill now that Marcus Stroud is in Buffalo.|
Marcus Stroud was traded to Buffalo on March 1.
But Coach Jack Del Rio scoffed at the idea that his Jacksonville Jaguars spent any part of training camp adjusting to life without the beefy defensive tackle. He appeared in just one of the Jaguars' final eight games last year because of a four-game steroid suspension and a season-ending ankle injury.
"We've been dealing with life after Marcus during the  year because he's been hurt," Del Rio said. "When Rob Meier steps in and plays as well as he has, and we know we have a guy like Tony McDaniel in the wings, and Derek Landri has been as solid as he has, it gives a little more confidence.
"We've got a couple of big defensive ends, namely Paul Spicer, that have shown the ability to go inside. So we don't feel as naked as maybe it's portrayed. Obviously, he was a good football player when he was here and has since moved on. We're going to do well with who we have."
Not everyone is so sure.
One AFC scout said that none of the people replacing Stroud make for the same sort of imposing presence up the middle the Jaguars had when he was paired with John Henderson. In Buffalo they are counting on Stroud to command the sort of double teams that freed up Jacksonville's play-making linebackers.
But some numbers from 2007 suggest Stroud wasn't the sort of game-changer people knew earlier in his career.
According to footballoutsiders.com, for example, the Jags' defense stuffed 19 percent of the runs it faced in the first half of 2007 when Stroud was playing. He missed most of the second half of the season, when that stuff rate shot up to 28 percent. ("Stuff" for their purposes is a run for no gain or a loss on first down or a run for less than a quarter of the yards needed to convert on second or third down).
The Jaguars made improving their pass rush priority No. 1 on defense during the offseason.
Cornerback Drayton Florence is expected to solidify the pass defense and allow more blitzing. It's a style new defensive coordinator Gregg Williams, brought in when Mike Smith went to Atlanta, has used with great success in the past.
Against the AFC's three best teams last season, the Jaguars were 1-3, managing just four sacks.
"I think, what I saw and what the whole entire world saw, was that he's just back there," Taylor said. "He had way more than enough time, and no way in hell defensive backs can cover that long. No pressure. I think that's why we got two defensive ends the very first two rounds, there's no secret about it. In order for us to get out of that game and win some of these ball games against the elite teams, even Peyton Manning, we got to rattle them a little bit. When they sit back there, and they can slide around and move around, we're going to be in for a dog fight."
Even if the Jaguars are better off with some combination of Meier, McDaniel or Landri working with Henderson, that doesn't mean they fill the personal void.
Henderson said they've had to.
"I mean, it took some getting used to, but we all have to move on," he said. "I talked to Marcus and he feels the same way. After seven years with a guy, you get used to a guy. That combination was so great. But now we got Tony McDaniel, Rob Meier and we have to bring it on. Just have to get Rob to dance a little more. But I think it's going to be great, man. We have a young guy, we still have Spicer and Reggie [Hayward] on the ends, our vets.
"...It always has to start in the middle. You have to start up front. I'm not going to change anything just because we lost my boy Marcus. We have to keep it going. We still have a lot of enthusiasm, now it just has to come from me, Spice, Mike Peterson, he's our captain on that front line, he's like our quarterback. We just have to go get it."
Posted by ESPN.com's Paul Kuharsky
Have to make the divisional tour a quick one this morning...
- Defensive end Anthony Weaver is anxious to get healthy.
- The Texans and Saints played nice during joint work.
- Jim Sorgi is taking advantage of all his work.
- The Colts will have a big decision to make at Lucas Oil Stadium: Roof opened or closed?
- Tony McDaniel never expected he could be much of a player until a conversation with Jack Del Rio in 2006.
- Derrick Harvey's contract stalemate could have long-term ramifications.
Posted by ESPN.com's Paul Kuharsky
JACKSONVILLE - A scheduled scrimmage got scaled back to more of a thudding practice with a couple live series at Jacksonville Municipal Stadium tonight, where over 12,000 risked rain but stayed dry to monitor the Jaguars' progress.
Some impressions from your loyal AFC South examiner off this practice and two days with the team:
- Quarterback David Garrard looks poised and confident, providing plenty of signs he'll be able to build on last year. In the two periods the team tracked as live, he was four-for-five for 49 yards and a TD. But like many teams, the Jaguars will have issues if their lead guy goes down. Jack Del Rio acknowledged Cleo Lemon's shaky start in OTAs. Earlier today the coach said the reserve has gotten better. But there is a major drop off with Lemon or Todd Bouman.
- Receiver Matt Jones caught a 19-yard touchdown pass with Drayton Florence close but unable to close as the ball was snatched at the front left of the end zone. I can see how Jones is maddening for coaches and fans here. He can look brilliant on one play, uninterested on the next. I'm with Del Rio on the body language issue, and it hasn't gone away. Still, Jones had a healthy first week of practice and that's encouraging to the team which simply wants him to be on the field daily, working.
- Defensive back Brian Williams can give the Jaguars some super-versatility in the secondary. Last year's right cornerback is working as a base defense strong safety and a nickel inside corner. If Florence pans out as the new right corner, that's quite a four-pack in coverage. If Derrick Harvey doesn't surface and the front four can't rush effectively on its own, the Jaguars may feel plenty comfortable sending some of their top-flight linebackers into the pass pressure. Still in the mix: Gerald Sensabaugh, who would be at strong safety if the coaches decide to stick with Williams outside on first and second downs and bring Florence in as the nickel. I'll look at this more closely soon.
- The interior pass rush is hardly a given, but in the one-on-one pass rush drills tonight I saw both Rob Meier and Tony McDaniel gain good ground and close the pocket working against guard Maurice Williams, who didn't have a great period. Another tackle in the mix, Jimmy Kennedy, split a pair of snaps with guard Chris Liwienski, at least in this judge's eyes. In a team period on the outside, Paul Spicer recorded what qualified as a sack of Garrard on a fourth down.
- Kicker Josh Scobee injured a hamstring in the opener last year and missed eight games. He killed the ball tonight, connecting on all eight of his field goal attempts, including a 57-yarder that cleared the bar by plenty at the end of a second-team 2:00-drill drive.