Jacksonville Jaguars: 2013 Jaguars top 10

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- The Jaguars were short-handed because of injuries against Tennessee last Sunday, but there still were some solid performances in the 20-16 loss.

Some of them came from young, unproven players such as receiver Kerry Taylor and J.T. Thomas, both of whom earned a spot on this week's list of the Jaguars' top 10 playmakers.

[+] EnlargeBrad Meester
Kim Klement/USA TODAY SportsJaguars center Brad Meester catches the ball against the Titans during the first quarter of their Week 16 game.
Remember, this isn’t a list of MVP candidates, but a compilation of the players who are making the biggest difference each week.

Here we go, with last week's rankings in parenthesis:

1. C Brad Meester (NR): There’s no question he tops the list after making the only reception of his career: a 9-yard catch-and-run on a screen pass that nearly went for a touchdown. It was a great call by offensive coordinator Jedd Fisch in the final home game of Meester’s 14-year career.

2. TE Marcedes Lewis (2): He caught a TD pass for the fourth game in a row and finished with four receptions for 50 yards. He has become a bigger part of the passing offense the last month and should have been more involved earlier in the season.

3. QB Chad Henne (NR): He went 24-for-34 for 237 yards with two touchdowns and one interception. He’s playing as well as he can considering the weapons he has. The interception came with less than a minute remaining in the game when he was trying to make a play deep in his own territory.

4. WR Kerry Taylor (9): Taylor, who was targeted a team-high seven times, has really stepped up in the absence of Cecil Shorts (IR). He caught four passes for 45 yards against the Titans and has eight catches in the last two games.

5. LB Paul Posluszny (7): I know the defense gave up 182 yards rushing, but that was mainly due to the injuries and inexperience along the defensive line. Posluszny had a team-high 13 tackles, including 10 solo tackles, and had half of a sack. He missed only one snap while he was getting stitches in his chin.

6. DE Andre Branch (10): He had another sack against the Titans, giving him five in the past six games. The staff has got him playing with a consistent effort and Branch is having the kind of success people expect out of a second-round draft pick.

7. RB Maurice Jones-Drew (NR): He played through a hamstring strain that kept him off the practice field all week and still put up 69 yards of total offense on 17 touches (4.1 yards per touch).

8. S Johnathan Cyprien (NR): He didn’t practice last week because of a thigh injury but played every snap on defense and made nine tackles.

9. LB J.T. Thomas (NR): He made the first start of his career because of an injury to Geno Hayes and responded with six tackles. He has played mainly special teams and only gotten snaps on defense in the last six games.

10. CB Alan Ball (NR): He made a nice play on an interception that led to a third-quarter field goal that gave the Jaguars a 16-6 lead. He would have been higher on the list had he not gotten penalized for unnecessary roughness to give the Titans a first down at the 1 and not gotten beat by Nate Washington on the 30-yard touchdown.

Jaguars fantasy breakdown: Week 15

December, 20, 2013
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JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Looking for some help with your fantasy football lineup? Every Friday I'll give you my opinions on which Jacksonville Jaguars players to play and sit, as well as which of the opposing players might be a good play against the Jags. For more fantasy football advice, check out ESPN.com's fantasy football page.

Jaguars

[+] EnlargeJosh Scobee
Andrew Weber/USA TODAY SportsJacksonville Jaguars kicker Josh Scobee has connected on 21 of 23 field goal attempts through 14 games this season.
QB Chad Henne: He completed only 14 passes for 180 yards and threw two interceptions in the last meeting with the Titans. Now he doesn’t have top target Cecil Shorts. Verdict: Sit him.

RB Maurice Jones-Drew: He’ll be a game-day decision because of his injured hamstring, but even if he does play, he likely won’t get a full workload. Verdict: Sit him.

RB Jordan Todman: He filled in nicely for Jones-Drew last week with 109 yards rushing. He should get the majority of the work against the Titans even if Jones-Drew plays. Verdict: He’s a good option for a flex spot in deeper leagues.

TE Marcedes Lewis: He has caught a touchdown in three consecutive games and with Shorts out, he should be more involved in the passing game. He caught a season-high four passes last week against Buffalo. Verdict: Roll the dice with him extending his TD streak to four games in a row.

K Josh Scobee: Hard not to go with a guy who has missed only two field goals all season -- and one was a 60-yarder. Verdict: Start him.

Defense/special teams: The Jaguars’ defensive turnaround started against the Titans, and the unit set the tone early with a forced fumble on the Titans’ first series. The Jaguars have recorded at least two sacks in the past five games and has at least three in four of those five. Still not scoring points in the return game, though. Verdict: Sit them.

Titans

QB Ryan Fitzpatrick: He’s coming off a 402-yard, four-TD performance against Arizona and is facing a Jaguars secondary that is giving up an average of 301.6 yards per game in the past five games. Verdict: Start him as your No. 2 QB.

RB Chris Johnson: He fumbled against the Jaguars early in the previous matchup and was no factor. He hasn’t rushed for more than 86 yards in the five games since. Until last week, the Jaguars had done a good job shutting down the run. Verdict: Sit him.

WR Kendall Wright: Wright has had a breakout season in just his second year in the NFL. His 85 catches rank seventh in the NFL and his 29 third-down catches are tied for the league lead. He only has two TD catches, though. Verdict: Start him.

WR: Nate Washington: Washington is averaging 15.3 yards on 50 catches, but like Wright he doesn’t find the end zone much (two TDs). Verdict: He’s an option for a flex spot in deeper leagues. Otherwise, sit him.

TE Delanie Walker: He has caught a career-high 53 passes for 507 yards. More importantly, he has six TD catches. Verdict: Start him.

K Rob Bironas: He has made 20 of 24 field goal attempts, but half of his field goals have been inside 29 yards and he has just one attempt of 50 or more yards (he missed). Verdict: Sit him.

Defense/special teams: The Jaguars' offense won't have its best receiver and may not have its top running back, either. Henne tried to force a few passes last week and got picked off twice, so the Titans will have chances for turnovers. Verdict: Start them.
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- It doesn't sound right, but it's correct: The Jacksonville Jaguars are the hottest team in the AFC.

They've won three games in a row -- the longest current streak in the conference -- and four of their past five games. Thursday night's 27-20 victory over Houston was the second time the Jaguars have beaten the Texans in 11 days.

They got production and big plays from both sides of the ball, so picking the top 10 playmakers this week was relatively easy.

[+] EnlargeJordan Todman
Phil Sears/USA TODAY SportsJaguars running back Jordan Todman celebrates after catching a 21-yard touchdown pass thrown by wide receiver Ace Sanders in a Week 14 win against Houston.
Remember, this isn't a list of MVP candidates, but a compilation of the players who are making the biggest difference each week.

Here we go, with last week's rankings in parenthesis:

1. RB Maurice Jones-Drew (3): He had his first 100-yard game since Week 3 of last season and ripped off a 48-yard run in which he broke four tackles. He missed the final 11 minutes with a right hamstring strain but still had his best game of the season.

2. WR Ace Sanders (4): Offensive coordinator Jedd Fisch continues to use Sanders in interesting ways. Not only did he catch three passes for 26 yards, he also carried the ball out of the backfield for the second consecutive week. Oh, yeah, he also threw a 21-yard touchdown pass to Jordan Todman on a trick play.

3. LB Geno Hayes (NR): Hayes had a solid but largely inconspicuous game (two tackles) until his interception of a Matt Schaub pass with 2:08 to play sealed the Jaguars' third consecutive victory.

4. TE Marcedes Lewis (NR): He caught two passes, a 41-yarder in which he plucked the ball from between two defenders and a 1-yard touchdown pass. He needs to be more involved in the passing game.

5. QB Chad Henne (8): His passing numbers don't warrant being this high (12-of-27 for 117 yards) but he did throw two touchdown passes and also kept drives alive with his feet. He ran for 33 yards on four carries.

6. LB Paul Posluszny (6): Just another typical Posluszny day: a team-high 13 tackles, one tackle for loss, and one quarterback hit on a blitz up the middle that forced an incompletion.

7. RB/KR Jordan Todman (9): He only gained 14 yards on seven carries, but he did make a nice catch on Sanders' 21-yard toss for a touchdown. He had to wait for the ball while safety D.J. Swearinger was bearing down on him and he took a pretty good hit after the catch.

8. CB Alan Ball (NR): It's hard to put a secondary player on the list considering how Schaub and Case Keenum lit it up and the fact that Andre Johnson caught 13 passes for 154 yards, but Ball did intercept a pass and that led to a field goal late in the first half.

9. DE Jason Babin (7): He recorded another sack and forced a fumble that the Texans were able to recover. He has 2.5 sacks in his last two games.

10. DE Andre Branch (NR): Branch recorded one sack, which gives him one in three of his last four games. He also chipped in four tackles.

Jaguars top 10: Shorts overcomes woes

December, 3, 2013
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JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Don't expect to find any defensive backs on this week's top 10 Jaguars playmakers list.

Not after they allowed Cleveland receiver Josh Gordon to catch 10 passes for 261 yards and two touchdowns, including a 95-yard catch-and-run for a touchdown.

But there are still plenty of other players worthy of making the rankings.

Remember, this isn't a list of MVP candidates, but a compilation of the players who are making the biggest difference each week.

Here we go, with last week's rankings in parenthesis:

[+] EnlargeCecil Shorts
Andrew Weber/USA TODAY SportsIt's how Cecil Shorts finished against the Browns that vaulted him to the top spot in the weekly Jaguars top 10 rankings.
1. WR Cecil Shorts (7): Yes, he struggled early. Yes, he dropped two passes. But he also beat one of the NFL's best cornerbacks with a double move and caught the game-winning touchdown pass with 40 seconds remaining. Shorts finished with six catches for 64 yards.

2. DT Sen'Derrick Marks (6): He is getting mercilessly ribbed by his teammates for getting run down by an offensive lineman after recovering a fumble late in the first half, but that doesn't override the fact that he had another big game: three tackles, one sack, one pass breakup, and one forced fumble.

3. RB Maurice Jones-Drew (1): It's not the season-high 23 carries for 77 yards that gets him this high. It's his 8-yard touchdown pass to tight end Marcedes Lewis. He is the first non-quarterback to throw a touchdown pass in franchise history.

4. WR Ace Sanders (9): So much for the rookie wall. Sanders led the Jaguars with eight catches for 67 yards, including a 25-yarder to convert a third down on the game-winning drive. Sanders had nine touches (one rush for 4 yards) and converted six first downs. He has 20 of his 36 receptions in the last three games.

5. K Josh Scobee (NR): He kicked three field goals -- from 44, 36 and 25 yards -- and is now 17-for-19 on the season. He had one blocked, and his only miss was a 60-yarder at the end of the first half against Arizona.

6. LB Paul Posluszny (5): He finished in his usual spot atop the tackles list (11) but also added a pass breakup and combined with Jason Babin on a sack.

7. DE Jason Babin (NR): He forced the fumble that Marks recovered and had 1.5 sacks.

8. QB Chad Henne (3): It wasn't his best game, but he did lead the team on the 80-yard game-winning drive. He made two huge throws on that drive, lofting a 25-yarder to Sanders on third down and hitting Shorts in the corner of the end zone for the touchdown.

9. RB/KR Jordan Todman (NR): He averaged 7.2 yards per touch, carrying five times for 31 yards and catching one pass for 12 yards. He also averaged 25 yards on two kickoff returns. He's starting to look like he did in the preseason, when he led the team in rushing.

10. P Bryan Anger (NR): He averaged 43.7 yards on seven punts and put four of them inside the 20, including three inside the 15-yard line.

Jaguars top 10: First-half recap

November, 5, 2013
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JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- The Jaguars had a miserable first half of the season, which made the task of picking the team's top 10 playmakers each week difficult.

Medium logoBut I persevered and came up with a list each week, although I admit there were a couple of weeks where it was so tough I snuck in Jaxson DeVille at the 10 spot. The funny thing is, I got no complaints -- although I didn't get any thanks from the Jaguars' mascot, either.

Now that the midpoint of the season is here, it's time to go back, tabulate the results and come up with the top 10 Jaguars playmakers of the first eight games. That was significantly easier. All I did was assign points to each spot on the list -- the No. 1 playmaker each week got 10 points, the No. 2 got nine, the No. 3 got eight, etc. -- and came up with a total for each player. The player with the most points was the No. 1 playmaker of the first half.

Remember, this isn't a list of MVP candidates, but a compilation of the players who are making the biggest difference each week.

Here's the list of the team's biggest playmakers in the first half of the season (point total in parenthesis):

Posluszny
1. LB Paul Posluszny (46): He has been without question the Jaguars' best defensive player this season, and you can argue their best player overall (which is why he's sitting atop this list). He leads the team with 80 tackles and has made two of the biggest defensive plays of the season, including an interception return for a touchdown against Denver.

2. QB Chad Henne (45): He had clearly out-played Blaine Gabbert and has a pretty solid hold on the starting job. The biggest thing he's done is cut down on the turnovers. Gabbert threw seven interceptions in three games, three of which were returned for touchdowns. The passing offense is more efficient, although he's still struggling in the red zone.

Shorts
3. WR Cecil Shorts (44): The Jaguars' leading receiver (46 catches, 565 yards) is on pace to record his first 1,000-yard season, a feat that hasn't been accomplished by Jaguars player since Jimmy Smith in 2005. Shorts now has to handle the pressure of being the team's No. 1 receiver with Justin Blackmon done.

4. RB Maurice Jones-Drew (41): He has come on after a slow start and had his best all-around game against San Francisco. He got more than 20 touches in that game and that's a workload he's going to have to duplicate pretty much every game in the second half for the offense to be balanced. Jones-Drew also is the only player to have scored more than one touchdown.

T5. P Bryan Anger (34): He's averaging 46.8 yards per punt and has a net average of 41.3, numbers comparable to his rookie season when he set NFL rookie and franchise records for gross and net punting average (47.8 and 40.8). He hasn't been as good at pinning opponents inside the 10-yard line but is still having a good season.

Blackmon
Blackmon
T5. WR Justin Blackmon (34): He was the team's best offensive player in the four games in which he played, catching 29 passes for 415 yards and one touchdown.

6. K Josh Scobee (30): He has made all 10 of his field goal attempts, including kicks from 50 and 53 yards, and leads the team with 36 points.

7. WR Mike Brown (26): Brown is a bit of a surprise on the list, but he has done a nice job in his transition from college quarterback to receiver. He missed four games with a fractured vertebra in his back but has caught 12 passes in the last three games and had a 120-yard performance against San Diego. He'll be one of the players who must step up in the second half to help replace Blackmon.

Cyprien
8. S Johnathan Cyprien (23): The rookie second-round pick has struggled lately but had been solid through the first month of the season. He has forced a team-high three fumbles and is the team's third-leading tackler (47) but has suddenly started missing too many tackles and is getting out of position in coverage. He still should develop into a good player but right now appears to be hitting the cliched rookie wall.

9. DT Sen'Derrick Marks (15): He has been the team's best defensive lineman and has 17 tackles, 2.0 sacks, three pass breakups, four tackles for loss, and six QB pressures. The last number is second only to defensive end Jason Babin (nine). He has played the fourth-most snaps on defense and the most by far of any defensive lineman.

10. WR/PR Ace Sanders (13): He hasn't been as involved in the passing game the last four games and missed one of those games because of a concussion, but Sanders was solid in the first four games. Still, he has caught 16 passes for 182 yards. He'll get more work in the second half with Blackmon gone but will probably make his greatest impact as a punt returner. He had one punt return for a TD called back because of a questionable penalty.

Jaguars top 10: Slim pickings again

October, 29, 2013
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JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- It was another disappointing day for the Jacksonville Jaguars, especially on defense, in a 42-10 loss to the San Francisco 49ers in London.

But at least the team scored its first touchdown in a “home” game this season.

Still, it’s another tough week to pick the team’s top 10 playmakers. Like last week, there will be few defensive players after giving up 221 yards rushing and allowing the 49ers to score touchdowns on their first four possessions.

Remember, this isn’t a list of MVP candidates, but a compilation of the players who are making the biggest difference each week.

Here we go, with last week’s rankings in parenthesis:

1. WR Mike Brown (1): He keeps the top spot after scoring the Jaguars’ first touchdown in a “home” game this season. The 29-yard TD catch was one of his three catches for 43 yards.

2. RB Maurice Jones-Drew (6): He had perhaps his best game of the season, rushing for 75 yards on 19 carries and catching six passes for 47 yards. He’s looking better and better each week.

3. QB Chad Henne (4): Henne’s yardage total was down significantly from the past few weeks, but he didn’t turn the ball over and hooked up with Brown for the team’s only touchdown. He still needs to be better in the red zone.

4. WR Cecil Shorts (3): Shorts led the team with seven catches for 74 yards. It appeared he may have re-injured his shoulder on a play because he went to the sideline with his right arm dangling by his side, but he was back on the field several plays later.

5. WR Denard Robinson (NR): Robinson was more involved in the offense than any of the seven previous games. He had four carries for 15 yards and may be settling into a role as a backup running back.

6. WR Justin Blackmon (2): Though Blackmon caught only four passes for 31 yards, he was targeted a team-high 10 times (tied with Shorts). He’s still drawing extra attention.

7. LB Paul Posluszny (7): Much like last week, have to include Posluszny because he has been the Jaguars’ best defender all season. He just can’t do it all by himself, though not for lack of trying. He led the Jaguars with 12 tackles.

8. K Josh Scobee (8): Footing at Wembley Stadium was slick, but Scobee had no trouble on his 38-yard field goal. He’s a perfect 10-for-10 this season.

9. P Bryan Anger (NR): Anger returns to the list after a two-week hiatus. It wasn’t his best game (he averaged 44.5 yards on four punts) but it’s pretty slim pickings this week, so …

10. Jaxson DeVille (NR): He’s back, too. Not for his zip-line entry into Wembley Stadium (that’s old hat to us in the states) but the way he broke away from the two “security guards” who tried to detain him while he was streaking. Some fine open-field running before getting caught.

Jaguars top 10: Easy pickings

October, 15, 2013
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JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- The Jacksonville Jaguars aren’t claiming a moral victory by losing to the Denver Broncos by 16 points on Sunday -- well below the 28 points by which the Broncos were favored.

The bottom line is the team is still winless (0-6), but the Jaguars did play reasonably well in Denver. However, they continue to be plagued by the same silly mistakes that have hurt them all season: penalties, turnovers, failure to capitalize on big plays.

That still doesn’t overshadow the fact that there were some pretty good individual performances on Sunday. That made selecting the Jaguars’ top 10 playmakers pretty easy for the first time this season.

[+] EnlargePaul Posluszny
Chris Humphreys/USA TODAY SportsJaguars LB Paul Posluszny tackles Broncos RB Knowshon Moreno in their Week 6 game at Mile High.
Remember, this isn’t a list of MVP candidates, but a compilation of the players who are making the biggest difference each week.

Here we go, with last week’s rankings in parenthesis:

1. WR Justin Blackmon (1): There’s no doubt he’s the key to the offense. He was targeted 20 times, caught 14 passes for 190 yards, and the Jaguars' offense had its second-highest yardage total of the season. The highest? Last week against St. Louis in Blackmon’s season debut. He was matched up against Champ Bailey on Sunday and had his way with the 12-time Pro Bowler.

2. QB Chad Henne (6): Henne did make a few mistakes -- he missed a wide-open Clay Harbor on the game’s first play and should have run for a first down on fourth down late -- but he still played the best game of any Jaguars quarterback this season. He completed 27 of 42 passes for 303 yards. His two interceptions came on balls deflected at the line of scrimmage.

3. LB Paul Posluszny (NR): The Jaguars' defense did the best job of any team against Peyton Manning this season and Posluszny had a 59-yard interception return for a touchdown -- his first career NFL TD. He did get caught by a play-fake that allowed Wes Welker to get wide open on the game’s first touchdown, but he also had seven solo tackles.

4. RB Maurice Jones-Drew (2): He showed some of the tough inside running that used to be a staple of the offense, gaining 71 yards on 21 carries. He also had a season-long 28-yard run. The offensive line is still having trouble opening holes and Jones-Drew is getting contact in the backfield, but he’s still managing to give the Jaguars some kind of running game.

5. WR Mike Brown (NR): You might think this is pretty high for a guy who had only four catches for 49 yards, but it was the fact he played 67 snaps in his first game back since suffering a fractured bone in his back in the season opener. He was on the field that much because of the injury to Cecil Shorts and he responded.

6. DT Sen’Derrick Marks (3): The defensive line isn’t playing particularly well but Marks has been. He had one tackle for loss and recovered a fumble inside Denver territory, which set up a Jaguars field goal.

7. CB Mike Harris (NR): He recovered one of Manning’s two fumbles, giving the Jaguars possession at their own 6-yard line. Denver had converted a fake punt earlier on the drive and was threatening to take an 18-point lead early in the fourth quarter. Harris also had a team-high eight tackles.

8. K Josh Scobee (5): It was another perfect day for Scobee, who made field goals of 50 and 30 yards.

9. S Johnathan Cyprien (7): He had five tackles and forced another fumble, his third of the season, and did a solid job in Cover 2 by not allowing big plays down the field. It wasn’t his best performance of the season but he was a key part of a defense that stymied Manning better than any team so far.

10. LB Geno Hayes (NR): He had six tackles and knocked down one pass. Again, not a spectacular performance but a solid job against Manning. The Jaguars may have given other teams the blueprint for at least slowing Manning down.
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- The Jacksonville Jaguars remained winless after losing 34-20 to St. Louis on Sunday, but the team did make some progress. They scored a season-high 20 points and it was a seven-point game in the fourth quarter.

But the biggest evidence of the team’s progress is this: For the first time this season, punter Bryan Anger isn’t in the top five on the weekly list of the Jaguars’ top 10 playmakers. Did he even make the list? You’ll have to read on.

Remember, this isn’t a list of MVP candidates, but a compilation of the players who are making the biggest difference each week.

Here we go, with last week’s rankings in parenthesis:

1. WR Justin Blackmon (NR): He returned from his four-game suspension for violating the NFL’s substance abuse policy and made an immediate impact on the offense. He caught three passes for 90 yards and a touchdown -- a 67-yard catch-and-run in which he outran the secondary -- in the first quarter. He finished with five catches for 136 yards.

2. RB Maurice Jones-Drew (NR): One week after being a non-factor, Jones-Drew ran for a season-high 70 yards and caught two passes for 16 yards. He also gave the Jaguars their first 20-yard run all season.

3. DT Sen’Derrick Marks (NR): He has been the Jaguars’ best defensive lineman all season and had his best game against the Rams. Marks had a sack, a tackle for loss, knocked down two passes, and forced a fumble.

4. S Chris Prosinski (NR): Making big plays on special teams can really turn a game around. Prosinski did his part by blocking Johnny Hekker’s third-quarter punt to give the Jaguars the ball on the Rams’ 25-yard line. Unfortunately, the Jaguars couldn’t make anything out of that play because they failed to get points on four shots inside the St. Louis 5-yard line. That doesn’t ruin a great effort by Prosinski.

5. K Josh Scobee (1): Scobee made field goals of 48 and 34 yards and remains a perfect 5-for-5 this season.

6. QB Chad Henne (NR): He came in for the injured Blaine Gabbert in the third quarter and immediately hit Blackmon for 39 yards. That drive ended with a field goal and Henne also led the Jaguars on a fourth-quarter touchdown drive to cut the Rams’ lead to 27-20. Henne audibled into a pass on the TD play. Henne completed 7 of 13 passes for 89 yards.

7. S Johnathan Cyprien (NR): He led the Jaguars with 13 tackles and coach Gus Bradley said that was mainly because he was playing closer to the line of scrimmage. He always seems to be around the football.

8. WR Cecil Shorts (5): Shorts caught five passes for 74 yards and a touchdown and benefitted from having Blackmon on the field. He was targeted 10 times.

9. P Bryan Anger (2): The Jaguars still aren’t good enough for him to not be ranked each week. He averaged 48.2 net yards on five punts.

10. PR Ace Sanders (7): This might be cheating a bit, but he belongs on the list even though his 88-yard return for a touchdown was wiped out. The illegal block above the waist penalty on LaRoy Reynolds looked like an iffy call. You get the feeling that Sanders is going to break out on one that counts pretty soon.

Jaguars top 10: Specialists rule

October, 1, 2013
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JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- It was another dismal performance by the Jacksonville Jaguars last Sunday, a 37-3 loss to Indianapolis at EverBank Field.

Finding the Jaguars’ top 10 playmakers from the game was pretty hard, so I cheated. I found nine, but I added a special guest. If things keep going the way they have the first four weeks, he may end up as a regular -- at least for home games, anyway.

Remember, this isn’t a list of MVP candidates, but a compilation of the players who are making the biggest difference each week.

Here we go, with last week’s rankings in parenthesis:

1. K Josh Scobee (6): He kicked his 20th career field goal of 50-plus yards against the Colts to give the Jaguars their only points of the day. He’s the team’s leading scorer (11 points) and has made all three of his field-goal attempts, which makes him pretty much the only weapon the Jaguars have right now.

2. P Bryan Anger (5): He averaged 48.3 yards (45.2 net) on six punts, including a 61-yarder. And since the defense gave up 37 points and more than 400 yards for the second consecutive week and the offense could only manage three points, he has soared into the top two.

3. CB Will Blackmon (NR): I know I just criticized the defense, but Blackmon deserves some attention. He was credited with four passes defensed and picked off the first pass of his career. He also had another interception nullified by a penalty.

4. LB Paul Posluszny (3): He led the Jaguars in tackles (nine) for the third time this season. At this point, that’s good enough to make the top five.

5. WR Cecil Shorts (1): Shorts was again the Jaguars’ top receiver (seven catches for 61 yards). He also had two passes bounce of his hands and get intercepted, but even that doesn’t disqualify him from making the list or being ranked this high.

6. TE Clay Harbor (NR): With Marcedes Lewis leaving the game in the first quarter after re-injuring his calf, Harbor provided the only offense from the position. He caught two passes for 39 yards and could have had a 63-yard touchdown had he not stepped out of bounds after 31 yards.

7. WR Ace Sanders (NR): Sanders finally got a chance to return punts. The Colts punted three times. One went out of bounds. One went into the end zone for a touchback. Sanders returned one for 10 yards. Plus he had four catches for 59 yards.

8. RB Jordan Todman (NR): He returned two kickoffs for 53 yards and carried twice for 4 yards.

9. LB Russell Allen (NR): Allen made seven tackles and had one of the Jaguars’ two sacks.

And our special guest ...

10. Jaxson de Ville (NR): Not only did the team’s mascot do a flip and ziplined off one of the light towers before the game, he also paid off a bet with the Colts mascot and got pelted by 40 paintballs after the game.
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Trying to come up with a list of the top 10 playmakers from the previous game each week is normally a pretty easy task.

Not this week.

Not after the Jaguars’ miserable performance in a 28-2 loss to Kansas City. There weren’t a lot of good things happening for the Jaguars. Even their best play didn’t exactly work out: The punt J.T. Thomas blocked near the 18-yard line bounced out of the end zone for a safety so the Jaguars couldn’t recover it to set up a possible touchdown.

But this is a weekly feature to which I’m committed, so here are the top 10 players who made the biggest impact against the Chiefs.

Remember, this isn’t a list of MVP candidates, but a compilation of the players who are making the biggest difference each week.

Here we go, with last week’s rankings in parenthesis:

1. LB J.T. Thomas (NR): The third-year player was claimed off waivers from Chicago on Sept. 1 and made the biggest play of the game for the Jaguars when he blocked Dustin Colquitt’s first-quarter punt. Unfortunately, the ball bounced out of the back of the end zone for a safety and the Jaguars couldn’t capitalize.

2. P Bryan Anger (5): He set a franchise record with 11 punts and averaged 50.5 yards per punt. Unfortunately, the Jaguars’ punt coverage unit allowed Dexter McCluster 80 yards on seven returns, including a 36-yarder.

3. LB Paul Posluszny (7): He had a solid day leading the Jaguars with 10 tackles. The defense was able to hold the Chiefs to just 33 percent on third downs (5-of-15).

4. RB Maurice Jones-Drew (2): It wasn’t a dynamic afternoon, but Jones-Drew did manage 45 yards on 15 carries in his return from a Lisfranc injury. He didn’t have much help up front from his offensive line, which struggled to create holes. Jones-Drew had two big runs of 10 and 9 yards, but then averaged 2.0 yards on his other 13 carries.

5. RB Justin Forsett (NR): Forsett missed the entire preseason with turf toe but didn’t show any rust against the Chiefs. He led the team with four catches (22 yards) and also carried the ball once for 7 yards. According to Pro Football Focus, Forsett was the highest-graded offensive player.

6. DE Jason Babin (NR): The Jaguars didn’t have much of a pass rush, but Babin was the most effective. According to PFF, Babin had four of the team’s nine pressures with a sack, two hits and six hurries.

7. S Johnathan Cyprien (NR): He had three tackles and one quarterback hit. He blitzed twice and had some success (he recorded his QB hit on a blitz) and we may see more of that as the season progresses.

8. CB Will Blackmon (NR): He played more on defense than expected because of the injury to Dwayne Gratz and he continues to be a solid pickup. He had one tackle and a pass breakup in addition to being the Jaguars’ punt returner (one fair catch).

9. WR Stephen Burton (NR): He touched the ball only once, returning a kickoff 25 yards. That he was on the field is impressive considering he was claimed off waivers on Sept. 1 and had trouble with Florida’s heat and humidity during his first full-pads practice. He made a quicker-than-expected recovery.

10. FB Will Ta’ufo’ou (NR): Two special teams tackles and an 11-yard reception for a player who has spent time with four other teams, mainly on the practice squad, since 2009.

Jaguars Top 10: MJD starts on top

September, 3, 2013
9/03/13
1:30
PM ET
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Which Jaguars players are making the biggest contributions on the field?

I’ll give you my opinion each week this season. I’ll rank the top 10 players who made the biggest impact in the previous game. At the end of the regular season, I’ll tabulate the weekly results and come up with the final top 10.

Remember, this isn’t a list of MVP candidates, but a compilation of the players who are making the biggest difference each week.

Today’s list will be the rankings heading into Sunday’s season opener against Kansas City. It’s what I think the final list could look like on Dec. 31.

Here's the top 10:

[+] EnlargeJones-Drew
Bruce Kluckhohn/US PresswireSuperstar running back Maurice Jones-Drew starts the season ranked as the Jaguars' most important player.
1. RB Maurice Jones-Drew: He looked good in the limited action he got in the preseason and professes himself ready for the regular season. If he stays healthy, he should have no trouble rolling up 1,300 yards. He is the cornerstone of the offense.

2. WR Cecil Shorts: It may seem unusual to have two receivers so high when there are so many questions about the quarterback, but Justin Blackmon (865 yards) and Shorts (979 yards) both approached 1,000 yards last season despite less-than-stellar play from Blaine Gabbert and Chad Henne. Shorts will be the go-to receiver while Blackmon is out for the first month and may hold onto that role throughout the season.

3. WR Justin Blackmon: I’m taking a leap of faith here that Blackmon has learned something from his off-field problems and he won’t have any further trouble after he returns from his four-game suspension. He has the talent to be one of the league’s top receivers. Even though he will only play 12 games, I think he can still approach 1,000 yards receiving.

4. QB Blaine Gabbert: Putting Gabbert this high is about expectations. The Jaguars don’t need Gabbert to become Tom Brady or Peyton Manning or Drew Brees this season. Gus Bradley would certainly love that but it’s not realistic. What the Jaguars need is for Gabbert to not become Mark Sanchez or Matt Cassel, guys who turned the ball over a 26 and 19 times, respectively, last season. Gabbert needs to play relatively mistake-free football this season, which is not too much to ask.

5. P Bryan Anger: No, I’m not a Gene Smith apologist. But yes, a punter as the No. 5 playmaker. Why? Because he is one of the best in the league. But also because he’s a field-position weapon and when you’re a team that struggles to consistently move the ball it’s nice to have someone who can bail you out of bad field position. Anger put 31 punts inside the 20-yard line last year and he’ll been called upon to do that a lot again this season.

6. K Josh Scobee: The Jaguars’ all-time leading scorer (848 points and counting) enters his 10th year and is coming off his the second-best season of his career. He made 25-of-28 field goal attempts in 2012.

7. LB Paul Posluszny: It has taken a while to get to the first defensive player, which is indicative of how much work needs to be done on that side of the ball. Posluszny has led the team in tackles the past two seasons and probably will again in 2013. He’s entering his seventh season and will turn 29 in October but shows no sign of slowing down.

8. OW Denard Robinson: The "offensive weapon" can make an impact as a runner and receiver, but he needs more work throwing the ball out of the wildcat formation -- which is odd considering he was a college quarterback. There's no denying he's an electric player in the open field. The Jaguars need to find ways to get him the ball in space because he's a big play waiting to happen.


9. DE Jeremy Mincey: This should be a bounce-back year for Mincey, who followed up a team-high 8.0 sacks in 2011 with just 3.0 last season. After 33-year-old DE Jason Babin (55 sacks), Mincey has more career sacks (18.0) than anyone else on the roster. The Jaguars are desperately in need of a pass rush and Mincey has proven he can help.


10. CB Dwayne Gratz: Being a rookie cornerback is not easy in the NFL, so expect some ups and downs from the former Connecticut Huskie. But he’s certainly talented and has the size (5-foot-11, 201 pounds) that Bradley wants in his corners.

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