NFL Nation: Carson Tinker

Examining the Jacksonville Jaguars' roster:

QUARTERBACKS (3)
General manager David Caldwell has said he likes to keep three quarterbacks, which means all three will have to be on the active roster, because Stanzi is ineligible for the practice squad. Stanzi should start the season as the No. 2 because he’s more ready to play than Bortles, but that will likely flip-flop at some point. Stephen Morris is a practice squad candidate.

RUNNING BACKS (5)

If the Jags elect to keep only four backs, Todman and Johnson likely would battle for the final spot. That is assuming Robinson continues to be very good in camp. He might end up getting more playing time than any of the other backs after Gerhart if he shows he can be a reliable pass-catcher. Johnson has to prove he can pass block and doesn’t have problems with ball security.

RECEVIERS (6)

The first four players should be locks, but it will be an interesting competition for the final two spots among Brown, Taylor, free-agent signee Tandon Doss, undrafted rookie Allen Hurns, and former practice-squad player Chad Bumphis. Doss missed most of the organized team activities and minicamp because of a calf injury, allowing Taylor, Bumphis and Hurns to get valuable reps. Doss was not a consistent receiver in his three seasons in Baltimore and has more value as a returner, but Sanders’ strength is as a punt returner and the Jags have other options at kickoff returner. I have Taylor narrowly beating out Hurns because of his experience, but I can easily see that being flipped if the Jags want to add more size. Hurns is 6-foot-3; Taylor is 6-0.

TIGHT ENDS (3)

Jensen flashed during OTAs and gets the edge over three other players. He’s a big kid (6-6, 270) who is a raw version of Lewis, one of the league’s best blocking tight ends. Jensen will need a year or two to develop and likely will be used as an extra blocker more than a pass-catcher.

OFFENSIVE LINEMEN (8)

Some of the battles for starting jobs along the line are going to be intriguing during camp. Joeckel and Beadles are safe, but every other spot is up for grabs. Even Pasztor, who started 12 games last season, is uncertain because we don’t know how his surgically repaired shoulder will hold up during camp. If it’s fine, then he will win the starting job at right tackle. McClendon and Linder are battling for the right guard spot, and Brewster is going to have to hold off Bowanko and two others to be the starter at center. Bradfield has value because he can play both tackle spots.

DEFENSIVE LINE (10)

This should be the biggest upgraded position on the roster thanks to the additions of Clemons, Bryant and Hood. Despite public perception, Alualu isn’t on the bubble for two reasons: He played solidly last season, and there really isn’t anyone else on the roster as talented as he is to back up Bryant. The Jags are excited about Smith, who could end up playing more than Davis as the No. 3 LEO (hybrid end/linebacker) by the time the season is over.

LINEBACKERS (6)

Either John Lotulelei or J.T. Thomas, two key special teams players last season, could stick if the Jaguars decide to keep an extra linebacker instead of five cornerbacks, or if Hayes’ surgically repaired knee doesn’t respond well. Reynolds did a solid job subbing for Watson (groin) during OTAs and minicamp at the new OTTO position (replaces strongside linebacker).

CORNERBACKS (5)

The Jags will have to decide whether to keep fourth-year player Mike Harris or Jeremy Harris, a seventh-round pick in 2013 who spent his rookie season on injured reserve with a back injury. The 6-2, 185-pound Jeremy Harris is a better fit for what coach Gus Bradley wants in his cornerbacks than the 5-10, 188-pound Mike Harris, who was a member of former GM Gene Smith’s final draft class. Blackmon has been working inside as well, which also makes Mike Harris expendable. Fourth-round draft pick Aaron Colvin will begin the season on the PUP list and doesn't count against the roster limit.

SAFETIES (4)
Chris Prosinski has seemingly been a bubble player since he was drafted in the fourth round in 2011, but there is too much competition for him to survive this time. Martin started 36 games for Carolina in his first five seasons, and that experience gives him the edge. Evans seems to be the name everyone mentions when talking about the first Caldwell draft pick to get cut, but though he might lose his starting job to Guy, he’s likely to stick around at least another year.

SPECIALISTS (3)

These guys should have little or no competition to make the roster.

Rapid Reaction: Jacksonville Jaguars

November, 17, 2013
11/17/13
4:07
PM ET

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- A few thoughts on the Jacksonville Jaguars' 27-14 loss to the Arizona Cardinals.

What it means: The Jaguars were trying to achieve something that hasn't happened since 2010: win back-to-back games. They beat Tennessee and Oakland in consecutive weeks in December that season but have won just eight games since. There is a silver lining in the loss, though. Tampa Bay was routing the Falcons, which leaves the Jaguars as the league's only team with a single victory and puts them in the lead for the No. 1 overall selection in the 2014 draft.

Stock watch: Punter Bryan Anger had perhaps his best game of the season, averaging nearly 50 yards per punt and pinning the Cardinals deep in their own territory. In the third quarter alone he forced the Cardinals into starting drives on their 9-, 10- and 2-yard line. Anger kept the Jaguars in the game while the offense sputtered in the second half. Cornerback Alan Ball had a solid game, too, by breaking up four passes in the first half -- three of which were intended for Michael Floyd.

TOs overturned: The Jaguars had what appeared to be two turnovers deep in Arizona territory wiped out. Patrick Peterson fumbled a punt at his own 10-yard line. Three Jaguars pounced on the ball but somehow Peterson came out with it and the Cardinals retained possession. Replays appeared to show long-snapper Carson Tinker coming out of the pile with the ball and the Jaguars challenged the play, but officials upheld the ruling on the field. Two plays later, middle linebacker Russell Allen intercepted Carson Palmer's pass to Larry Fitzgerald, but officials announced after the play that the Cardinals had called timeout before the snap.

Sneaky: The Jaguars scored their first touchdown on an interesting fourth-and-1 call. They lined up at their own 38 with extra tight ends. The Cardinals played run all the way, and the play-action fake allowed recently acquired tight end Danny Noble to get behind the first level of defenders. Chad Henne hit him with a good pass and Noble broke a tackle to score a 62-yard touchdown. What made the play work is the fact that Noble is a blocking tight end who had played in only five games and never had a catch until Sunday.

What's next: The Jaguars will play at Houston on Sunday.

Special-teams mistakes doom Jaguars

October, 13, 2013
10/13/13
10:25
PM ET
DENVER -- A lot of the roster moves the Jacksonville Jaguars have made over the past two months have been to improve on special teams.

They really struggled during the first half of the preseason, but those signings helped stabilize the units. But the problems the Jaguars had on special teams during Sunday’s 35-19 loss to the Denver Broncos had nothing to do with personnel.

It was execution and one questionable decision.

[+] EnlargeDavid Bruton
Jerilee Bennett/Colorado Springs Gazette/MCT via Getty ImagesDavid Bruton's 35-yard run on a fake punt was just one of the Jaguars' special-teams miscues.
"We went in with the mindset that we’re going to be aggressive in this game," Jaguars coach Gus Bradley said. "Instead of [how] maybe some thought we would back off, we wanted to be the other way. We wanted to be really aggressive."

That’s why Bradley called for a fake punt on the Jaguars’ first possession. It was a gutsy call because the Jaguars were on their own 26-yard line. But it showed his players that he wasn’t kidding about being aggressive.

It was a sound call, too, because the Jaguars saw something on tape that they believed they could exploit. It wasn’t a spur-of-the-moment decision. Not a bad gamble at all, considering the winless Jaguars had been 28-point underdogs.

But the fake itself was questionable at best. It was fourth-and-4 and fullback Will Ta’ufo’ou took a direct snap and tried to run up the middle. There was no room, just a pile of bodies. Not surprisingly, he gained just 1 yard, and the Jaguars gave Denver the ball on their 27-yard line.

"We felt like we had something," Bradley said. "[We] reviewed it and we talked about it and we felt like from the 20 to the 40 in that situation we could maybe steal a series."

Six plays later, the Broncos led 7-0.

The Jaguars’ two other big special-teams mistakes were because of poor execution. Rookie long-snapper Carson Tinker bounced a snap about a foot in front of holder Bryan Anger, who couldn't corral it and ended up being tackled for a 14-yard loss.

"Sometimes rookies make mistakes," Bradley said. "We talk about Josh [Evans] and Cyp [John Cyprien] and some other rookies that do it. You know, he’s a rookie, too. I guess sometimes that can happen at inopportune times."

The Jaguars got burned again late in the third quarter. The Broncos ran a fake punt on fourth-and-2 from their own 48-yard line, with David Bruton taking a direct snap and going around left end for a 35-yard gain.

It was perfect timing. The Jaguars were trailing by only 11 points, had just forced what they thought was a three-and-out and were thinking of possibly making it a one-score game. It was a well-designed play, too. Bruton is a safety, not a fullback. And he ran outside, not into the middle of the line. Nobody even saw him until he blew by the first-down marker.

Being aggressive was a sound plan, and it’s something the Jaguars should continue to do. But it’s not going to work if they continue to make small mistakes.
DENVER -- A few thoughts on the Jacksonville Jaguars' 35-19 loss to the Denver Broncos:

What it means: If there are such things as moral victories in football, the Jaguars got one on Sunday. They came in as 28-point underdogs -- which tied the mark for the largest point spread in NFL history -- and ended up losing by 16 points. That still doesn’t change the fact that the Jaguars are one of only three winless teams. They are improving, especially on offense. The offensive line, until late in the third quarter when it gave up two sacks in three plays, did a solid job in pass protection. It’s odd to think the defense did a good job in giving up 35 points, but the Broncos had scored more than 50 points in back-to-back games and were averaging 46 per game. The Jaguars didn’t give up a lot of big plays and made the Broncos work. Plus, linebacker Paul Posluszny returned an interception for a touchdown late in the first half.

Stock watch: There can't be any remaining doubt regarding how important receiver Justin Blackmon is to the offense. The team’s two best offensive performances have come the past two weeks and that coincides with Blackmon’s return from his four-game suspension. What made his performance even more impressive on Sunday was that it came without leading receiver Cecil Shorts. He left the game after suffering a shoulder sprain on the third offensive snap and did not return. Blackmon finished with 14 catches for 190 yards.

Not-so-special teams: The Jaguars made three huge special-teams gaffes. Coach Gus Bradley called for a fake punt from his own 26-yard line on the first possession. The ball was snapped directly to fullback Will Ta’ufo’ou, who tried to run up the middle but gained only 1 yard. Denver scored six plays later. Long-snapper Carson Tinker bounced a snap on a failed field goal attempt. The Broncos also converted a fake punt of their own for a 35-yard gain.

What’s next: The Jaguars play host to San Diego on Sunday.

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