The Jaguars unveiled a “new” version of their logo, a slightly larger and mouthier cat with racing stripes for whiskers. The symbolism, according to owner Wayne Weaver is a new look “that will stand the test of time”. In other words, something that makes the team feel less loser-ish about itself.
Weaver was actually pretty funny with his “a little bit of a modern flair, but still a classic look” soundbytes. Clearly its a new vibe they want, but will the Jaguars be the same old cats when they take the gridiron in '09? So far their offseason has been eerily similar to 2008. They scooped up an over-the-hill receiver that they say will solve their lack of a deep threat (Torry Holt, last year it was Jerry Porter) and they threw a pile of money at a superstar that had an up-and-down season (Maurice Jones-Drew, last year it was David Garrard). And they enter the draft with obvious holes one their offensive and defensive lines. Again.
The conventional wisdom has the Jaguars selecting Texas Tech WR Michael Crabtree with the 8th pick in this weekend's draft. Even leaving Crabtree's injury concerns out of the conversation, the pick (and the overall strategy of leaving the offensive and defensive lines as is) concerns me because last season's hopes evaporated due to a lack of toughness and consistency in the trenches. And one fears a repeat if nothing is done to shore up.
Optimistically, I suppose its possible last year's first two picks can improve dramatically and be a force on the defensive interior. The Jaguars believed in Derrick Harvey and Quentin Groves a year ago, so I guess ownership is betting on their making a lot of progress, because last year I hardly saw them on the field and when I did I wished they had stayed on the bench.
On the offensive line the Jaguars are counting on big returns from Vincent Manuwai and Maurice Williams, who missed all of last season with injuries; and Brad Meester, who missed half the season. Again, I can only infer the Jaguars are confident in this regard otherwise they wouldn't be interested in drafting Crabtree or West Virginia QB Pat White in the third round for that matter.
Some may disagree with my negative take on Holt. Torry himself insists the reports of his demise were greatly exaggerated. Holt stated that “Everyone struggled” in his last year in St. Louis. Hey, I got news bubby, everyone struggled in Jacksonville too, and now they're counting on you to make a difference. So does Torry want to scoop up a big contract and then later say “it wasn't my fault, the team sucks,” or is he really going to come in and make a difference? Stay tuned Jags fans!
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Written by Mark Reichman