If Aaron Kampman returns full strength and can be a productive player from his defensive end position in 2012, it will be like the Jaguars acquired another player through free agency. The team signed Kampman to a four-year, reported $24 million contract two years ago this week, a contract that included $11 million in guaranteed money. The former Green Bay Packers standout hasn't done much to warrant the money he's received thus far.
In 2010, he started the first eight games for the Jaguars before suffering a torn ACL in his right knee that forced him to injured reserve in mid-November. Last year he played sparingly in three games in October and recorded just two tackles in the three games. After being listed inactive the first five weeks of the season and for another four weeks in November and early December, he was again placed on injured reserve, all related to the ACL injury in 2010.
Mularkey was asked about Kampman's recuperation during the offseason and whether he was counting on the 10-year veteran to help the defense in 2012.
"I've talked to Aaron a couple of times. He's really an impressive individual," Mularkey said. "I've know of Aaron just watching him play and I've always thought he's one of the guys you've gotta worry about wrecking a game.
"He's coming along. He's ahead of progress where he's at with his rehab. He's itching to get back to where he's capable of playing.
Kampman is scheduled to make $4.975 million salary in 2012.
--The Jaguars' clean slate of no player involvement with police reports came to an end last week when it was reported that backup defensive tackle Nate Collins was charged with marijuana possession and a window tint violation during a traffic stop in Warrenton, Va. Collins was not taken into custody but was released on a promise to appear. He is scheduled to appear in court on April 19.
The arrest was the first time since 2009 that a player on the Jaguars' roster has been arrested. During the offseason in 2009, three players - safety Gerald Sensabaugh and wide receivers Reggie Williams and Matt Jones - were all arrested for various reasons. All were released by the team shortly thereafter. Sensabaugh is still playing in the NFL but Williams and Jones have not hooked on with anybody.
Collins was stopped for a window tint violation and a state trooper noticed the scent of marijuana. He found marijuana joints in a duffel bag in the trunk of his car.
"We are aware of the incident involving Nate Collins and continue to gather information," the Jaguars said in a statement. "We will have no further comment at this time."
--Jaguars general manager Gene Smith seemed to be sending out mixed messages within the last six weeks regarding how active the team will be in free agency this year. A year ago, the Jaguars made several moves, acquiring defensive starters Paul Posluszny, Clint Session, Dawan Landry and Matt Roth in free agency.
Smith indicated there could be more of the same coming when he was asked about how aggressive the team was going to be in free agency towards the offense and if it was going to be similar to what the club did in free agency with the defense a year ago.
"We'll be very aggressive once we target the players," Smith said at a team pep rally in mid-January. "Just like we were on the defensive side, we'll try to upgrade the weapons on offense."
New Jaguars owner Shad Khan who was sitting on stage with Smith at the time, responded, "Gene, Mike (Mularkey), please do that."
But six weeks later when Smith was asked a similar question at the NFL Combine, his answer seemed to refute what he said in January.
"What took place last year won't be the case this year," Smith was quoted as saying. "It's not a place we want to be overly active year in and year out."
Smith later clarified his thought by adding, "I think he (Khan) understands the philosophy is to build your team through the draft. I think most teams have figured that out. Where you don't want to be is in free agency year in and year out. That's not our philosophy. It's to supplement the college draft."
The problem for the Jaguars this year is that they have so many holes to fill on both sides of the ball, they just about have to rely on picking up several players through free agency to plug some gaps.
--When new Jaguars president Mark Lamping was introduced to the local media via a teleconference call on Feb. 13, he was asked about the size of this market and whether it was fair to expect a city with a little over a million people to sell out a stadium that is larger than what exists in Chicago, a city with over eight million people.
Lamping was quick to note there are some other differences that should be taken into account when comparing the size of NFL markets.
"I never want to have us in a situation where somehow we're using the size of the market as a crutch or an excuse," said Lamping who spent the last four years as president and CEO of MetLife Stadium, home to the New York Giants and the New York Jets. "I can give you the other side of that coin; I'm up here in New York, a metropolitan area of millions and millions of people and the clutter up here is dramatic. I think there are nine professional sports teams that operate in the New York market.
"Let's look at the positive. You've got Jacksonville which, yes, it's not the largest NFL market, but it's the only major-league team that's operating in that market place. Those things that make us different in some cases, make us special, and that's where my focus is going to be.
"I want to make sure we spend all of our time thinking about what success is going to look like compared to what we're going to do if we fail."
QUOTE TO NOTE: "I'm absolutely with every fiber of my body, committed to putting a winner and a Super Bowl right here in Jacksonville, and every person I run into in Jacksonville, I've told them, 'Don't you ever forget it and hold me accountable every time you see me.'" - New Jaguars owner Shahid Khan speaking at a team pep rally on January 17.