JagNation: Ask Charlie - Part II - 01/31/08

Editor-in-Chief, JagNation.com
Posted Jan 31, 2008
Charlie Bernstein, JagNation.com


Second part of our series where fans can submit questions via the forums. Today Charlie will discuss the performance of some key players, assistant coach protocol, the collective bargaining agreement, and more...

Is Rashean Mathis as good as his 2006 season or was the production in the secondary he had that year a direct result of teams throwing at him? Do you think he can regain his All Pro status? (Hombre, FL)

    It was obvious to anyone watching that Rashean Mathis didn't have anywhere near as good of a season in 2007 than he did in 2006. Teams saw that he was "looking" into the backfield too much and made him a target, and they were successful doing it. I don't think it was a dropoff in talent as much as a technique issue. Mathis can easily regain his status as one of the best corners in the game in 2008 by tackling better and rededicating himself, he's only 27.

How do you see Stroud and Peterson playing out for next year? are they both still here, or if one is gone who do you think it is, or do they ask them to restructure? (Pimp, FL)

    Both Peterson and Stroud are due some hefty salaries for 2008 (I believe that Peterson tops $4.5 million with salary and bonus, and Stroud has a $5 million salary). Clearly, they didn't live up to those earnings with their play in 2007, and both have missed significant time with injuries recently. Peterson's broken arm will likely heal fully and he is still a very solid football player. Stroud's crystal ball seems a little more cloudy with his series of recent foot injuries. As we've seen in the last few years, there's always a need for depth on any NFL roster, and just because it may seem like the Jaguars have viable replacements for these players on the roster, doesn't mean they will hold up or play at the same high level that both Peterson and Stroud have shown for the bulk of their careers. That being said, a restructure may be in order to get maximum value on the field out of the dollars spent. If they won't restructure, I would imagine the team would let them compete in training camp and see where the competition goes.

Also Charlie, when a coach in under contract like Mike Smith, Dave Campo, and they leave for another opportunity does the team get cash or does the other team buy out their contract how does that work with assistant coaches? (Pimp, FL)

    Normally teams will let their assistants go to pursue better opportunities.

The team has several players that they drafted (or signed undrafted) who were highly rated (1st rounders maybe) before there final season and stock dropped from injury or behavior. Mike Walker is mentioned a lot, but Brian Smith was a single season pass rush phenom, and Tony McDaniel also fits the profile (the behavior guy, undrafted, but 1st round potential before last season of college) and played very well his first year before getting hurt in 07. Walker and Smith seem like they drafted them intending to IR them for a season. Which of these guys do you see most likely to have an impact in the next couple years and do you see any college players out there the 'Guars may look out that fit this pattern ? (Chris, MO)

    I'm not sure that Mike Walker and Brian Smith were drafted with the intention of having them spend their rookie seasons on IR, but I'm sure the team knew it could be a possibility. Mike Walker looked like the Jaguars best receiver through mini-camps and must of training camp before experiencing some setbacks in game action during the preseason. I certainly believe the Walker could be an impact player in the NFL due to his polished route running skills, strong hands, and body control. Brian Smith is still an unknown, as he was very effective in college, but lacks the size (6'3", 236 lbs.) to be an every downs defensive end. McDaniel played well in the defensive tackle rotation as a rookie, and big things are expected from him next year as a rotational tackle. I haven't fully examined the draft eligible players yet, and I will likely know more after the combine.

Can you re-examine what will take place if the majority of NFL owners opt out of the current collective bargaining agreement in the next year or two? (Alan, GA)

    It's more than possible that the current group of owners will opt out of the current CBA due to the increasing salary cap and the revenue structure. If they opt out and don't get a new deal approved, it's possible that there could be an uncapped season, and a possible lockout.

How many primetime games do you see the Jaguars getting this season? Do you ever think they will have the national appeal to play internationally, ala London? (Hombre, FL)

    The Jaguars seemed to turn into America's darlings during their stretch run, and they certainly became America's team the night they took on the Patriots. I would expect the Jaguars to get maybe two primetime games, and possibly play on Thanksgiving. As for an international game, I believe the trend has been home teams that have lower attendance percentages (Miami, New Orleans) against a more marketable team (N.Y. Giants, San Diego). The Jaguars certainly fit in one of those categories.


Charlie Bernstein is the Editor-in-Chief of JagNation.com, and a regular syndicated contributor to FoxSports.com, Sirius NFL Radio, MySpace Sports and Sportsillustrated.com. Charlie is also a member of the Pro Football Writers Association, and is a columnist for the New Smyrna Observer. Feel free to contact him -HERE- with questions or comments.



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