Reggie Williams (Phil Coale/AP)
The Jaguars aren’t quite one week into training camp practices, and the team has already lost two starters, and their first-round pick, defensive end Derrick Harvey is no closer to being signed. Whereas the opening week hasn’t quite been a nightmare for head coach Jack Del Rio, there have been many more negatives than positives early on.
On the injury front, the Jaguars activated wide receiver Reggie Williams from the PUP list yesterday, only to have him practice on some slick turf last night and reinjure his knee. Jaguars.com reported earlier today that Williams’ knee will require surgery, and it is unknown how much time he’ll miss.
“Reggie will require surgery for his cartilage,” Del Rio said. “He’ll need a little cleanout. He should return. Once I get a timeline, I’ll let you know.”
This was just a day or so after center Brad Meester injured his right biceps, which required a trip to Birmingham, Alabama to visit world renowned doctor James Andrews. At this point it is also unclear how much time Meester will be out for.
Injuries to starters are a way of life in the NFL and nobody is going to feel sorry for the Jaguars. Jacksonville has some experienced depth on the offensive line in Dennis Norman, and Meester’s injury could open up a spot for a youngster such as Uche Nwaneri or Drew Miller to shine.
As for the wide receiver position, this was a critical year for Reggie Williams, as he was playing for a new contract after three seasons as a bust, then a breakout 2007 in which he set a new franchise record for touchdown receptions. The Williams injury could open up a spot for embattled receiver Matt Jones, who has had a fantastic camp thus far or John Broussard, who has legitimate deep speed.
As for the Derrick Harvey contract situation, the Jaguars may not have been completely prepared for what the market would bear for the eighth-overall pick. Defensive end Vernon Gholston of the New York Jets (drafted sixth-overall) signed a five-year, $50 million deal with $21 million in guaranteed money. Saints first-round pick Sedrick Ellis signed a deal last night and reportedly received $19 million in guaranteed cash. Harvey and his agent are looking for somewhat similar numbers.
“Hopefully, he wants to be here so bad that we can work something out,” said Jaguars head coach Jack Del Rio.
The more time that Harvey misses, the more it will affect his chances of earning a starting job. Veteran defensive end Reggie Hayward has shown no effects of a gimpy Achilles tendon which hampered him the last two seasons, and former seventh-round pick James Wyche has also turned heads in training camp.