Jaguars Will Cope Without Jones

Matt Jones (Washington County)

ESPN is reporting that Jaguars wide receiver Matt Jones will be suspended by the NFL for three games for a violation of the league's personal conduct policy stemming from his arrest over the summer. How will the Jaguars cope for nearly a quarter of their season without Jones?

A year ago, the thought of the Jaguars being without Matt Jones for three weeks would hardly raise an eyebrow, as Jones was a non-factor in the team's offense. Following his arrest this year, Jones reasserted himself and was well on his way to a career year. Through the Jaguars first six games, Jones has 30 receptions for 338 yards and a touchdown, and is on pace to shatter all of his career marks.

"I'm getting to play a little bit (more) this year. It's no fun sitting on the sidelines. The games are a lot more fun when you're out there," Jones said.

Jones has transformed himself into the Jaguars best possession receiver, and the team will have to find someone to take his place over the next three games. Fortunately, the team has a few options in Jones' absence. The Jaguars big free agent acquisition, Jerry Porter has been a non-factor for the team due to a hamstring injury that required surgery. With Porter supposedly nearing full health, the Jaguars will have a legitimate number one receiver.

With Jones out of the lineup, there could be more opportunities for Reggie Williams, who is off to a slow start with just 14 receptions on the season. Although Williams has been disappointing, his hands and route running are solid. Another player who can benefit from the absence of Jones is Dennis Northcutt. Northcutt was originally brought in to be a slot receiver, and the emergence of Jones and punt returner Brian Witherspoon has relegated Northcutt to little more than an afterthought in the Jaguars offense. After being inactive for two consecutive weeks, Northcutt saw action against Denver due to injuries to both Mike Walker and Brian Witherspoon. Northcutt contributed by catching three passes for 42 yards.

The final player who could receive more snaps due to Matt Jones absence is Troy Williamson. The speedy Williamson was bothered by various leg injuries this season, but appears to be healthy now. The former seventh-overall pick by Minnesota has just two catches on the season, but showed his potential last week as he caught a would-be 69-yard bomb that was called back due to a holding penalty. Williamson has legitimate number one receiver speed, and could be a contributor with some more reps.

Without a doubt, Matt Jones has been the Jaguars most productive receiver this season and he will be missed while he serves his suspension, but the team certainly has enough talent to get by without him for three weeks.

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