Jaguars Strategy and Personnel
Troy Williamson has the most experience. He started 22 games in his last two seasons with the Minnesota Vikings in 2006 and '07, but he's made it to the starting lineup just three times in his two years with the Jaguars. Mike Thomas has more than that, having started four games last year as a rookie. And after that, the next four top receivers have combined for a total of 15 games in the NFL with no starts among them. If at least two of the group of six receivers behind Sims-Walker doesn't space themselves from the rest of the pact, look for the Jaguars to try and land a veteran that gets cut loose by his team sometime during training camp.
BATTLE OF THE WEEK: OG Vince Manuwai versus Justin Smiley/Kynan Fortney. This trio will likely contend for the starting right guard spot throughout training camp. Manuwai was a fixture at the left guard spot since 2003, except for 2008 when he suffered a torn ACL in the season opener. He's now flip-flopped with last year's starter at right guard, Uch Nwaneri, but Manuwai must ward off the challenges of Smiley and Fortney, both of whom have been starters with other NFL teams before coming to the Jaguars. All are about the same size, but Manuwai has nastiness to him unmatched by the others and is a favorite among his teammates.
OTHER BATTLE FRONTS: WR Mike Thomas vs. Troy Williamson, Jarett Dillard, Nate Hughes for No. 2 receiver spot. Thomas is likely to win this battle as Williamson hasn't shown the consistency needed, Dillard is still on PUP and Hughes doesn't have game-like experience to match Thomas at this stage. ... At OLB, Justin Durant holds the lead on Russell Allen but the latter is close and this battle is too close to call at this point. S Reggie Nelson vs. Sean Considine and Anthony Smith. While Nelson is prone to make mistakes and his tackling is questionable, there's no denying his athletic ability. His natural talent has kept him in the lead in this tight battle.
PLAYER OF THE WEEK: It's early as the team has only had several practices at this point, but already Aaron Kampman is establishing himself as a solid fixture at the defensive end spot. He continues to receive praise from the defensive staff for his work and play on the field and will likely turn into one of the team leaders in the locker room as well. If he stays healthy and is not bothered by the knee injury from last year, he could be the team's best find for the beleaguered defensive line that came under such harsh criticism a year ago.
ROOKIE REPORT: The Jaguars have exchanged figures with the agent of Tyson Alualu, the team's No. 1 draft pick who is now the third consecutive top draft pick of the Jaguars to be a holdout. Jaguars owner Wayne Weaver and coach Jack Del Rio both expressed optimism earlier in the week that a deal would be reached soon, but that same talk hasn't been heard from Alualu's camp ... DT D'Anthony Smith has shown good hustle and desire on the field but also shows he has plenty to learn. He's likely to earn a spot in the rotation behind starters Alualu (when he reports) and last year's rookie standout Terrance Knighton ... DEs Larry Hart and Austen Lane also figure prominently in the Jaguars' plans. Both will likely play behind starters Derrick Harvey and Kampman. Hart may be slightly ahead of Lane in the early camp outings ... Deji Karim and Scotty McGee's best chance of playing time will be as kick return specialists as well as other special teams play. Karim is also a running back but well behind No. 2 back Rashad Jennings while McGee doesn't figure in the plans in the secondary at this stage.