Jaguars Strategy and Personnel

Jaguars Strategy and Personnel

The concern about the wide receiver position continues to grow. Earlier in the week, the Jaguars signed rookie wide receiver Derrick Townsel and cut rookie receiver Jason Harmon. Townsel was on vacation in Chicago when the Jaguars reached him and invited him to camp. He's had previous tryouts with Washington and Houston but has not made an NFL roster yet.



It shows the Jaguars are still looking to fill spots at this position. They have a number of young players on the roster now, but other than Mike Sims-Walker and Mike Thomas, there are no assurances for a roster spot for any of the other young receivers. Injuries have slowed Jarett Dillard and Nate Hughes while neither Tiquan Underwood nor Clarence Denmark have distinguished themselves thus far. Veteran Troy Williamson has looked the best among the group at the wideout spot.

Player Notes

--CB Don Carey was claimed off waivers from Cleveland last season even though he had been waived/injured because the team saw potential in the rookie defensive back. He spent the year on IR last year, and now he's challenging veteran Rashean Mathis for a starting job.

--WR Clarence Denmark, an undrafted rookie a year ago, made it to the final cut a year ago, then spent the last four weeks on the team's practice squad. He had a solid showing throughout the OTAs but has yet to show the same in training camp.

--TE Zach Potter was signed to Jaguars practice squad a year ago and is still strides in his conversion of a defensive end in college to tight end in the NFL. The Jaguars like his size and speed but he's got to learn the position as quickly as possible.

--OL Daniel Baldridge was signed as an undrafted rookie and is likely headed to the team's practice squad. But at 6-8, 311 pounds, he has the make-up to compete for a backup tackle spot behind the Jaguars two, second-year starters in Eugene Monroe and Eben Britton.

--DT Kommonyan Quaye was signed as an undrafted rookie with good potential. His opportunity to make the roster increased when rookie DT D'Anthony Smith suffered an Achilles injury that will likely sideline him for the season. Quaye could be in line for a backup spot with the practice squad as an alternative.

Battle of the week: WR Troy Williamson vs. Jaguars young receivers. Williamson is looking to begin his third season with the Jaguars after spending three years with the Minnesota Vikings. Whether he makes it a third year in Jacksonville will depend if he can hold off the challenge of three young receivers -- Tiquan Underwood, Nate Hughes and Jarett Dillard. Hughes and Dillard have been slowed with injuries this week and Underwood has yet to distinguish himself on the field. Thus far, Williamson is winning the battle for the No. 3 receiver spot and could challenge Mike Thomas for the No. 2 spot.

"I think Troy, after having a pretty mild spring, I think he's stepped it up in the first week of camp," Del Rio said. "I think he's worked at it. He always could run. I think he feels more and more confident."

Other battle fronts: CB Don Carey vs. Rashean Mathis. It's surprising to mention that anyone would be challenging Mathis, the team's defensive leader and former Pro Bowl pick. But missing all of the OTAs may be having an effect on Mathis' conditioning. While he was sitting out the OTAs in protest of wanting his contract restructured, Carey filled in and looked sharp. The two are closer to battling for a starting spot than what was originally expected ...

C Brad Meester vs. Uche Nwaneri. The veteran Meester is having a good camp thus far, coming on the heels of a strong showing in OTAs. Nwaneri will start at guard if he doesn't beat out Meester at center, a spot that he'll undoubtedly hold next year ...

LB Justin Durant vs. Richard Allen. Durant has been the starter in 25 games the last two years compared to Allen's five starts as an undrafted rookie last year. But Clint Ingram started 13 games for the Jaguars a year ago and he was released in the offseason. Durant is winning this battle so far, but Allen is pushing him every day.

Player of the Week: TE Marcedes Lewis -- the Jaguars have been waiting four years for the former first-round pick to show his talents and it may be ready to happen this season. He's shredded some weight from a year ago and has looked strong in practice sessions thus far.

"I slimmed down a little bit; I feel better," he said. "I'm really trying to focus on each play in its entirety. I've taken leaps and bounds from where I was last year."

The change in Lewis has not gone unnoticed by the Jaguars coaching staff.

"The most dominant player on our football team in the first week has been Marcedes," Jaguars coach Jack Del Rio said. "He's been absolutely sensational -- blocking, catching, leading, sending the right message with his actions along with the things he's saying and standing up for."

Rookie Report: DT Tyson Alualu reported after holding out for five days and has some catching up to do. Once he's in top shape and grabs the concepts, he'll move into a starting spot. The team won't rush him into that starting spot however ...

DT D'Anthony Smith who was expected to add valuable depth to the D-line is likely out for the season with an Achilles issue ...

D-ends Larry Hart and Austen Lane have shown flashes of good play, though both are nursing some injury issues. The team might have Lane's knee checked ...

RB/KR Deji Karim has turned some heads early in training camp with his running and talents as a kick returner.

Injury Report: The injury to D'Anthony Smith is by far the most serious thus far. The team hasn't placed him on season-ending IR yet, but that could be announced next week. It's a blow to the D-line as Smith would have figured high in the rotation at the tackle spot. WR Nate Hughes was at Saturday's mock scrimmage on the sidelines with his arm in a sling ...

No. 1 draft choice Tyson Alualu missed Friday's scrimmage with a calf injury ...

LB Daryl Smith (hamstring), DE Aaron Kampman (surgically-repaired ACL) and WR Mike Sims-Walker (precautionary measures because of past injury history) have all missed time on the field thus far.

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