Coach Del Rio's chair is more uncomfortable than a 110 degree Florida day in August

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The pressure is on Jack Del Rio to win or find a good real estate agent. Jacksonville has the bad luck of playing in the same division with two perennial powerhouse teams in the AFC South. But the time for excuses is over. Win now or …

The offense has struggled for the last several years and the off season moves have not helped. QB David Garrard has to produce this season to improve the record and get into the playoffs. He has to win to keep his job as well. Garrard has lost more weapons that he got in return in the off season. Fred Taylor is gone along with his top 3 receivers from last years team. For the OTA’s, Del Rio bought three cases of “Hello My name is” labels.

Garrard was a 80-83 passer rating QB throwing about as many TDs as picks until 2007. That year he burned up defenses with a rating of 102.2 with 18 TDs and only 3 picks. After getting back from an injury in week 11 he threw 12 TDs in 6 games but was out again week 17. There was great anticipation for his 08 season but the golden coach turned back into a pumpkin and he ended up with a rating of 81.1 with 15 TDs and 11 picks.

His familiar targets are gone. Former 1st round picks Matt Jones and Reggie Williams were busts and ex Brown Dennis Northcutt had a breakout season and left as a FA. His new receivers will include Torry Holt, who has to trim his beard so he won’t trip over it, and a bunch of no names. That list includes the significantly underachiever Troy Williamson and Mike Walker, Mike Thomas, Jarett Dillard, Tiquan Underwood, Nate Hughes, Maurice Dupree, and Todd Peterson. Garrard will have to depend on TE Marcedes Lewis because I see a lot of drops in the list of WRs.

The running game is totally in the hands of Maurice Jones-Drew. The super-sub is going to have to prove he can carry the big load. But as he has gotten more carries in his three years, his average has gone from 5.7 in 06 to 4.6 in 07 to 4.2 in 08 with 197 carries. At 5-7 208, you have to wonder if he can take the pounding from a 275 carry season. He is an above average receiver. The ex-RB now FB Greg Jones will use his 254 lbs to clear the way for MJD and will get more than the 2 carries he got last year.

The Offensive line last year was—well offensive. The starters will be totally different this year. There is talent there and it had better come together quickly. Both projected starting guards Maurice Williams and Vince Manuwai are coming back from injuries that cost them the entire 08 season. They are both talented but have to prove they are ready to contribute again. Eugene Monroe and Eben Britton were the teams first 2 picks. Monroe should start at LT with Britton being a key reserve. C Brad Meester is excellent but RT Tony Pashos will be pushed by ex-Eagle UFA Tra Thomas.

Everyone on the D line is going to have to step it up. The group of DEs Derrick Harvey and Reggie Hayward and DTs John Henderson and Derek Landri are projected to start. Henderson was outstanding when his running mate was Marcus Stroud and gets a lot more double teams without him. Hayward is coming off a season ending injury. The line must generate more sacks and pressures if the D is going to get back to the top of the league. Chances are they will not.

The linebacking is shaky at best and there is no quality depth. Daryl Smith will play outside this season and Justin Durant will be in the middle. Both are changes from last year. The jury is out on how this configuration will perform.

The D backfield will undergo another shakeup this season after a below average 08. CB Rashean Mathis is the only proven player and was not as good last season as in 07. SS FA Sean Considine has a lock on the position but I think he is over rated. FS Reggie Nelson is athletic but very inconsistent. The rest are just the rest and nothing special.

OVERALL: Jacksonville will at best be 3rd in the division and unfortunately have a new coach in 2010.

That’s what I think. Tell me what you think.

Bill Smith is a former coach of several semi-pro teams, has officiated both football and basketball, done color on radio for college football and basketball and has scouted talent. He is a senior writer for and edits https://fryingpansports.com. He has also published several novels on and edits .

Technorati Tags: NFL,NFL Draft,Jacksonville,Jaguars,Del Rio,Garrard,Northcutt,Holt,Jones-Drew,Jones,Manuwai,Meester,Britton,Pashos,Thomas,Stroud,Henderson

Introducing the United Football League

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Fryingpan Sports

Introducing the United Football League

UFL

By Bill Smith

No professional football in Los Angeles? There will be soon—maybe. The United Professional Football league may be coming to a town near you. Right now there are franchises being organized in LA and Los Vegas with other promised soon.

Commissioner Michael Huyghue has NFL experience when he served as the Vice-President for personnel for the Jacksonville. He has been joined by former USFL Oakland Invaders minority partner William Hambrecht, a Wall Street investor. Tim Armstrong, a senior executive at Google is also reportedly involved.

The league plans to play on Thursday and Friday nights in late summer and fall with a championship game in late November. UFLAccess contributor Fran Stuchbury reported that Jim Fassel will be the first coach of the Las Vegas entry into the United Football League. Fassel, the former New York Giants head coach, lends credibility to the new league which is something that any new effort needs.

The league is looking to start small with only 6 franchises in its first season. Among the cities under consideration are Hartford (CT), Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Monterrey (Mexico), New York, Orlando, Salt Lake City and San Francisco according to OurSportsCentral.com. The league expects to announce the final list of teams next month.

According to an interview with Commissioner Huyghue on UFLAccess.com the league is expecting to have a television network deal and has lined up investors for the six planned franchises. The current plan is to price tickets at less than half of an NFL one. They are planning on using existing stadiums and Huyghue also said he has identified a pool of 300 players.

I think the UFL would be good for pro football. There are a lot of players that have potential but are not ready for the NFL. With NFL Europe folding there is a need for a developmental league. The USFL proved that football can be successful in smaller markets like Birmingham and Orlando. Where the USFL went wrong was to try to outspend the NFL for top talent. There was insufficient revenue to support that level of salary expense.

It looks like the UFL is starting small which is smart. There is a market. There are players that come from small colleges, Arena Football, or were never able to become eligible for college. The key is local support in paid attendance and a decent national TV contract. If Huyghue can pull those rabbits out of his UFL helmet, he has a chance. I know I will watch if it is on Dish Network.

That’s what I think. Tell me what you think.

Technorati Tags: Los Angeles,United Professional Football league,UFL,Huyghue,Commissioner,USFL,Oakland,Invaders,Hambrecht,Jacksonville,Armstrong,Google,UFLAccess,Fassel,Giants,New York,Las Vegas,Hartford,Monterrey,Orlando,Salt Lake City,San Francisco,OurSportsCentral.com,NFL Europe,Birmingham,Dish Network

Bill Smith is a former coach of several semi-pro teams, has officiated both football and basketball, done color on radio for college football and basketball and has scouted talent. He is a senior writer for and edits https://fryingpansports.com. He has also published several novels on and edits .

My email is [email protected]

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