Jaguar Fans Can Rest Easy with Torry Holt
A nightmare caused me to awake suddenly from a deep sleep. In this nightmare, I was watching a Jacksonville Jaguars game from the press box and realized the team had no wide receivers on the field.
And, in utter bewilderment, I asked other members of the media if the Jaguars were attempting some new football formation like the Wildcat. I was not the only spectator who was puzzled.
I chuckled as I sat up in bed and dabbed the sweat from my brow. As I pieced together the nightmare, I understood that the Jaguars didn’t have a wide receiver. One wasn’t on the field, in the locker room or walking to his vehicle.
Members of the media began shouting for any receiver to replace former Jaguar receivers Jimmy Smith and Keenan McCardell, but no substitutes stepped forward.
None showed his face, not even one who could hold the sweat-drenched towel of either Smith or McCardell. It must have been the fear of reaching 1,000 receiving yards, which Smith accomplished nine times with the Jags.
While my chuckle faded, I knew this dream was a reality. The Jaguars franchise hasn’t had a true No. 1 wide receiver since Smith’s retirement after the 2005 season.
Since Smith’s departure, the team has been searching from sea to shining sea for a suitable and consistent replacement.
It’s been three long seasons and without a Jimmy Smith substitute, the team has performed exactly at a .500 level. Since the start of the 2006 season, a 25-25 (including a 1-1 playoff record) win-loss record has made three years feel like thirty.
The situation is worsened by the fact that the Jaguars wide receivers from the 2006 opening day roster are no longer with the team.
I understand that being a top-notch NFL player is extremely difficult. But, analyzing the position is not.
I analyze the basics for a serviceable NFL wide receiver by accumulating four statistics.
First, how many games did he play during the NFL regular season? If he can stay injury-free, twelve games is not much to request.
Secondly, he needs to get open, and while he’s in the open field, catching the ball should not be difficult. The quarterback plays a major role in this, but a WR’s job is to free himself of defenders and catch the ball. It’s not rocket science.
Thirdly, yards after the catch (YAC) cannot be overlooked, but I focus more on total receptions over YAC.
Lastly, and most importantly, a serviceable receiver can produce touchdowns. Slowly, a serviceable one can become an elite one. Keep it basic. Score points, and you get noticed.
In the three seasons since Smith’s exodus, the Jaguars have played twelve wide receivers. From any of those three rosters, only two are still with the team (Mike Walker and Troy Williamson).
The NFL Draft is where the Jaguars harvested six of those receivers (Matt Jones, Chad Owens, Ernest Wilford, Reggie Williams, Walker and John Broussard).
From the 2006, 2007 and 2008 rosters, three of the twelve receivers were brought in as undrafted free agents. Those additions (Cortez Hankton, Charles Sharon and D’Juan Woods) were disappointments as Jaguars. Those three played a total of thirteen NFL games (Hankton played twelve) and caught five balls for 48 yards (all from Hankton).
The remaining three WRs came to Jacksonville as off-season free agent signings. In 2007, former Cleveland Brown Dennis Northcutt arrived on the First Coast. The next off-season, ex-Oakland Raider Jerry Porter and one-time Minnesota Viking Troy Williamson embarked on a tenuous journey to help Jags fans feel comfortable at the wide receiver position.
Unfortunately for the Jaguar faithful, neither Porter nor Williamson made a mark on the playing field. The two only caught sixteen passes for 211 yards and two touchdowns. Porter blew his opportunities, but Williamson has a few more chances.
If you haven’t noticed, a pattern has been evolving.
For the Draft back in April, the Jaguars used three picks on rookie wide receivers. Mike Thomas (fourth-round pick out of Arizona), Jarett Dillard (fifth-round pick out of Rice) and Tiquan Underwood (seventh-round pick out of Rutgers) are the newest Jags vying to fill Jimmy Smith’s shoes.
Days before the Draft, the Jaguars acquired the best chance at a Smith replacement. Long-time St. Louis Ram Torry Holt can bring the 1,000-yard wide receiver back to Jacksonville. The 33-year-old star’s eight consecutive 1,000-yard seasons are impossible to ignore.
Last season was a down period for Holt (64 catches, 796 yards, 3 touchdowns). But, I have no doubt he will fill the void in the No. 1 receiving position.
In Torry Holt’s ten-year career, he has missed only two regular-season games out of a possible 160.
In addition to that, Holt holds an NFL yearly average of 86.9 receptions for 1,266 receiving yards and 7.4 touchdowns.
And, hopefully, as fast as you can say “Holt for six,” the Jaguars wide-receiving nightmare will stop being a reality.
I hope so. I need some uninterrupted sleep, folks!