Jacksonville Jaguars: Wanted – A Veteran Wide Receiver
I am not pleading for the Jaguars to find the next Jimmy Smith or Keenan McCardell – although, a clone of either one from their prime years would help this club tremendously.
Jacksonville needs a wide receiver with at least six years of locker-room experience, the ability to pass along hard-earned wisdom to the young receiving corps and the skill to still make an impact on the playing field.
Last season, Holt was able to deliver on all three. Prior to joining the Jaguars, his ten years of experience paired with a Hall of Fame resume were the perfect combination for a teacher in the Jaguars’ locker room.
On the football field, Holt contributed with 51 receptions and 722 receiving yards. Even with no touchdowns in 2008, he was third on the Jaguars in receptions and second in receiving yards.
Jacksonville was the best landing spot for Holt. And, Holt was the best transitional answer for a club in need of much-needed leadership.
During Holt’s first press conference in Jacksonville back in April, when asked about mentoring the Jaguars’ young receivers, he stated, “It’s such a great feeling to see young guys come in, and then they’re asking you questions and their eyes are big and they want to improve and then they make these improvements on a day-to-day course and then all of a sudden you have this player, that’s a great feeling to see that and to see that you had a hand in that.”
In my opinion, Jaguars general manager Gene Smith should bring in a veteran receiver with the exact same mentality. Of course, bringing in a player with Holt’s career achievements is nearly out of the question.
However, with five receivers currently on the roster with less than two years of playing experience – Clarence Denmark, Jarett Dillard, Nate Hughes, Mike Thomas and Tiquan Underwood, Jacksonville only has two pass-catchers with a noticeable NFL resume – Mike Sims-Walker and Troy Williamson.
While Williamson is a restricted free agent, his return to Jacksonville is somewhat questionable. So, the Jaguars could have Sims-Walker – who has only started 15 games – as the lone viable No. 1 receiver.
And, certainly, the Jaguars will draft a few wide receivers in April. This organization has followed the attitude over the last year that “younger is better.”
Nevertheless, a veteran presence is a must. I believe Jacksonville should set its sights on the San Diego Chargers’ Malcom Floyd, who is a restricted free agent under the current collective bargaining agreement.
The past week I have pondered the continued productivity of the 36-year-old Baltimore Raven Derrick Mason. But, the Ravens are dead-set on re-signing Mason to be the No. 2 man and/or slot receiver. Also, one-time Charger Chris Chambers could be a potential No. 2 for the Jaguars. He could add 500 receiving yards and at least three touchdowns. Yet, Chambers, 31, will not wear teal and black because of his 2007 arrest for driving while impaired. Bad eggs are not meant for this Jaguars’ squad.
With regards to Floyd, the 28-year-old’s stat line is not at all impressive. In his five seasons of action with the Chargers, he only has 97 catches for 1,597 yards and nine touchdowns. You cannot overlook the fact that Floyd, who has been in San Diego since 2004, has played on the same team as tight end Antonio Gates, running back LaDainian Tomlinson and 1,000-yard receiver Vincent Jackson. Any player is bound to lose touches when those three men are on offense. But, I focus on the facts: Floyd is on the right side of 30, is listed at 6-foot-5 and his potential for on-field production is high.
The suggestion of signing Floyd is merely that. When it comes down to it, the Jacksonville Jaguars need a substitute for the released Holt. A veteran presence for these young receivers is crucial for their future. If Floyd isn’t the correct answer, someone else can be. The Jaguars were better with Holt. And, only by replacing Holt will Jacksonville continue an upward trend of winning on and off the field.
Richard Miller is a national broadcaster for Jacksonville Jaguars’ home games on Sporting News Radio. Additionally, he can be heard on ABC 1320 WBOB in Jacksonville at 5:45 p.m. on Wednesdays with The Jacksonville Observer Radio Show.
Richard contributes to Inside the Game with Robin Valetutto every Saturday from 11 a.m. – 1 p.m.
Currently, Richard is writing David Lamm’s biography entitled Lamm at Large: The David Lamm Story, which will be available in 2010.