Happy New Year Jaguar fans. 2011 was a crazy year, and what better way to reflect on the past year than to reflect on the top headlines as we face the future of the Jacksonville Jaguars franchise.
10. The Orange Hummer Incident
Training Camp started off with a bang this year as someone crashed into the stadium gate with an orange Hummer. The culprit turned out to be Derrick Harvey, who might've been on pins and needles waiting for the NFL Lockout to end. If you have seen Derrick Harvey play during his time as a Jaguar, you can say that he played quite sluggishly and that this incident was probably the first sign of inner fire that we have ever seen from him. However, it looks like the fire wasn't there on the field since he was cut the next day. C'est la vie.
9. The Jaguars Win on Monday Night
Nobody gave the 1-5 Jaguars a chance on that Monday Night Game in October. Every analyst predicted a Raven victory, the intro was all about the Ravens and their awesome defense, and the commentary was all about the Ravens and their imminent reign over the AFC North. It's funny how all of that talk changed when the Jaguars defense took the field and put on a dominant performance that outshined the Ravens. Joe Flaco was harrassed, the receivers were shut down, and Ray Rice (Who is the starter at the Pro Bowl) was rendered ineffective. That was legendary.
8. Free Agency Awesomeness
GM Gene Smith stated that Free Agency would play a major role in the lockout-shortened offseason and he came through on his promise, acquiring players like Paul Posluszny, Dawan Landry and Drew Coleman. All of these players are a big reason why a 29th overall defense became a Top 5 defense in the span of a single year. However, what made this free agent class special were the free agents that werebasicallyty signed off of the street. Nobody expected players like Dwight Lowery, John Chick, and Ashton Youboty to come in and make a difference and they ended up filling in their roles admirably.
7. Maurice Jones-Drew
Okay, we might have to start calling him Jones FREAKING Drew from now on, because that is the only way to describe him. We're running out of adjectives here. His efforts have been a sight to behold. since he was drfated and you have to appreciate it even more with one of the worst passing offenses in team history. Everyone knows that he is going to run 25 times a game and yet he still manages to produce in spite of 8-man fronts and now he has a 128 yard lead on the rusing title. He is also only 136 yards away from Fred Taylor's single season ruishing record. I still find it hard to believe that we could find such an amazing player late in the second round.
6. Horrible Receiver Play
Unfiortunately, when yoiu mention the offense with Maurice Jones-Drew, you also have to mention the poor play of the receivers. You could make the argument that there was a combination of bad coaching, injuries, and new faces to blame for the lack of production, but let's be real. The wide receivers and tight end have sucked, plain and simple. What was a pretty decent group in 2010 has become the biggest stumbling block to the development of the rookie quarterback that isn''t named Guy Whimper.
5. Injuries Galore
Everyone gets tired of the ubiquitous injury excuse, but this has been insane. I have actually lost count at 25 players being placed on IR. Players liek Rashean Mathis, Derek Cox, Eben Britton, and Rashad Jennings have been missed immensely and that is just the tip of the iceberg. Perhaps the lockout did more damage than anyone thought.
4. Davud Garrard Get Cut
Here si the first of the Big Four. The nws of Garrard getting cut was quite a shocker at the time, but one could easily see that the writing was on the wall. He played poorly in the preseason, he wasn't voted as a team captain, and definitely seemed uncomfortable during the games. In hindsight, it's pretty easy to see that when Garrard went down with that back injury right before the first preseason game, his fate was basically sealed.
3. Blaine Gabbert Drafted at #10 in the 2012 NFL Draft
Ah, the second most divisive sports figure in Jacksonville history. Despite what anybody may think about him as a QB or as a person, there was a serious buzz when the Jaguars traded up to get the #1 rated QB in the draft. After all, this was the first time that the Jags selected a QB in the draft since Byron Leftwich in 2003.. The Gabbertmania was rampant during training camp with everybody wanteing to get a glimpse of the attractive new QB with the flowing blonde locks and the rocket arm. And even now, when many of the fans are panning him, he is still being talked about as much as our favorite Pocket Hercules.
2. Jack Del Rio Getting the Axe
I wqasn't particularly down on the guy, but everyone can agree that 9 years was way too long to keep the guy around.He hasn't been to the playoffs for a while and his clock management has been pretty bad at times during the season. The decision to take him out wasn't much of a surprise. The time management was a big factor in the loss against the Browns and the Jaguars were out of playoff contention. This headline alone wasn't enough to put it in the # 2 spot, it was the second bit of news that made everyone's jaw drop.
1. Shahid Khan Becomes the New Owner of the Jaguars
Everybody expected to see Del Rio fired sooner or later, but nobody expected to hear that Wayne Weaver to sold the Jaguars on the same day that he fired JDR. It became one of the craziest days in Jacksonville sports history as everyone was simultaneouslycheering the firing of Jack and researching the new owner. Little did we know that we would be exposed to the glorious Khan-stache, which has spread like wildfire as everyone wanted to look like Captain Lou Albano. Still, it seems that there will be a bright future for professional football in Jacksonville.Tags: Blaine Gabbert, Dawan Landry, Derek Cox, Derrick Harvey, Drew Coleman, Eben Britton, Football, Jacksonville, Jacksonville Jaguars, Jaguars, NFL, Paul Posluszny, Rashad Jennings, Rashean Mathis, Ray Rice