Via Hays Carlyon of the Florida Times-Union, Caldwell told Sirius XM NFL Radio on Monday that the team’s decision to draft two more receivers should provide an indication of the situation with Justin Blackmon.
The Jaguars added Florida State receiver Rashad Greene in the fifth round, and Monmouth receiver Neal Sterling in the seventh. There’s a chance that one, or both, won’t make the 53-man roster. Regardless, the message via the selection of two receivers is that the Jaguars are no longer holding a spot for Blackmon.
And for good reason. He last played in October 2013, and there’s no indication that he has remained clean long enough to get reinstated. There’s no indication, as recently noted by Big Cat Country, that Blackmon even wants to be reinstated.
The Jaguars already had a pretty good stable of young receiving talent in the form of Allen Robinson, Marqise Lee and Allen Hurns. The fact that they drafted two more receivers indicates that they're looking to build at the position and don't view Blackmon as someone who is going to help them anytime soon.
Jagaurs QB Blake Bortles said he spent two months in the offseason in California and was mentored at times by quarterback guru Tom House.
“Tightening mechanics,” Bortles said in explaining what House did for him. “Throwing with not just all arm, using the whole body and figuring out how to do that. Having a checklist and being able to say it was a bad throw and this is what went wrong and this is how you fix it.”
The Jaguars coaches weren’t allowed to start working with Bortles and the other players until the offseason program started this week, so the two-month workout helped Bortles work on fundamentals.
Bortles also got his weight down to 238 after finishing the season at 250.
Bortles averaged 12.0 fantasy points per game, which led to a #24 finish at his position. He's a passer who could make a leap in his second season if the Jaguars can give him time to throw and he can clean up his fundamentals. The receiving corps is young but talented, with Allen Robinson, Marqise Lee, Allen Hurns and potentially Justin Blackmon all capable of producing when given the opportunity. The team signed Julius Thomas to provide a dangerous weapon at tight end. Bortles averaged nearly 30 yards rushing, so he offers some baseline production as a runner.
Jaguars WR Allen Robinson’s late-July hamstring injury kept him out of every preseason game. But he had at least four catches in each of his last nine games and was targeted 10 or more times in four games. Robinson had eight “explosive” receptions and played 516 snaps.
Robinson underwent surgery in November for a stress fracture but is expected to be full-go when the offseason program starts in April.
“He’ll have an offseason, an OTA, a training camp and should be able to accelerate his game,” WR coach Jerry Sullivan said. “The thing about all these young guys, they come out of college, they train for the Combine and then they train for each team that wants to work them out. Now they can really compartmentalize what they need to do.”
Robinson averaged 5.2 catches for 61 yards and 0.22 TD from Week 2 to Week 10, which extrapolates to an 84-9774-3.6 over the course of a full 16-game season. Those are fringe WR2-type numbers. The Jacksonville receiving corps should feature Robinson, Marqise Lee, Allen Hurns and perhaps Justin Blackmon. If QB Blake Bortles can progress, this could be a dangerous passing game.
Greg Cosell on Jagaurs QB Blake Bortles:
This offseason, Bortles has to go back to basics. He lost his technique.
There are all kinds of valid reason for that – the Jaguars offensive line was below average, the offense was inconsistent, there was an inability to stay on schedule during games because of that inconsistency and the Jaguars trailing most of the time – but the bottom line is he lost his technique and needs to go back to school and start from scratch. I don’t mean that in a negative way. But before the Jaguars get to “What are the best route concepts against ‘Cover 4’ zone?” they need to work with him so he has repetitive proper fundamentals. Otherwise he won’t throw it accurately enough on a consistent basis.
One thing I noticed is Bortles started to have a tendency to drop the ball too low in his release. That throws off the timing, if the release and stride isn’t working together. Then you lose velocity and accuracy. Bortles has a good arm (though not a great one) but his arm strength suffers when the mechanics suffer. There are too many moving parts.
Bortles averaged 12.0 fantasy points per game, which led to a #24 finish at his position. He's a passer who could make a leap in his second season if the Jaguars can give him time to throw and he can clean up his fundamentals. The receiving corps is young but talented, with Allen Robinson, Marqise Lee, Allen Hurns and potentially Justin Blackmon all capable of producing when given the opportunity. Bortles averaged nearly 30 yards rushing, so he offers some baseline production as a runner.
The Jaguars are hiring Greg Olson to be their offensive coordinator.
General manager Dave Caldwell said Tuesday he's "hearing good things" about Blackmon, who is suspended indefinitely for repeated violations of the NFL's substance-abuse policy.
"We hope he comes back because we know he's talented," Caldwell said. "But we know he's also a good person that's fighting a tough battle. I think we have to treat it as a luxury. If he comes back, that's great. If he doesn't, we can't count on it."
Caldwell said in April he didn't expect Blackmon to play in 2014. He responded by drafting Marqise Lee and Allen Robinson in the second round and adding Allen Hurns as an undrafted free agent. The trio combined to catch 136 passes for 1,647 yards and nine touchdowns as rookies.
Blackmon certainly would bolster the unit, especially if veteran Cecil Shorts III hits free agency as expected. Blackmon voluntarily checked into a 90-day treatment facility earlier this season, and coach Gus Bradley said back then that updates from Blackmon's agent were positive. Blackmon was suspended without pay in November 2013 for at least a year for his latest violation. NFL rules prohibit coaches and general managers from having contact with players suspended indefinitely. Blackmon has already proved he has the talent, but would be a risky fantasy pick aside from a safer spot in the middle of the draft.
It’s early in the process and there is still a long way to go, but the fact that Justin Blackmon has voluntarily entered a treatment facility is a good sign that the troubled receiver may finally be turning his life around.
That should make the Jacksonville Jaguars cautiously optimistic that there’s a chance he could one day be back on the field.
Since Blackmon is currently serving an indefinite suspension for his third violation of the NFL’s substance-abuse program, he isn’t being paid and doesn’t count against the salary cap or roster limit. His contract is essentially paused, meaning he still owes the team 2 1/2 years of service if he were to ever return. Plus, if the Jaguars did cut him they would have been unable to recover any bonus money they have already paid.
The Jaguars have elected not to cut Blackmon despite his transgressions, and the article explains why. He still has a long road back to the NFL, but there are positive signs.
Thursday, July 31, 2014, 1:02pm
Jaguars writer John Oehser was asked to compare the team's rookie wideouts to Justin Blackmon: "Allen Robinson has performed very well during training camp, though he missed much of OTAs. The same can be said of Marqise Lee. That rookie duo has been very impressive through the first week of camp, but it’s honestly difficult to compare either player to Blackmon. What struck you about Blackmon immediately was the size of his hands, his body control and his ability to catch anything thrown his way. Robinson’s body control and his ability to adjust to the ball in the air are what you notice about him; with Lee, it’s remarkable quickness and the ability to create space and run after the catch. It’s probably not right to say either has quite the natural ability as Blackmon, but that doesn’t mean they can’t be better players."
Monday, July 28, 2014, 4:35pm
Jaguars WRs Marqise Lee and Allen Robinson have stood out during the first few days of Jacksonville's training camp — and not just because they're running with the first-team offense. Lee's speed and athleticism have provided several highlights, and Robinson's size and sure hands have been equally impressive.
"Both of them are coming along and making big plays out there," quarterback Chad Henne said.
Justin Blackmon, the Jacksonville Jaguars wide receiver under indefinite NFL suspension for violating the NFL's substance abuse policy, was arrested Wednesday night in Edmond, Okla., for alleged marijuana possession and a driving violation, according to the Edmond police department.
"He did go ahead and admit that there was marijuana in the vehicle," said Jenny Monroe, public information officer for the Edmond police. " … Mr. Blackmon said he had been smoking a blunt marijuana (marijuana cigar) while he was driving and that there was another full blunt within the car in a box, and that's exactly what our officer's found in the vehicle."
It doesn't look like Blackmon will return to the NFL anytime soon, if ever.
Tuesday, June 10, 2014, 10:58am
Why don’t people know more about Jaguars WR Justin Blackmon's situation? The answer is that the league and teams take privacy with suspended players very seriously. So, while most things involving the NFL are publicized to the point that fans feel a right to know everything, information about suspended players is one area where that’s not going to happen. What is known about Blackmon is he’s unlikely to play for the Jaguars next season. When more is known, it will be known.
Fantasy owners shouldn't count on Blackmon playing this year -- it's looking like a real long shot at this point.
NFL Media Insider Ian Rapoport reported Thursday morning that the Jags are open to taking back Blackmon and playing him if the NFL reinstates him this season, according to a source with knowledge of the team's plans.
This is not a huge surprise. Blackmon is a very good receiver (64.0 yards per game in his first 20 career games) and if he can get his head on straight, he could go on to have a very good career. His salary is minimal, so the Jaguars are wise to see how this plays out.
Assuming Browns WR Josh Gordon is found to have tested positive in the NFL’s substance-abuse program (which ESPN reported Friday), he’ll likely be banned for somewhere between eight and 16 games. Gordon, 23, has been disciplined twice previously for testing positive: once by coach Art Briles at Baylor, and once by the NFL last summer, causing him to be suspended for the first two games of the season. Playing 14 games, he still led the league in receiving yards last year and was the first receiver in history to have back-to-back 200-yard receiving games, in weeks 12 and 13.
But now he could be more problem than he’s worth, the same way the immensely talented Justin Blackmon is turning out in Jacksonville. The Browns are trying to establish a winning program, and if they can’t trust their best player, which Gordon clearly is, they’re going to have a tough decision on their hands if and when he’s suspended, and when he returns. Gordon has two years left on his rookie contract. How can the Browns possibly know what to pay him in a second contract, having no idea if they can trust him from one week to the next? If Gordon did test positive, and knowing that a monster contract would likely be coming at the end of this season if he could stay clean, it’s either a measure of the depth of his problem or a measure of his immaturity. Or both.
Gordon will appeal the suspension since his last run-in with the substance abuse program was due to a codeine-based cough syrup (or so he claims), so the argument is that he should have been in Stage 2 of the program instead of Stage 3. Gordon's availability will have a huge impact on the WR landscape as well as Johnny Manziel's potential in his rookie season.
"I think we've covered that," Caldwell said. "We've moved on for this year."
When asked if he would cut Blackmon, Caldwell said:
"We can't [cut him]. If that even happens."
HC Gus Bradley also stated his disappointment in the situation.
"I feel at times there's probably a little emptiness," Bradley said. "There are some unknowns there and you don't know how it's working. You don't want to shut it off. I was hoping it would be better than where it is going. We haven't heard much and it doesn't sound like it's going in the right direction. Like Dave said, we can't count on him."
The Jaguars seem to have moved on from Blackmon after drafting two receivers - Marqise Lee and Allen Robinson -- in the second round of the Draft. They'll join Cecil Shorts, Ace Sanders and Mike Brown to form a young but talented receiving corps. It may not come together quickly, but if Blake Bortles is the real deal, the Jaguars' passing game should be much improved in 1-2 seasons.
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