By: David Levin (@davidlevin71)
Did the Jacksonville Jaguars go into the Draft last weekend knowing they would have to prepare for life without Justin Blackmon for the first month of the NFL season? Did David Caldwell, Gus Bradley and Shad Khan know they needed to stockpile more pass catchers to make up for a huge deficit that would handcuff the team out of the gate?
Because the NFL is not a league that pulls rabbits out of its hat in real time, it is a good bet the team knew about the impending suspension of Blackmon while making preparations for the draft, and because of that, Ace Sanders (who may have been a target of this team, Blackmon notwithstanding) was the player this team chose to replace Blackmon’s talent heading into the season.
I have seen nothing in articles, listening to interviews and watching everything unfold to think anything else but this theory.
The Jaguars, in other words, did their homework.
Now, with all the cards on the table and the knowledge the team will have Blackmon (should they choose to keep him as a member of their roster) back for 12 games. If you remember last season, Blackmon was a non-factor in many of the games in the first half of the season. If he catches lightning in a bottle and comes out of the gate at St. Louis on a fast track and catches 10 passes for 150 yards and pair of scores, all will be forgiven in this town. Winning, success and statistics have a way of doing that.
It will be interesting to see what way and how this situation is handled by Caldwell know that we all know what has happened. Blackmon is immensely talented and should be given another chance based on that - frankly because a team like Dallas, New England, New York Jets or Denver will snag him if he is released and have an enormous career elsewhere.
Based on his personal decisions, and the “crossroads” Caldwell talked about on Tuesday, this is still a team that must decide whether to help Blackmon through this tough time, cut him loose or hope and pray nothing happens again.
In the meantime, it is time to get back to some football. Rookie camp starts tomorrow.
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