Jaguars Rookies add “Interesting Offensive Wrinkle”

Ace SandersSince their last Playoff appearance in 2007, the Jacksonville Jaguars have been turning in sub-par performances year after year. The Florida franchise, which debuted in 1995, has been relatively unsuccessful for the better part of two decades.

New Head Coach Gus Bradley plans to change that.

The Jaguars offense will feature some “interesting offensive wrinkles” hinging on the performances of a pair of rookies—South Carolina wideout Ace Sanders and former Michigan QB Denard Robinson.

Sanders’ successful career in the premier college football conference bodes well for the fountain of youth that is the Jaguars receiving corps. Should Sanders manage to be effective as a slot receiver, struggling QB Blaine Gabbert may have a dangerous group of targets that includes a pair of 2012 breakout players in Justin Blackmon and Cecil Shorts. The team is hoping that they have landed the poor man’s Tavon Austin with their fourth round selection in 2013.

The biggest question surrounding Sanders is his small frame. At just 5-foot-7, 173-pounds, there are some concerns with durability. The sport of football has evolved into a bigger, faster, and stronger game, but Sanders did a fine job of avoiding the injury bug during his collegiate career. The diminutive playmaker runs a 4.38 and will be a difference-maker in the slot and returning kicks.

As for Denard “Shoelaces” Robinson, the Jaguars are hoping to use him in a role similar to former-Steelers QB Kordell “Slash” Stewart. A remarkable athlete, Robinson used his speed to run circles around opposing defenses. The team website currently lists Robinson as a running back, but they have hinted at Robinson seeing 10-15 starts a game as well.

“Of course you miss it,” Robinson said of not playing quarterback full-time. “But it’s still football.”


Robinson might not have to miss his quarterbacking duties too much. Although Blaine Gabbert is the featured starter, the team has been working out the former college quarterback under center. There has even been talk that Robinson will see 10-15 snaps a game—though no specific mention of the Wildcat formation among the coaching staff. Whether a quarterback, rusher, receiver, or returner, Robinson will have to adapt to his new role as a “jack of all trades.”

While Jacksonville may have a pair of draft steals in the making, the team’s newest offensive wrinkle will only work if Blaine Gabbert is able to develop into the player they had hoped when the selected him 10th overall in 2011. With Luke Joeckel projecting to play at a high level, owner Shad Khan should be able to determine if Gabbert is a franchise player, or just another draft bust. Other options include backup-QB Chad Henne, who has filled in admirably in brief stints with the team, and Aaron Rodgers’ kid brother, Jordan.

If Gabbert, Henne, or Robinson does not flourish as the team’s signal caller, rumor has it that another former Florida quarterback is looking for a job.


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