Williams' future in question as Jaguars revamp receivers depth chart Print
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Tuesday, 07 August 2007 12:23
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 JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (AP) -Reggie Williams started nearly every game as a rookie in 2004. He's been sliding down the Jaguars' depth chart ever since.
Now, he might be on his way out of Jacksonville.
The former first-round draft pick, selected ninth overall, was listed as the No. 5 receiver on the team's depth chart released Tuesday. It was a strong indication the Jaguars have nearly given up on Williams after three disappointing seasons.
``You can't surround any quarterback with inconsistency,'' first-year receivers coach Todd Monken said. ``You can't have guys just running around, dropping balls, not at the right depth. The first thing here is getting guys that are consistent. I've never been around any passing game that's worth a damn if you can't be in the right spot all the time and catch it.
``It seems so simple, but somehow it hasn't been simple. It should be that simple: play your (butt) off, get in the right spot, catch the thing and we'll go from there. But for some reason, that's been hard.''
The Jaguars ranked 24th in the league in passing last season. Part of the problem was that quarterback Byron Leftwich missed 10 games with a broken ankle, but an even bigger concern was the play of Williams, fellow first-round pick Matt Jones and Ernest Wilford.
The trio struggled trying to pick up the slack following Jimmy Smith's abrupt retirement. They combined to catch 129 passes for 1,783 yards and 10 touchdowns, but they also dropped countless passes and contributed significantly in two losses to division rival Houston.
The Jaguars responded in the offseason by signing free agent Dennis Northcutt to a five-year, $17 million contract that included a $4.5 million signing bonus. The team also drafted speedy receivers Mike Walker (third round) and John Broussard (seventh), making training camp as competitive as ever at the position.
``We have some speed guys, some guys that can stretch the field,'' Wilford said. ``It's something (coach) Jack Del Rio wanted to bring to our nucleus. He definitely went out there and researched and brought some guys in that are capable of stretching the field and make big plays down the field.''
Williams seemed unfazed by the changes.
``I don't see it as competition,'' he said. ``I look at it as trying to be the best Reggie can be. As long as I do that I'll be where need to be. As long as I work on me and I'm on top of my game, everything will weed out for itself.''
The weeding out part may come at Williams' expense.
Monken talked about his receivers for 15 minutes Tuesday and said little about Williams.
He praised Northcutt and fellow starter Wilford, who sustained a mild knee sprain in practice Tuesday and had an MRI exam scheduled. He added that Charles Sharon was in the mix with the first-team offense.
Monken also said the 6-foot-6 Jones had found his niche as a slot receiver, creating mismatches for linebackers and safeties and giving Leftwich a big target down the middle.
And even though Walker was listed behind Williams on the depth chart, it may have been because Del Rio placed most of the rookies at the bottom of the list.
``He's got natural ball skills and a natural feel for route running,'' Monken said of Walker, who is still recovering from a knee injury sustained in college. ``Once his knee fully comes around and he's able to practice fast all the time, I think he's going to develop into a heck of a player. When that is, I don't know.''
Monken did say that Williams, who has 114 catches for 1,329 yards and five touchdowns in three seasons, was one of the team's best at running after the catch.
But will that be enough to keep him on the roster?
``You're trying to fit all the pieces in the right holes,'' Monken said. ``Is that easy? No, but it's the way to become the most efficient. ... If they don't fit some role, I don't know how you keep them. Where do you play them? Where's their spot?''
 

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