|Williams responds to Del Rio's challenge, moves up Jacksonville depth chart|
|Written by Admin|
|Tuesday, 28 August 2007 12:00|
Williams, a former first-round draft pick who started training camp fifth in the rotation, has regained a backup spot and appears to be a lock for the opening-day roster.
``Reggie's had a solid camp,'' coach Jack Del Rio said Tuesday. ``He's been challenged. He's working hard. He's improving. Nobody has watched him the last several years and questioned his talents. He's definitely willing to come in and make the hard catch and go in and block people.''
Williams has three receptions for 38 yards in the preseason, hardly enough to justify a promotion, so his move had little to do with numbers.
Del Rio dropped Williams on the depth chart to send a message to the fourth-year receiver, the ninth overall pick in the 2004 draft.
``He's responded to the challenge,'' Del Rio said. ``He's working hard and he's made improvements.''
Williams caught a team-high 52 passes for 616 yards and four touchdowns last season and has improved in each of three seasons. But the Jaguars weren't convinced he could be a go-to receiver, so they signed free agent Dennis Northcutt and drafted two more receivers - Mike Walker (third round) and John Broussard (seventh) in April.
Del Rio then had Northcutt and Charles Sharon running with the first-team offense during summer workouts and at the start of training camp.
Williams and fellow first-round pick Matt Jones seemingly got the message.
Jones has four catches for 69 yards in the preseason, making several nifty moves in the open field. Williams, meanwhile, managed to hold onto two balls against Green Bay last week despite hard hits that knocked off his helmet.
Still, Williams and Jones remain behind starters Northcutt and Ernest Wilford.
Sharon could be the odd man out when final roster cuts are made Saturday. The Jaguars plan to keep six receivers, with Northcutt, Wilford, Jones, Williams and Walker probably guaranteed spots.
That leaves Sharon and Broussard vying for the final position, and Del Rio already has said Broussard might be too fast to clear waivers and join the practice squad.
The decision could come down to whoever plays better in Thursday night's preseason finale against Washington.
Broussard, from San Jose State, has six receptions for 111 yards in the preseason. Sharon, who signed as an undrafted rookie in 2006 and spent most of the season on the practice squad, has six catches for 87 yards.
``I just got to go out and do the things I've been doing,'' said Sharon, who missed time during training camp because of a concussion. ``I don't really expect anything to be given to me, so I just have to go out and work as hard as I can.''