AOL's Sporting News has picked the Jaguars to finish last in their division in 2011. Don't worry folks, this is just AOL's prediction based on information provided by Florida Times-Union writer, Gene Frenette. I'm not throwing Frenette under the bus here. As he stated in a reactionary piece, he just provided the information, not the conclusions. I'm not upset by the article, from Sporting News. I would be lying, however, if I said it didn't annoy me. Let's get this out of the way. The Jaguars will not be finishing last in their division this season. Sure, it's possible that they could finish as low as third (although that would take a massive defensive leap for the Texans), but hear me now. The Jaguars will not finish behind the Tennessee Titans in 2011, and here's why.
Where will the Jaguars finish in their division in 2011?
It was just announced today that Kerry Collins won't be back with the Titans, or any other NFL team for that matter. He's retiring, so; we can mark that minor concern off our list.
Sticking with quarterbacks, the Titans will now be forced to start rookie QB, Jake Locker, immediately. Sure, we all expected that, but I'll take a veteran over a rookie that struggles with accuracy in a heartbeat. I think Locker will eventually become a very good starter for the Titans, but the key word there is "eventually."
The Titans' defense, who many thought was a solid unit at the beginning of last year, completely fell apart in a way that resembled the 2008 Jaguars' defense. That unit won't fix itself in a day, week, or a year. These things take time, and the Jaguars are well ahead of the Titans in the rebuilding process.
Finally, I refuse to discuss division rankings without pointing out that the Jaguars have arguably the best special teams unit in the NFL. If you don't think that counts for much, just ask the Chargers how their special teams treated them last season. Even if the Jaguars are struggling to move the ball, you can always count on Adam Podlesh to burry a team deep in its own territory and Scobee to nail a couple long field goals.
I don't have a problem with the analysis of the piece in Sporting News, I have a problem with the conclusion. That Jaguars have a lot of issues, but the Titans have more problems. I know that they're trying to be early to the predictions punch, but at least learn the division before you go spouting off on who's finishing where. That's my rant, and I'm sticking to it.