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NFL Jacksonville Jaguars

Jacksonville Jaguars: Will Justin Blackmon Build on Mediocre Rookie Season?

Robert Mayer-USA TODAY Sports

After jogging through a rookie season full of mostly mediocrity and just a few shining moments, Jacksonville Jaguars wide receiver Justin Blackmon is looking to prove doubters wrong heading into his second NFL season.

In his first year, Blackmon ended with 64 catches on 133 targets for 865 yards and five touchdowns. Until week 10 of last season, Blackmon hadn’t had over 67 yards receiving in a single game. After producing some gaudy numbers at Oklahoma State in college, he may have been wondering what was going wrong.

This doesn’t necessarily go along with the trend of faith the Jaguars have instilled in quarterback Blaine Gabbert this offseason, but once Gabbert was hurt early on against the Houston Texans in week 10 Blackmon’s rookie year finally took off.

Behind the play of backup quarterback Chad Henne, Blackmon exploded for seven catches totaling 236 yards and a touchdown. For the rest of his rookie season, Blackmon performed quite consistently averaging over 63 yards per game compared to the mediocre 27.7 yards per game up until Gabbert’s injury.

This isn’t necessarily a knock on Gabbert, but what happens if Blackmon starts off the 2013 season slowly? Will Henne get another shot to step in and prove he can be the guy? I’m not so sure, and that’s part of a completely different argument.

What we do know though, is that Blackmon has the physical ability and athleticism to make plays if in the right state of mind and putting forth maximum effort. If I am offensive coordinator Jedd Fisch, I make sure I do everything I can to help Blackmon succeed. If he can get Blackmon going, combined with more solid play from Cecil Shorts and the running game backed by Maurice Jones-Drew, their offense could be much improved from recent years.

Blackmon has all the tools to get the job done on paper, and many including myself believe he can have a successful NFL career. Whether that’s with the Jaguars, only time will tell. As we saw last season, Blackmon can be a solid player as a pro. Maybe it’s the quarterback that is the problem in Jacksonville, you know, “It’s not me, it’s you?”

 

Ryan Heckman is a Minnesota Timberwolves writer and NFL contributor for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter, “Like” him on Facebook, or add him to your network on Google.