Last year was a rough one for Mohamed Massaquoi in his previous home with the Cleveland Browns. Only suiting up for nine games and grabbing a career-low 17 receptions, the former University of Georgia product entered his free agency year with very little to offer on the open market. There is still plenty of potential remaining for this 26-year-old, and the Jacksonville Jaguars are banking on uncovering some of that this season.
Now obviously the big question with the Jags lies at the quarterback position which figures to sort itself out in training camp between Chad Henne and Blaine Gabbert, but regardless of who is throwing the football, Massaquoi will need to provide a vertical threat to lift the top off of opposing defenses. His rookie season showed some of that ability as he was a big-play waiting to happen, but since then his speed has seemingly diminished. Of course playing in Cleveland can make even the best of receivers look like they’ve lost a step, but making the move the Jacksonville isn’t much of an improvement.
At least with the Jags there should be a relatively consistent ground attack with Maurice Jones-Drew carrying the football. This could provide plenty of opportunities for Massaquoi to work one-on-one against nickel corners or safeties from the slot position where he figures to be in for a battle.
Training camp will be the proving ground for Massaquoi as he tries to distinguish himself from Jordan Shipley who will also be vying for playing time in the slot. Shipley didn’t really show much with just two catches for the Jags a year ago which may be part of why Massaquoi was signed during the offseason. Cecil Shorts and Justin Blackmon will be the two main targets in Jacksonville, but Blackmon’s suspension for the first four games of the NFL regular season will open up plenty of opportunity for both Massaquoi and Shipley to impress the coaching staff.
The thought right now is that new head coach Gus Bradley will likely open the season with Massaquoi as the starter opposite Shorts with Shipley in the slot. This could provide the perfect chance for the offseason addition to make his presence felt with his new team. Massaquoi could see a renaissance of sorts with the Jags in 2013.