Off the Snap: Denard Robinson’s position is … ‘offensive weapon’
Catching you up on the latest must-read news and analysis from around the web….
• The Jacksonville Jaguars have made no secret of their plans to be creative with how they use rookie Denard Robinson this season. Case in point: Robinson’s position on the Jaguars’ official roster.
Robinson is listed simply as “OW”, which we can assume stands for “Offensive Weapon” — though that requires a little bit of guesswork as, you know, that’s not a real position. There are at least two conclusions to be made here … 1. The Jaguars have every intention of taking advantage of Robinson’s unique set of skills, be it as a runner, receiver or even a passer. 2. The coaches are not entirely sure how they’ll do that just yet.
There’s nothing wrong with keeping a little mystery in the playbook headed into the season, so the Jaguars may not reveal their Robinson-centric plays until preseason or later. Robinson is one of the more intriguing rookies in this year’s class and his new role as an “offensive weapon” only heightens the intrigue.
• Is this the year that Jake Locker turns the corner and becomes a legit No. 1 quarterback? His receivers definitely sound confident that dream could become a reality for the Titans, with Nate Washington even going so far as to compare Locker to Ben Roethlisberger.
“I was there in Ben’s second year, and right away you kind of understood that even in his second year, he was gonna be a good quarterback, a guy that could make plays. That’s the same thing with Jake,” Washington told TitanInsider. “He’s a guy who can make plays. I tell everybody all the time, this is football, and it’s a gladiator sport, but it’s not a dumb man’s sport.”
Of course, Roethlisberger posted a dazzling 13-0 mark during his rookie regular season. Locker was just 4-7 in 2012, his first season as a starter.
• Somehow, Israel Idonije was still sitting on the free-agent market as of June 25, despite recording 7.5 sacks last season and 20.5 over the past three years combined. The Detroit Lions ended his wait, adding Idonije to an impressive defensive front that also includes Ndamukong Suh, Jason Jones, Nick Fairley and first-round pick Ziggy Ansah.
Neil Hornsby of Pro Football Focus calls the Idonije signing a “slam dunk win” for the Lions and declares Idonije a better option at DE than either Jones or Willie Young, who both are in the mix to start. Idonije, like Jones, can play end or defensive tackle in the Lions’ 4-3 scheme — Jones actually performed better inside while with the Seahawks.
No matter where the Lions line everyone up, it’s possible that despite losing Cliff Avril and Kyle Vanden Bosch, this D-line could improve over its 2013 performance.
• Another day, another NFL player in a legal jam.
This time, it’s undrafted free agent Ausar Walcott, a linebacker from Virginia, who signed with the Browns in May. Walcott was arrested Tuesday and charged with attempted murder after allegedly punching someone in the head outside a Passaic, N.J. bar. Walcott probably faced an uphill battle to make the Browns’ roster as it was; this could put an early end to his NFL career.
• The Cowboys slapped the franchise tag on Anthony Spencer this offseason, for the second consecutive year. In 2012, Spencer responded to that designation with a career-best 11.0 sacks.
Dallas would love to see Spencer repeat that performance this season, but the franchise has decided to take a wait-and-see approach to Spencer’s contract, with the two sides breaking off further talks for now. ESPN’s Tim MacMahon gives the Cowboys a pat on the back for that decision, writing that it’s wise to delay a long-term deal in an effort to find out if Spencer’s 2012 performance was an anomaly. The Cowboys also would love to make sure that Spencer can thrive in their new 4-3 defense, after playing six pro seasons as an outside linebacker.