The biggest story line this offseason outside of Blaine Gabbert has been Justin Blackmon. With his debut as a member of the Jacksonville Jaguars just a day away, my attention turns to what we should expect from him. In short, let’s keep it modest.
Here are my thoughts on reasonable expectations:
- Catch a few balls. Mike Mularkey has indicated that the Jaguars’ starters will play for the first half of the game. That should give Blackmon plenty of chances to get open.
- Play every down. Justin Blackmon’s character off the field has been heavily criticized, and for good reason. The least he can do is show character on the field by finishing every play, even when the ball isn’t coming his way.
- Get open. This probably should be stated before catching a few balls. Just because he’s open doesn’t mean Blaine Gabbert will see him. That being said, if he’s open, the ball will come his way sooner or later.
- Stay positive. This is his first effort at playing at the NFL level. Let’s cut this guy some slack for this game. Judgement day will come, but it certainly won’t be tomorrow. Take every success and failure with a grain of salt.
The Jaguars haven’t had a truly electric receivers since Jimmy Smith retired. Justin Blackmon has the athletic ability to be that guy, but those things take time and work. For now, I’d be perfectly happy with seeing some or all of the points listed above from Blackmon tomorrow night.