Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

New Jags WR Confident, but Is There a Catch?

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

New Jags WR Confident, but Is There a Catch?

Article excerpt

Byline: Gene Frenette, Times-Union sports writer

New Jaguars receiver Patrick Johnson expresses the same confidence in his ability as Keenan McCardell, but the former Baltimore Raven has a long way to go before he can talk about matching the best free-agent acquisition in Jaguars' history.

What made McCardell so effective and endeared him to teammates was his knack of finding the seams in a defense, particularly in third-down situations. McCardell, expected to be released after June 1, was superb at adjusting his routes and getting to that first-down marker.

"Those are big shoes to fill, but I fit in with this offense and the things he did," Johnson said.

McCardell had only 11 career starts in five seasons when the Jaguars signed him to a four-year, $5.8 million deal back in 1996, but the team's first Pro Bowl player stayed around to catch 499 passes for 6,393 yards and 30 touchdowns. No other big-money free agent has panned out quite as well for the Jaguars.

Johnson will be 26 when the 2002 season begins, the same age McCardell was when the Jaguars got him. Johnson has Alvis Whitted-type speed. The team better hope he doesn't have Whitted-type hands. . . .

Biggest Jaguars dilemma on that first-round pick in the draft appears to be which defensive lineman -- Albert Haynesworth, Ryan Sims, John Henderson or Wendell Bryant -- to select because it's not likely offensive tackles Michael Williams or Bryant McKinnie will fall to the No. 9 spot. Best guess at this point would be North Carolina's Sims. . . . With the $20 million contract given ex-Jaguars defensive lineman Renaldo Wynn by the Washington Redskins, it's clear that owner Dan Snyder's days of overpaying players isn't over. . . . Forget celebrity boxing, maybe Michael Buffer should be assigned to all NASCAR races. …

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