Jacksonville Jaguars 1st-round pick Justin Blackmon missed significant time due to a holdout early in camp, so it should come as no surprise that he isn’t up to speed with the rest of the first unit. Mike Mularkey confirmed as much, saying ““He’s still a little bit behind the eight ball with some of the things: splits, depths, reads.” The Florida Times-Union is also reporting that Blackmon’s playing time may be limited in his first preseason game.
It’s been a rough offseason for Blackmon, so it’s baffling why his agent advised him to hold out. Holdouts have never been a good way for rookies to endear themselves to teammates and coaches, but the issue is compounded now that the wage scale is in place.
Houston Texans 1st-round pick Whitney Mercilus is currently listed as the backup weak-side linebacker, but after an impressive preseason debut and strong showings in practice, he’s pushing for a starting job already. “We’ll play him more and more with the first group to see how he does,” said defensive coordinator Wade Phillips.
Mercilus is primarily battling veteran Connor Barwin, but could also take some playing time away from Brooks Reed. Regardless where the playing time comes from, the Texans are in an excellent position with three effective pass rushers who they believe are starter-caliber players. That type of depth can be invaluable over the long haul of the season, and is one of the reasons the Texans should be viewed as serious Super Bowl contenders.
The Minnesota Vikings overhauled their secondary on draft day, and one of the key new additions is likely to debut in Friday’s preseason game. Josh Robinson, the Vikings 3rd round pick, missed nearly two weeks with a hamstring injury but is ready to make his presence felt.
Robinson is a long shot to win a starting job, but he has a chance to be the team’s nickel corner. He could also see an expanded role in certain matchups due to his speed, which Lezlie Frasier says “separates him from all the other players that we have in the secondary.”