Moeller: Jaguars Add McManus, Trade Patterson in Surprise Move

By Jeff  Moeller

JACKSONVILLE (Florida Sports Wire) – The Jaguars recently found a final missing piece to their puzzle. In some ways, though, it was a surprise.

Kicker Riley Patterson, who was instrumental in their playoff run last season, was traded to the Detroit Lions. Ironically, Patterson returned to the Lions where he made 13-of-14 attempts in 2021. He had a lone miss from over 50 yards.

Last season, Patterson converted 30-of-35 field-goal attempts (85.7 percent), highlighted by a winning 36-yarder as time expired that gave the Jags their playoff victory over the Los Angeles Chargers.

With Patterson, the Jags finally appeared to solve their kicking problem. He would be a major difference in pushing the team over the top toward becoming a consistent contender.

Yet, teams can be as finicky as kickers.

The Jags decided to sign recently released Bronco kicker Brandon McManus, who made 28-of-36 attempts (77.8 percent). It was the first time in the 31-year-old’s career that he hit on less than 80 percent of his attempts. He has made 81.4 percent of his field goal attempts in his nine-year career.

So, why trade a kicker for another who has made a little less than five percent of his kicks?

It is about McManus’ veteran presence. He is the last active Bronco from their Super Bowl 50 victory.

With a AFC South title and a playoff victory under their belt from last season, the Jags will begin this season with higher expectations. This is about beginning with the postseason.

McManus further fortified their offseason signings of offensive tackles Josh Wells (Rams) and Chandler Brewer (Bucs) to help strengthen the line with the loss of tackle Jawaan Taylor to the Chiefs. This will also allow top pick tackle Anton Harrison time to develop.

Ex-Browns running back D’Ernest Johnson and draft pick Tank Bigsby will provide some breathing room for Travis Etienne.

Then there is ex-Falcon wide receiver Calvin Ridley,who sat out last year due to a suspension due to betting. Ridley was a No. 1 receiver in Atlanta and caught 217 passes over his previous three NFl seasons for 3,061 yards and 26 touchdowns.

Ridley has been impressive in early workouts, and he will surely raise the bar of the Jag’s already impressive unit.

There’s also Year Two of head coach Doug Pederson, who quickly changed the culture and brought a controlled sense of confidence to quarterback Trevor Lawrence and the defensive unit.

As for Lawrence, we saw what everyone envisioned from him during his days at Clemson. Lawrence’s increased pocket presence last season raised his ranking as one of the upper echelon players at his position. He passed the sophomore jinx, and there shouldn’t be any doubts left about his ability.

The Jags have a very favorable schedule, and –barring injuries – should be able to get off to a fast start. Their rapid rise has gained them the rights to some prime-time games this fall.

So far, it all looks good on paper before it begins for real in August. The Jags also now believe they have the kicker who can be a game-changer.

(Columnist Jeff Moeller covers the NFL and other sports for SportsDay and Florida Sports Wire)

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