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Gotta Take Both

NFL, you have to let him try. Especially if making field goals has been one of your team's biggest problems in recent years.  

So if he's healthy, and it seems that Vanderjagt finally is, then he goes to the game and he kicks field goals and extra points.  

Kickoffs, too? Not so fast.  

He only had one kickoff in the preseason, booming it to the 12 against the Vikings. That hasn't been his strong suit, and Vanderjagt is the first one to admit it. Now he has said all summer that he can kick off, but doesn't exactly want to. Don't think Parcells really cares what Vanderjagt wants to do. Some of those defensive starters probably don't want to run down on kickoffs, either. But they don't have that choice.  

The question now is if Vanderjagt can really kick off at all. While he might be able to get the ball down inside the 10, it won't be as good as Suisham, who had two touchbacks last week at Jacksonville and has consistently placed his kickoffs around the goal line, if not further, with just about every opportunity.  

Parcells raved about field position on Thursday, offering statistics on how the Jaguars' average starting field position last week was their own 19, which is about 10 yards fewer than the NFL average.  

So can he really afford to lose that much field position? The answer is no. Not Parcells. Not Mr. Hidden Yardage himself. Suisham has to be active, too.  

There you have it, both Vanderjagt and Suisham must be in the 45 this week.  

OK, so who's out?  

Parcells said either a running back or a linebacker. They could probably get away with not playing Tyson Thompson this week. All he typically handles is kickoff returns, though you'd like to have his speed on the field as much as possible. In fact, I wouldn't mind seeing him on offense a little more, though there is a major trust issue there with his pass blocking.  

If Thompson can't go, the Cowboys can possibly team Aaron Glenn with Abram Elam on kick returns. Remember, Marion Barber returned three kickoffs last year, too.  

Parcells also said he could go shorter at linebacker. Does he really need eight linebackers at the game? That's a backup at all four spots. Probably a nice luxury to have, but not exactly necessary.  

Point is, if you go short on kick returns, you have other options. If you take one less linebacker, you've got other guys who can fill in.  

But you don't have anyone but Suisham who can kick off - well. 

And it doesn't seem as if you have anyone else you can trust on field goals but Vanderjagt - even that is dicey, but it's the best option available.  

So when Parcells has to make his decision on taking either Suisham or Vanderjagt to Sunday's game, maybe he should steal that old line from Deion.  


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