By Calvin Palmer
In these days of ever higher standards in professional sport and increasing competition for places, it is rare that someone totally inept is allowed on the field of play to not only embarrass themselves but also supporters of the team they play for.
But there is always an exception and, sadly for fans of the Jacksonville Jaguars, the exception is cornerback Rashean Mathis.
The Jaguars have now played nine games. The only positive contribution Mathis has made all season came against the Dallas Cowboys when he managed to intercept a throw from John Kitna. In other games, Mathis has made an art form out of not picking up his man and not tackling. The latter is probably due to the fact that he must be the only player in the NFL who is incapable of tackling.
The Mathis way of trying to stop a player is a womanly push in the back, which may well work against a slightly built girl but against a six foot plus 190 pound wide receiver going at full steam… well the effect of a Mathis “tackle” is pretty obvious.
His other ploy is to arrive on the scene just as someone else makes the tackle he should have made. I have to admit that I somewhat surprised that his teammates haven’t taken him to one side in the locker room and talked/beaten some sense into him.
Against the Texans, Mathis also managed his regular trick of pass interference, with the resulting 15-yard penalty. But he even out-did the Mathis of the previous eight games when he proceeded to move away from the wide receiver he was marking as the ball was thrown, leaving Andre Johnson completely unmarked in the end zone to secure a touchdown.
My background is football, or soccer as the Americans call it, and the action of Mathis was akin to a central defender marking Wayne Rooney on a corner-kick, to suddenly run away from Rooney leaving him completely unmarked in the six-yard area with only the goalkeeper to beat. Any central defender pulling a move like that could expect never to play for the club again.
And here is the puzzling thing. Jack Del Rio knows Mathis is not up to standard but insists on playing him. Talk about shooting yourself in the foot.
When Mathis’contract with Jaguars expires at the end of this season, he will be fortunate if any other NFL franchise snaps him up. He stands a better chance of pursuing a career as a female impersonator. He certainly walks like a woman but whether he wears a bra is probably just ugly gossip.
The Florida Times-Union saw fit not criticize Mathis’ performance against the Texans, the nearest it came was in the Report Card feature. Under Pass Defense, the Jaguars were rated at D-, with the following comment:
“It’s a good thing the Jaguars didn’t give in on cornerback Rashean Mathis’ offseason wish for a contract extension. He was taken to school by Andre Johnson (9 catches, 146 yards).”
The real criticism of Mathis came from the fans in the Monday Morning Quarterback column:
“My aunt will be in town next week. Tell Mathis to leave his uniform at the door… she’ll take his place and do a better job.”
“Number 27 (Mathis) is an embarrassment dancing around the field. Why don’t the coaches recognize that?”
“I am ashamed with the lack of effort by Rashean Mathis. He must be benched or released.”
“Rashean Mathis is the worst cover man I have ever seen. He doesn’t hit, he seems to wait for someone else to make the play.”
“Can’t wait to read Rashean Mathis’ book – “How To Play A Whole Season In The NFL Without Getting Your Uniform Dirty”.
In 2006, Mathis made the Pro Bowl and he seems he has been living off that ever since. In any sport, a player is only as good as his next game. Mathis is never going to have a good next game. It is time for coach Del Rio to ensure Mathis has played his last game for the Jaguars.
This embarrassment can no longer continue.
[Based on content in The Florida Times-Union.]