Going into the 2011 Apertura, Jaguares de Chiapas will have a relegation coefficient of just below 1.14, placing them third from bottom to start the year, ahead of Queretaro and Tijuana Xolos, who will obviously start the year with a coefficient of zero. The loss of Danilinho and their Copa Libertadores run were both crippling in the 2011 Clausura, as Professor Cruz's men limped to a 14 point season, losing 11 of their 17 games.
Jackson Martinez, arguably Jaguares' best player and the best target striker in Mexico, was out for almost the entire season. When he returned to the team, he looked spectacular in the team's final Copa Libertadores and league games, leaving fans to wonder what a healthy Martinez might bring in the year to come. Now, Jaguares have purchased 100 percent of his contract (they previously owned half and playing rights) while adding striker Luis Gabriel Rey, who should start up top with Martinez next year.
Damian Manso, an almost emergency pickup after the departure of Danilinho, did not fit in with Jaguares last year and as a result, is on the verge of leaving. If he does, a slight position change could be in order for Jorge Rodriguez to fit Cruz's preferred system and other personnel, and it's one that he should be able to make easily.
I envision Rodriguez playing at the tip of a midfield three, in front of a double pivot of budding star Jorge Hernandez and another holding midfield player, in a 3-5-2 setup. Rodriguez showed in the Apertura that he has star power when he's fit and playing with great teammates, and Jaguares' first choice setup should provide him with just that.
The positional sense and great simple passes from Hernandez will allow Rodriguez some freedom, and the strike pairing of Martinez and Rey - two very balanced players - should compliment him nicely. Throw in some great wide play from whoever Cruz plays at the wingback positions, and you have a potential winner.
There probably isn't anyone left in the Jaguares squad who has the talent of Danilinho, but the team that they have is good enough to make a run back to Liguilla in the 2011 Apertura. If they're able to do that, they will probably be in the clear in terms of relegation. And if they're not, they'll probably be a very fun team to watch anyway.