2016 NFL Preview: Jacksonville Jaguars

The Jacksonville Jaguars have been a joke in the NFL for almost 10 years now. With what looks like one of the best offenses on paper, an extremely young re-vamped defense, and a ton of pre-season hype….is this the year the Jags join the NFL’s elite teams?

Can Blake Bortles and the offense continue to improve?

Will the young, revamped defense step up and contribute?

Is Gus Bradley in over his head with this team?

Let’s find out!

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Jacksonville Jaguars

The Stats:

Record Last Ten Seasons: 5-11 (2015), 3-13 (2014), 4-12 (2013), 2-14 (2012), 5-11 (2011), 8-8 (2010), 7-9 (2009), 5-11 (2008), 11-5 (2007), 8-8 (2006)

Last Playoff Appearance: 2007 Divisional vs. New England Patriots

Last Playoff Win: 2007 Wildcard vs. Pittsburgh Steelers

Super Bowl Titles Won: 0

Passing Leader for 2015: Blake Bortles (4,428 yards, 35 touchdowns, 18 interceptions)

Rushing Leader for 2015: T.J. Yeldon (740 yards, 2 touchdowns)

Receiving Leader for 2015: Allen Robinson (1,400 yards, 14 touchdowns)

The Head Coach:

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Gus Bradley

Overall Record (as a head coach): 12-36

Record With Team: 12-36

Previous NFL Jobs: Tampa Bay Buccaneers Linebackers Coach (2006-2008), Seattle Seahawks Defensive Coordinator (2009-2012)

My Grade: D+

The Team:

(Depth Charts will change as training camps progress obviously….)

Player Grade Guide:

Blue = Elite Player

Green = Really Good Player

Orange = Average Player

Pink = Meh

Red = NO THANKS

Gray = Rookie

Offense:

QB: Blake Bortles

RB: T.J. Yeldon

WR: Allen Robinson

WR: Allen Hurns

TE: Julius Thomas

TE: Marcedes Lewis

OC: Brandon Linder

OG: A.J. Cann

OG: Luke Joeckel

OT: Kelvin Beachum

OT: Jermey Parnell

Defense:

DE: Dante Fowler

DT: Malik Jackson

DT: Roy Miller

DE: Jared Odrick

LB: Telvin Smith

LB: Dan Skuta

LB: Paul Posluszny

CB: Jalen Ramsey

CB: Davon House

SS: Jonathan Cyprien

FS: Tashaun Gipson

The Schedule:

vs. Oakland Raiders (September 11)

vs. @ New York Giants (September 18)

vs. Atlanta Falcons (September 26)

vs. @ San Diego Chargers (October 2)

BYE WEEK

vs. Carolina Panthers (October 16)

vs. @ Kansas City Chiefs (October 23)

vs. Seattle Seahawks (October 30)

vs. @ San Francisco 49ers (November 6)

vs. Denver Broncos (November 13)

vs. @ Carolina Panthers (November 17)

vs. Los Angeles Rams (November 27)

vs. Detroit Lions (December 4)

vs. @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers (December 11)

vs. @ Arizona Cardinals (December 18)

vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (December 24)

vs. @ Atlanta Falcons (January 1)

The Prediction:

8-8

Brief Synopsis:

The Jacksonville Jaguars have been a joke of an NFL franchise for as long as I can remember. Since they arrived in the NFL in 1995, they have only had seven winning seasons total and haven’t had a record better than 8-8 in almost 10 years. In a league that is built on parity and opportunity, the Jaguars have done everything in their power to squander their chances at joining the NFL’s elite teams again. Whether that be horrible head coaching hires, poor draft picks, or just stupid in-game decisions, Jacksonville has done their best to ensure that they are drafting near the top of the NFL Draft every April. However, times are a changing for the Jaguars. For the first time in along time, there is some serious HYPE surrounding this team. Is that hype actually warranted though? Is this the year the Jaguars shock the world and return to the playoffs? Let’s see.

The offense is the main reason the Jags are getting a lot of hype right now. Blake Bortles has turned into a decent franchise quarterback and if he keeps developing, it could be only a matter of time before he flirts with being one of the best at his position in the NFL. That’s far from a sure thing though as he still has issues to work out in his game. Luckily for him, he has some weapons to work with. The Jags wide receivers might be the best 1-2 punch in the league. Allen Robinson and Allen Hurns have blossomed into two of the league’s best wide receivers and it wouldn’t shock me at all to see Robinson flirt with leading the league in receiving yards. I’m not a huge fan of the Jags offensive line though. They have some holes that still need filled and if the Jags offense takes a step back this year, you can probably look right at these guys and know who to blame. Jacksonville is going to need these guys to step up though because with Bortles and the wideouts development mixed with the arrival of running back Chris Ivory and last year’s rushing leader T.J. Yeldon, Jacksonville has a legit shot at having one of the best offenses in the NFL. That sure sounds funny to say out loud….but it’s the truth.

Defensively is where things may start to get wonky for the Jags. Outside of newcomer Malik Jackson, they don’t really have anyone on the defense that has proven that they can play in this league and be one of the best players at their position. The Jaguars defense is really going to have to rely on a bunch of rookies and newcomers to help bolster this unit this season. Last year’s first-round draft pick Dante Fowler missed all of last season with an injury, but he’s back and ready to contribute. Jacksonville also needs rookie Jalen Ramsey to play his ass off if these guys are going to take the next step. The secondary has been absolutely atrocious the last few years and an upgrade is needed in the worst way. Ramsey was my favorite player in the 2016 NFL Draft and it wouldn’t shock me at all to see him become a top corner in the NFL in no time at all. I personally think it’s going to be an interesting season this year for Jacksonville on the defensive side of the ball. I expect some improvement this year, I’m just not sure how much (if Myles Jack is healthy and sees the field, that could help tremendously this year as well).

So, what should we expect from the Jags this season? A lot of people are picking Jacksonville as the surprise team of the season. Personally, I think they will be improved, but there’s no way I can comfortably pick them as a playoff team. They are going to have to rely on a defense that is extremely young. An offense that is high-powered, but has a limited offensive line. And a head coach with a horrible record of 12-36 with no playoff experience. While it wouldn’t shock me at all to see the Jags win the AFC South and sneak into the playoffs, I just don’t expect it. Pump the brakes on the Jags bandwagon people. It’s one of those “let’s see it, before we believe it” things.

2 thoughts on “2016 NFL Preview: Jacksonville Jaguars

  1. Pingback: Casual Fan Preview: AFC South – The Ultimate Sports Blog

  2. Pingback: Full NFL Coverage – The Ultimate Sports Blog

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