Two years ago the Jaguars were on the periphery of greatness, but a questionable ref call and the excellence of Tom Brady denied the Jaguars their first Super Bowl appearance.
Blake Bortles was resigned to a new contract, and their defence was expected to improve. In reality the Jaguars took a major step back last year, finishing 5-11 amid player disharmony and dispute. Since then, the Bortles experiment is finished and the Nick Foles era has begun.
Reasons to be hopeful
The former Super Bowl MVP got the deal that his playoff form deserves.
Foles is guaranteed $50 million dollars, with the potential to earn $38 million more. Jacksonville are clearly thinking championships by giving Foles this deal. Foles reunites with former QBs coach in Philadelphia John DeFilippo, with something to prove from his brisk removal from his previous role as Vikings OC.
The pair will need to draw upon the connection which worked so well in Philly if the Jags are going to be a successful offence. The Jaguars lack noticeable playmakers in offence, but one of Foles major strengths as a QB is the ability to spread the ball out so often. Therefore, we may see a team effort of options, rather than a singular playmaker.
As was the case two years ago, the strengths in this team come from an exceptional defence. The defensive line is arguably the best in the entire NFL as Calais Campbell, Yannick Ngakoue and Marcel Dareus generate sacks at an extraordinary rate.
In addition, Myles Jack has become one of the most sensational line backers in the league.
The cornerback group of Ramsey, Bouye and Hayden are undisputedly some of the best players for their position in the league. Furthermore, many draft experts had Josh Allen as one of the best players on their draft board, and Jacksonville gleefully ran his card up on draft night to select him at 7. If all these factors combine to work to the standard of two years ago, Jacksonville will have the recipe for success.
Reasons to be fearful
Tom Coughlin runs the Jags (allegedly) with quite the iron fist. Criticism was directed at Coughlin recently for his misunderstanding of the word voluntary, as he called out Ramsey and Fournette for skipping voluntary workouts.
Fournette also was missing for Jacksonville’s week 17 match up and labelled ‘disrespectful’ and ‘selfish’ by Coughlin for his behaviour. He had a season of injuries and suspensions and finished with a pitiful 439 rushing yards. Jacksonville clearly have a preference to run the ball and will need Fournette to be significantly better this season. Doug Marrone is almost an after-thought as HC and it is questionable whether he has the authority to balance some eccentric characters in Duval.
Those Colts and that schedule
I have bored lots of my friends to tears with my prediction that the 2019 Colts are going to the Super Bowl.
My admiration for their squad will potentially come in a later article, but it cannot be doubted that they are undoubtedly an extremely strong side on both sides of the ball. In relation to Jacksonville, it is clear that they will need to compete with an extremely strong side for AFC South dominance. Jacksonville open with a mouth-watering tie against KC on September 8th, which may set the tone for the season. Moreover, it will be interesting to see if the Jags can get back to winning ways in London when they go up against the Texans at Wembley Stadium. But the two games against the Colts, in week 11 and week 17 may shape where we see the Jags this year.
Sean’s way too early prediction which will come back to bite him in 2020…