2014 Season Previews: Jacksonville Jaguars

Jacksonville Jaguars

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2014 Season Preview

The Jags sucked.
Rinse, repeat.
The Jags had a horrible year, again, but now have lost what could be considered the best player in franchise history in MJD, and instead of getting any kind of return on him, let him finally walk. Who knows what that 31st ranked rushing offense is going to do without MJD? A new GM comes over from Seattle to rebuild.
Again.

Offensive Line

We start with last season’s first round pick, Luke Joeckel, who didn’t last the season before going down, and move to Zane Beadles, coming over from Denver, then uh. Nothing. Cleveland matched the offer to Alex Mack, and there wasn’t much of a plan B. There are good backups for the other 3 spots, but no real hang your hat starters. Mike Brewster is the center of record and Cameron Bradfield is back at RT, but neither are scaring any front lines in the SEC. Uche Nwaneri was let go, and the Jags have no idea if the replacement is any better, whomever it is.

RB

Toby Gerhart is now taking over, having backed up the best back in football the past few years, he is a 3 yards and a cloud of dust kind of guy, but will wait for a hole on draw plays. He’s not going to outrun anyone in the secondary, but is tough to bring down by small guys. He’s a good blocker, and that’s going to help. The Jags have bodies behind him, but there isn’t much depth.

QBBlake Bortles

Chad Henne and his sub-500 record is back, while Blake Bortles gets his things moved in. the plan is to let Blake sit for a bit, so the Jags don’t get a repeat of Blaine Gabbert, off to San Fran to start over, I would expect BB to get his first start at home vs Dallas since they should be in free fall (spoilers) and the next week is the bye. (He should get mop-up duty weeks 7/8 at home vs Browns/Fins) I’m not a big BB fan, and they should have taken the Buffalo offer to get Watkins, but that’s just me. BB should sell tickets though, and local boy done good is a story that always works. (That local boy being from FSU next year with Jake Matthews at RT might sell better but . . .)

Receivers

Justin Blackmon is gone for who knows how long, and the Jags burned both second round picks to fill both starting receiver spots. I can see it being a good thing, but not with that offensive line. Its entirely possible that the QB/WR1/WR2 will be around for the next half decade, and this is genius, but it can also fall apart. I do like Cecil Shorts if he’s back 100%, and Ace Sanders caught 51 balls last year. This could be a strong unit going forward. Might be the best unit if the rookies pan out. If Blackmon ever comes back, this is undoubtedly the best unit. Marcedes Lewis is a blocking tight end who isn’t much of a threat when he does run a route.

Defensive Line

The Jags spent a TON of money here for free agents, but lets be honest, they damn near could have added me and gotten better. They have 2 new ends, both coming over from Seattle with coach Bradley- Chris Clemons and Red Bryant. Both are veteran players who must be looking for a payday since they got the ring. Tyson Alualu is the primary backup, since he was a BUST at tackle and the Jags need to get something from the top pick from 2010. In the middle the Jags have Roy Miller who should be 100% and Sen’Derrick Marks- who about the only one on the line worth anything last year.

LinebackersPaul Posluszny

Paul Posluszny is an above average MLB, but is surrounded by a world of shit. The Jags have linebackers around him, but none are going to turn the team around. I think you might be looking at a lot of guys being shuffled around during the preseason.

Defensive Backs

The Jaguars started 3 rookies last year in the secondary, and it cost them last year, but its not like the Jaguars had a lot of options. Again, lack of a front seven might also have had a lot to do with that as well. Will Blackmon was resigned as well, so at least there are some bodies back there to start moving around. They did add Alan Ball to at least give them a starting point. The safeties started 11 games together last year, and did improve with time, so Johnathan Cyprien and Josh Evans should get another year together to see how they play.

Special Teams

If only the other 20 starters were as solid as the special teams players- the Jags did well in coverage and Punter Bryan Anger had the best statistical year in Jaguar history, and considering he dropped back almost as often as the quarterback did, that’s saying something. Kicker Josh Scobee was also solid. The only real problem on this team is on punt return- less than 5 yards per play.

Draft:

Best Picks the Jags have made in years.
Best Picks the Jags have made in years.

I didn’t do a full breakdown of the Jags, but here is what I said in the Draft Day breakdown:

Blake Bortles, QB, Central Florida

Is he going to fill the stadium? I don’t know. I mean not a prize coming out of High School, and not really on the radar. How impressive is he going to be in the NFL? I mean really. I just wonder if he wouldn’t be there 10 picks from now.

I still feel that this was an AWFUL pick, looking through the roster for this preview, I feel even worse for Jags fans. Why didn’t they take the Bills offer, or ANY offer to drop down? Let me again underline how bare the cabinet is for the Jags. If the Jags had the top pick in the draft, and Cam Newton and/or Andrew Luck was there and you offered me the 10th 20th and 3 second rounders- I TAKE THAT DEAL. Seriously. I do like the thought process behind taking QB/WR/WR but only if this was a team that had a solid defense- the Vikings for example. Bortles has to be the MAN for this draft to really be a non-bust. Looking at the players, the top 4 picks should start, (QB/WR/WR/ and G Brandon Linder) as well as Aaron Colvin should be looking at a corner job. The rest should make the team, simply on a depth basis.

Outlook:

The Jags are going to stink this year. Period. If Blake Bortles is the next Dan Marino, they are still going to stink. Name me the unit on this team that the Pats, Broncos, Colts or Chiefs would swap out for, man for man. Heck, name me the until on any team that won 6 games last year.

I look for the Jaguars to finish 2 games behind the Titans, at least. I look to them circling the Redskins, Browns and the two Titans games as chances to win. I see a hard fought 2-14 season, and them looking at Texas A&M for the savior of the season, no not Manziel, but the big guy blocking for him last year, then going for linebackers.

Second Look

EJ: The Jaguars were awful last year. It seems like we have been saying that a lot the past few seasons, but they have been. The face of the franchise, Maurice Jones-Drew is off to Oakland, and the potential new face of the franchise is rookie quarterback Blake Bortles. Like David, I’m not crazy about Bortles. I wasn’t impressed with him at Central Florida, and I can’t help but feel they won’t regret taking a QB a year early. Jameis Winston could be the #1 pick next year, and that could be a dilemna Jacksonville will have to deal with come draft time 2015.

However, this is about Jacksonville 2014 and I see an offense with a ton of question marks. Besides the quarterback situation, the Jags have issues at running back and wide receiver. A lot of good things about Toby Gerhart is out there right now, but he’s pretty unproven as a lead back. At receiver I like Ace Sanders, and I think the Jags drafted a star in Marquise Lee. Once they figure out the QB situation, he’ll have a receiver in Lee that can go get it and take it to the house. Also, I’m curious as to what will happen with former Michigan QB Denard Robinson. Denard is a great athlete, very fast and elusive in space but is he a running back, a wide receiver, or an NFL bust? This season will tell.

As bad as the offense is, I have to wonder if the Jags even have a player of note on defense? Head Coach Gus Bradley came to the Jags after a stint as a defensive coordinator with the Seattle Seahawks, but he still doesn’t have a franchise player to work with on that side of the ball. A defense with no standouts and an offense that is full of holes? Ouch. Jags fans might not like what I’m about to say.

Your team still sucks. Sorry Jags fans. It does. My prediction for the Jags this season is 2-14 and the #1 overall pick in the 2015 draft.

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