2017 Season Previews: Jacksonville Jaguars

The big story in Jag-Land is the return of Tommy Boy. He has come back to lay hands on the franchise and bring it back to at least respectability. He started off with no fricks given, cutting underperforming vets and even sending Brandon Albert home for good when he held out. How he handles Bortles will be the story for the year.

Offense: Blake Bortles went downhill from a decent 2015, and yet threw every single pass for the Jaguars. The main problem is that Bortles throws a lot of dink passes, and plays from behind a lot, so he piles up yards and the occasional touchdowns. I’m not sure if Bortles stinks or he just has zero running game and a crappy offensive line. I would think late in the year they would toss Henne or anyone out there to see if they could do any better. (UPDATE) As of this writing, Henne has taken the starting job. I’m not sure if he will keep it, but it definitely sends a signal. Henne isn’t terrible, but he’s not great either, and at 10 years in, not exactly a building block.

Leonard Fournette

Marqise Lee has been dinged up a bit, but still has speed to burn, but Bortles has been having trouble finding him. Allen Robinson has blossomed into a top target for any QB, and I have to think that a solid QB/RB combo would double his yardage. If Allen Hurns is able to come back from injury and stay on the field, then they have weapons. I don’t understand why they draft a WR in the fourth round, when they could have used that on another guard or running back.
Speaking of Running Back, as a Carolina Panthers Fan, I do want to thank the Jaguars for taking Leonard Fournette. Let me say again, the wife is a major LSU fan, so I have seen pretty much all of his major games. Fournette is going to be a major force in the NFL, buuuut he does kind of need a line. He does need to get the ball quite often, what he does NOT need is two guys hitting him from multiple sides at the same time. Not that any RB does excel, but Fournette is best one on one where is power and speed allow him to make space and get over guys.
The line took a major hit when Branden Albert took getting traded to the Jags personal and said he retired and went home. Seriously. I’m not sure how much of an impact he would have had, given his attitude and injury history. Cam Robinson was taken in the second round to try and nail down the LT spot, but might be better on the right side, but Jeremy Parnell isn’t bad over there and at least is used to the spot. Luke Joeckel was dumped and he was the only first rounder used on the line. The Jaguars QB is in for a long season here, no matter who he ends up being.

Defense: Done with all the depression? Good, lets get to some positives here. Malik Jackson is the centerpiece here, and can do some good work, and Calais Campbell was bought from Arizona to try and help him get to the QB Yannick Ngakoue was a FIND in the third round and got 8 sacks.
Paul Poslusny has moved to the outside and allowing Myles Jack to take over the middle, this is going to be either great or it’s going to make Paul trade bait. Aaron Colvin is a decent player on the other side, but this does bear watching.
The last line is the power of the team. AJ Boyle is over from Houston and will take the top spot and Jalen Ramsey is much better than some teams have at the top corner spot. Barry Church is over from Dallas to trade wins for some sweet cash. This might be one of the better secondaries in the AFC, if only the other two levels won’t have then all with 80 tackles.

Special Teams: Brad Nortman is a former Carolina punter, and the Jaguars can keep him. Jason Myers only missed 2 kicks from inside the 50, but 5 of 12 from beyond. Coverage Units sucked more than attendance at a Browns/Jags Preseason game.

Overall: It really comes down to who is playing QB and how many carries they can give Fournette. Can he do 300 carries for 1100 yards? I’m sure he can, but will that get them wins? Do they want to give him the hits? 250 for 900 won’t make fantasy owners happy, but it will make Jags fans happy in 2019 when they might be looking to get better.
I give them 1 win in division, 0 wins vs the AFC North as they play Cleveland after Watson takes over and at the Pound. 1 win vs the NFC West. They play the Jets for the number 1 overall pick on the road. They get the Chargers at home. I have them losing both for 2-14

Three Questions

1. Was Tom Coughlin the right choice?

Joe: Coughlin knows football.

So, I think as long as he realizes he ain’t the coach and that he shouldn’t be the coach, and that he just needs to attend to his front office responsibilities… then yes, he will have been the right choice for the Jags.

Dan: Yes, I believe so. He was a good coach in New York leading them to multiple Super Bowls and I believe he can bring a winning mentality to Jacksonville. Since he won’t be a coach or on the field and he’s working in the front office, he won’t have the same impact, but I believe he’ll definitely have a solid impact upstairs and the behind-the-scenes impact can be more important than in the middle of all the action.

David: It really depends on what he does. Marv Levy wasn’t exactly a success when he came back from coaching to just be a GM.
I do think this was a solid hire, at least for now, as Tommy Boy is the be-all end-all guy in town. Considering the hsitory, that has to be better than what they were doing.

2. What would you do with Blake Bortles?

Joe: Trade him for whatever draft choice can be had and hire Colin Kaepernick for 2017.  Then go find a young QB they can develop. Chad Henne is not the answer. Brandon Allen could be if he ever gets the chance.

Dan: I think they give him another year, see what he can do this season. While Coughlin is the executive president, he isn’t the coach, so what he was able to do in New York won’t really have the same effect in Jacksonville, but I think that if Bortles has a bad season again, they need to move on. But they definitely should give him this season. He needs somebody to take time and coach him because he has the weapons at his disposal, he just needs to execute.

David: He has already lost the starting job, and I don’t think he has any trade value, I think you let the cap decide on when to cut him loose.

3. Did the Jags handle the Brandon Albert situation correctly?

Joe: When Asked about Albert. Coughlin’s response was in full: “Reserve/retired. That’s all I have to say about it. There’s nothing really to say. Reserve/retired.”

I got to say it could have been handled with a lot more diplomacy and he should have been given the chance to make the team.

Dan: I think they did. First he joins the team. Okay, that’s fine. Then when he quit and didn’t show up to the off-season program, that was a problem. He wanted a different deal. Wasn’t happening. Then all of a sudden after he bluffed about retirement, the Jaguars said “good bye” and left. They didn’t want all of these problems. They want a player who wants to be on their team and wants to play for them. Why waste time and money on a player who doesn’t? They made the right move.

David: Absolutely. Albert is not going to make the Jags a title contender, or a division contender or even a playoff contender. Why have him around if he’s just going to sulk and complain. Let’s also keep in mind he wasn’t exactly a brick wall when he did play last year.

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