In this series, we will look at some of the worst teams in the league and figure out a way to turn them around in the next couple of years to make them contenders in the NFL.
The Jacksonville Jaguars have too much talent to perform as poorly as they have, especially this past season. They have talented receivers, running backs, and in every area of the defense, but they finished 25th in points allowed and points scored and their biggest deficiency came on offense. Even though they finished where they did in points allowed, they were sixth in total yards allowed which indicates that opposing offenses were working with shorter fields, thanks to their offense having a negative sixteen-turnover ratio.
If they feel that they want another young quarterback to help change the culture of the team, then they might be able to look in the draft. They have the fourth pick in the draft, but with teams like Chicago, San Francisco and Cleveland ahead of them, they might be out of luck when picking a top-level quarterback. If Mitch Trubisky or Deshone Kizer is there, then maybe the Jaguars can pick them up and hopefully turn things around, but that is highly unlikely and the Jaguars might not think that they are worth the pick. Another thing that they could look for in the draft is to add some depth to the offensive line. Luke Joeckel is a free agent and it sounds like he wants a chance to start at tackle and probably won’t be back in Jacksonville next season. It doesn’t look like this year’s draft has an offensive lineman worthy of the fourth pick, but it is something that they should address in the second or third round of the draft.
Their receivers are still some of the best in the league with Allen Robinson, Allen Hurns and Marquis Lee looked like he was taking some big steps this season to becoming another weapon for whoever is playing quarterback. They also had problems running the football as none of their running backs could get 500 yards this season and only scored eight touchdowns on the ground, but three of those were Bortles. A lot of their problems running the football is because of the fact that they had to play from behind a lot this season, but if they are able to get more stability, then they shouldn’t have to go get a top running back in the draft or free agency. They might look in a later round or for a cheap free agent just to add depth behind TJ Yeldon and Chris Ivory.
They should try to resign Prince Amukamara, even if they draft a top defensive back because he is someone that knows the system and gives them some depth at the position. They can also look for some depth along the offensive line and on the defensive line to set themselves up going forward. Football is won in the trenches and Jacksonville would be wise to improve that going into next season. The AFC South was arguably the worst division in the NFL last season and it shouldn’t be a challenge for the Jaguars to compete.
They already fired Gus Bradley, decided to promote interim coach Doug Marrone, and brought in Tom Coughlin to oversee the entire operation. That was a smart move by the Jaguars because Coughlin won two Super Bowls with the Giants and his insight to this organization can make them a contender in the AFC, given the talent that this team already has. Marrone has experience as a head coach and had some success when he was in Buffalo and should be able to do a good job in this situation.
The Jaguars are actually a lot closer than some of the other last place teams in the league and should be able to turn things around quickly if their leadership can figure everything out. The most important thing will be if Bortles can’t turn his fortunes around, then the Jaguars having a contingency plan in place, just in case he regresses further. Coughlin and Marrone both have experience in this league and are a good combination to fix this team and with a few tweaks to the roster, the Jaguars should be just fine.