It’s not like we haven’t seen this before. The Jacksonville Jaguars win free agency, get high marks for their NFL Draft – and BOOM! Nothing happens. No progression and no playoff invite. The Jacksonville Jaguars are the Lucy Van Pelt of the NFL and the fans play the role of Charlie Brown.
This year may be different. Sure, fans have said that for years about this organization, but this could be the year the Jacksonville Jaguars surprise us all. And this year, Charlie Brown gets his revenge,
As the Jaguars move through OTAs and look toward training camp, many questions must be answered. With Head Coach Doug Marrone instilling a new culture to this roster, will it be enough for players to buy in and push the win told north of the .500 mark? Can the city finally get excited about games played after New Year’s Day?
Here are the three most pressing questions for this team heading into training camp
Will Blake Bortles Take The Next Step?
We are all holding our breath on this one.
Nobody has more to prove on this team than the quarterback. In order to stay here in Jacksonville, Bortles must execute better and find open receivers. He must take care of the football and he also must be patient in the pocket.
There is more to it than that, like becoming a better practice player and a leader on and off the field. So many good things happen when Bortles is on the move out of the pocket. He must also rely on his wide receivers – Allen Robinson, Allen Hurns and Marqise Lee – to get open and make plays down the field. The Jacksonville Jaguars gave Bortles a stud running back in Leonard Fournette to take some of the pressure off the passing game. The goal is for Jacksonville to increase their running plays will cutting down on pass attempts. If Bortles can play like Eli Manning when the New York Giants were winning Super Bowls, the Jacksonville Jaguars will finally have their franchise quarterback.
Where Does Dante Fowler Fit In The Rotation?
As I told Stephen Reed on Thursday, Fowler is in a better position with Doug Marrone as the Jacksonville Jaguars’ head coach.
Gus Bradley’s scheme had Fowler playing with a hand on the ground. Maybe Fowler should be used like he was at Florida. In the Gators’ defense, Fowler was more effective when he played standing up, as an outside pass rusher or at outside linebacker. The lingo of OTTO and LEO are now gone and Fowler is free to roam if he wants to.
The good thing about Fowler’s role with this team is he can rotate with Yannick Ngakoue and Calais Campbell to give the Jacksonville Jaguars a solid pass rush trio. Fowler is fast and aggressive and shows a serious first step, bull rush move that could cause issues for opposing tackles.
This could be the year Fowler puts it all together and becomes a top pass rusher and sack artist like Vic Beasley in Atlanta.
How Good Will The Offensive Line Be?
It’s a question the Jacksonville Jaguars are going to have to ask until this team gets it right.
Tony Boselli, when asked earlier this week on “The Drill” on 1010XL AM and 92.5 FM, said it can take as little as five minutes for an offensive line to gel. In the case of this unit, there has to be continuity by the time training camp ends.
I am not as critical some when it comes to this group. The addition of Cam Robinson should pay off. Brandon Linder is taking reps at both guard and center. There is depth and this team could be built like the New York Giants of the Tom Coughlin Era. The running game can’t blame the offensive line for all its troubles. There were times last season when TJ Yeldon and Chris Ivory missed an opening and did not move the ball forward.
The Jacksonville Jaguars have the makings of a middle of the pack unit right now.