The Jacksonville Jaguars have been something of an afterthought in sports action for the past several years as a pretender that would occasionally masquerade as a marginal contender. The Jack Del Rio era lived on for too many seasons and combined with an ownership of shallow pockets, made the Jaguars a franchise that was considered less than top rate and potentially on the move to Los Angeles.
The Jags finished with a sports betting record of 5-11 in 2011 as Del Rio was fired before the season ended. Despite the bitter and hopeless end there is cause for renewed focus and even optimism as the Jaguars have much needed new ownership, a new president, and a new coach in Mike Mularkey, who was the successful offensive coordinator of the Atlanta Falcons prior to this assignment.
New owner Shahid Kahn has promised to make the Jaguars one of the top franchises in the NFL and believes that Mularkey is one of the key components to making that happen. Kahn insisted that he and Mularkey will be “aiming high” and that has caused an apathetic small market of fans to give the franchise a second look if not a second chance.
Kahn had a well-received “Ready to Rise” fan rally that was a much needed infusion of hope and vision that fans are buying into. With such a great offensive mind as Mularkey set to pair up with top draft choice and 2011 rookie starting quarterback Blaine Gabbert, there is every reason to believe that the Jags can make the next move into true contender status.
Gabbert, as is the case with nearly all rookie quarterbacks in the NFL, struggled with an up and down season in which he finished with a 65.4 QB rating and a 12/11 TD/INT ratio. But nearly everyone gives Gabbert a pass for those numbers as they were based on a poorly conceived offense and inadequate coaching. With Mularkey taking over, it could be that Gabbert could improve. One weapon that will need no further assistance or experience is running back Maurice Jones-Drew who finished with 1606 yards rushing in 2011 and a 4.7 yards per carry average with 8 TD’s. He also caught 43 passes for 374 yards and 3 TD’s to give Gabbert an instant asset to make as the offensive foundation.
The future could be bright for the Jaguars in 2012.