Who said we needed to get on Hard Knocks to get some exposure? We’re just two games into the preseason, but there’s enough national chatter about the Jaguars to make HBO fully regret their decision not to put us on the air. Since the beginning of the day on Monday, 10 Jaguars centered articles were written on ProFootballTalk.com (a fairly biased site for Jags ignorance/criticism). 10!! I feel lucky when I get to read one or two a week, much less 10 in 2 days. Why have the Jaguars become so attractive to the media recently?…
…Because we have all the makings of an incredibly compelling story. We have a coming-of-age story developing (bring it Lombardi), we have scandal and deceit (I’m looking at you, Jones-Drew), we have incredibly intriguing characters (who is the man behind the mustache?), and now a historic metropolitan background (sorry Jacksonville, London has a clock more historic than you). We have change, both the expected (Mularkey and co.) and the less expected (Rashad Jennings being an absolute boss). We have exciting new characters (Blackmon , Branch), but even the familiar old ones seemed to have breathed in new life (Mike Thomas). More importantly, this year in Jacksonville we have a true sense of possibility – a sense that the window of opportunity, though miniscule, is open… a sense that with the right circumstances, anything could happen… a sense that for the first time in five or so years, we truly have an uncertain trajectory.
Some of you readers (among you, my friends) may scoff and say the Jags are still a 6-10 team… and perhaps that is true. But even if we bump the Jaguars up an extra win or two because of their incredibly productive (and meaningless) preseason play, we aren’t giving the Jaguars’ story enough credence by simply calling them an 8-8 team. The tiny bit of fire they’ve shown their fans, and the NFL, is now in the realm of possibility. Who in their right (non-biased) mind thought the Jaguars would be competitive in games against the Giants and Saints – even in the preseason? Who even dreamed that Blaine would have a game with a completion percentage of over 80%? If I told you before training camp started that the Jaguars might lose their best player – their only elite player and the guy that had been the face of their franchise for the last half decade or so – who among us would’ve thought that the Jaguars had even the slightest chance to be competitive?
This is the beauty of what the preseason has shown us – that while unlikely, great results are possible from a team that wasn’t even destined for mediocrity. But at the same time, the flipside is just as likely – that an incredible preseason could be followed up by a humiliating, first-overall-pick-winning regular season. For fans that are riding high after the last two wins, it’s not really as far off as it might seem now. Think about the status of the team right now – so many key players that are injured or trying to come back from injury – both starting tackles, a starting guard, a starting defensive end, two starting cornerbacks, two starting linebackers, two starting defensive tackles (3 total). And that doesn’t even include players the player holding out or the very real potential for these injuries to be long term and/or more injuries.
So what was HBO’s mistake? Well, they clearly didn’t realize that the intriguing Dolphin stories seem to be centered in Peru, not Miami. While this may have seemed counter-intuitive a few weeks ago, it certainly seems clear now – if you’re going to shoot a wildlife documentary in Florida, you should probably film it in Jacksonville.
– Zain Gowani
Tags: Andre Branch Blaine Gabbert Chad Johnson Chad Ochocinco Entourage Hard Knocks Hbo HBO's Hard Knocks Jacksonville Jaguars Jaguars London Justin Blackmon Maurice Jones-drew Maurice Jones-Drew Contract Maurice Jones-Drew Holdout Maurice Jones-Drew Trade Miami Dolphins Mike Mularkey Mike Thomas New Orleans Saints New York Giants NFL London NFL Preseason Rashad Jennings Shahid Khan