On the surface, the Jaguars didn’t improve from their week 10 victory in Tennessee when they played the Arizona Cardinals at home this past Sunday. In reality, the Jaguars are in a better spot both long and short term despite the loss.
At risk of being disturbingly obvious, the Jacksonville Jaguars are not going to compete for a playoff spot this year, that much is pretty clear. In addition to basically being mathematically eliminated at this point, the Jaguars just don’t have the talent to stack up with the upper echelon teams in the league. So what are the goals of the 2013 season going forward?
- Getting the young talent playing time and seeing if players recently drafted or acquired are worth keeping and can contribute on a contending team
- Positioning the team to get a franchise quarterback in 2014
Head Coach Gus Bradley has a plethora of young players on the roster and he’s doing a good job of putting them in positions to get snaps and learn from them. The secondary in particular has shown flashes of brilliance and should be solid if some core players develop (Johnathan Cyprien, Dwayne Gratz, Josh Evans, etc). The youth movement on offense is going to have to wait until next year since so many players at starting positions in 2013 are likely gone in 2014.
The second proposition is particularly tricky because teams don’t tank in the NFL nor should they. Fortunately the Jaguars are in the pole position for the first pick in the 2014 draft after Tampa Bay secured their second win of the season. The Jaguars currently pace ahead of four 2-win teams, one of which is not going to draft a quarterback (Atlanta) and another who may opt to stick with a recent draft pick (Tampa Bay). If the Jaguars end up with the first pick, I fully expect them to take a quarterback and at the moment Teddy Bridgewater is the best option.
Taking a step back and looking at the big picture, the Jaguars are in a good spot. The Falcons already have their franchise quarterback but he hasn’t managed to transcend the injuries around him; the Buccaneers have a lame duck coach on a team with several pricey free agents; the Vikings have no idea what to do at the quarterback position and have only managed two wins with the best running back in the league; and the Texans are feeling the ramifications of mismanaging the salary cap.
It seems bleak now, but I’ll take the Jaguars future outlook over all those teams’.
- Daniel Lago
Yell at me on Twitter @dlago89