The preseason is in the books for the Jacksonville Jaguars. A 1-3 finish will be wiped clean when the games that actually matter begin on September 7 and the 2014 regular season gets underway. The Jacksonville Jaguars 2014 season is now taking center stage for fans, coaches, and the front office alike.
With the seventh rapidly approaching, the Jaguars are busy analyzing final roster spots, agonizing over the cuts that are due in the coming days, and focusing on getting better in the 2014 season.
Based on the exhibition games closing out summer, the Jaguars are in a better place than they were last year. While questions remain on the offensive line – especially at center – and the offense is certainly untested, the Jaguars are geared up for greater success than their 4-12 campaign last year.
The success of rookies Allen Hurns and Blake Bortles during the preseason has brought a lot of attention to the Jaguars, but it will be up to starting quarterback Chad Henne and other veterans like wide receiver Cecil Shorts and linebacker Paul Posluszny to lead the Jaguars moving forward. With new, talented additions joining a streamlined core of leading veterans, the Jaguars are poised to improve over last year’s marks. The Jaguars’ top brass have stuck behind Henne throughout the preseason and all of the hype around first rounder Bortles. They are convinced that Henne can compete on a higher level, especially with a second year under offensive coordinator Jedd Fisch. As Jaguars.com senior writer John Oesher put it, “Henne is starting the regular season for the very simple reason that the coaches believe in him, believe in his experience and believe he’s the best choice to lead a young offense.”
But it isn’t just the offense that will be a focal point heading into the season. The defense needs to improve, too.
The Jaguars were ranked poorly in almost every major defensive statistic last season. The young defense has had another year to grow, a year to gel, and should be able to successfully transition to a stronger all around unit for the 2014 regular season. Roy Miller, Johnathan Cyprien, Alan Ball, Chris Clemons, and company will look to turn this into a statement year. The second year under Bob Babich and defense-minded head coach Gus Bradley should see a rise in defensive efficiencies and capabilities. The coaching staff will expect much bigger returns this season than in the first “rebuilding” year.
The 2014 Jaguars are young, still finding their feet, and still finding their identity. Bradley put it best: “If we play with great energy, great enthusiasm, great toughness, and play smart, then I think that I really like the way we are.” The Jags are pointing upward and the preseason highlighted this. Now is the time to start putting it all together.