Dave Caldwell and Gus Bradley have been building their team for the past year and have with a very clear vision for the future. The goal for the 2013 season was to instill Bradley’s style of coaching that we’ve all come to admire. The 2014 season will be about growth with the team hoping their 2013 draft class will collectively make the big leap in their play on the field.
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The team is not ready to make a push for being considered in the playoff hunt for the 2014 season, but Bradley has set the team up to be an energetic, competitive group that opposing teams don’t view as a no-brainer “W” in the win column. The 2015 season will be the year the Caldwell and Bradley infused vision finally begins to pay fans back for their loyalty over the past decade of futility.
Don’t get me wrong, a lot of things still have to happen for 2015 to be the Jaguars rise to relevance, but the blocks are in place for our proverbial “dynasty” to be built. During this series, I will discuss what must happen in the next year for Jacksonville to return its former glory days of the mid to late 90’s.
To start the series off right, the youth of the roster must be covered. The 2013 draft class being the focal point of this article.
Right now the Jags roster is filled with young players who are trying to reach their potential. Bradley has thrown many of the young players into the fire right away with nearly all of the 2013 draft class getting significant playing time last year either as starters or key backup and special teams players.
Out of the draft class, Johnathan Cyprien gained the most experience and made the biggest impact, especially towards the end of the season once he became comfortable with Bradley’s system and the speed of the game. The expectation is that he will become the leader of the defense this year along with Paul Posluszny.
The main focus of the 2013 draft class was to improve the secondary with five DB’s taken, the top performer being Dwayne Gratz. Although he battled an ankle injury most of the season which kept him sidelined for a few games. However when healthy, he proved to be more than a capable starter at corner for the team.
First round pick Luke Joeckel’s season ended abruptly with a broken ankle, so essentially 2014 will be his extended rookie season as fans and coaches hope he can be the left tackle the franchise has been missing since Tony Boselli.
– Ben Thompson
Sep 29, 2013; Jacksonville, FL, USA; Jacksonville Jaguars tackle Luke Joeckel (76) in the first quarter of their game against the Indianapolis Colts at EverBank Field. The Indianapolis Colts beat the Jacksonville Jaguars 37-3. Mandatory Credit: Phil Sears-USA TODAY Sports