Can the Jacksonville Jaguars Carry Success into the 2015 Season?


The Jacksonville Jaguars certainly didn’t have a successful 2014 season by almost any measure. There are small rays of hope, but you have to squint and shake your head to see them. Though, maybe that’s just me getting dizzy while trying.

In all seriousness, though, the 2014 was a rough one for year two of a massive rebuild. The Jaguars lost one more game than the year before and Blake Bortles really struggled to show why the team took him third overall in the preceding draft. The young players certainly need to make a much-needed step in 2015.

Fortunately for those youngsters, it isn’t just up to them.

Starting in the 2015 free agency period, the Jaguars decided to make the offseason a monstrous success. Bringing in tight end Julius Thomas, defensive lineman Jared Odrick, and right tackle Jermey Parnell were all prudent moves that should help the Jaguars become competitive in 2015. A handful of other free agents came with, many of whom are expected to start, and the team overhauled its offensive coaching staff as well.

These were the moves of a team committed to getting better.

During the OTAs and minicamp a couple young players took strides too. Wide receiver Allen Robinson has been progressing and could be the first 1000 yard receiver for the Jaguars since 2005. Blake Bortles has been reported as sharper and his mechanics have improved, which should help him worry about more practical things like limiting mistakes and scoring points. Cornerback Dwayne Gratz is recovering after an up and down 2014 that saw him fail to build on a decent rookie year in 2013. He will be battling for a top spot as well.

When you add it all up you have a big spending spree and a lot of coach speak about players who are expected to succeed. You shouldn’t shy away simply during fantasy football, you should be wary simply because “big” offseasons like this often don’t translate well into the season. Everything looks good on paper for the team that seems to be rocketing upward (which often seems to be the Oakland Raiders in my experience) but it doesn’t turn into a lot of wins.

That’s the challenge for many NFL teams. While the Pittsburgh Steelers and Green Bay Packers put together quality draft after quality draft and build a machine that couldn’t fail with half of its pieces missing, other teams are trying a bit more of a piecemeal approach, supplementing strong drafts with quality free agents. The Jacksonville Jaguars have been doing things right with the draft so far and 2015 may be the first time we see if their approach to talent acquisition doesn’t come back to haunt them. Free agents will be mixing with an established (albeit young) culture under head coach Gus Bradley, trying to create a winning mix of players.

So far things are looking up and hopefully the Jacksonville Jaguars aren’t the next team haunted by the specter of “big” offseasons. On paper things should be trending upward. That success can continue, the team just needs to make sure it doesn’t trip over itself.

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