After a somewhat disappointing 3-win season in 2014, almost everyone involved with the Jacksonville Jaguars is under pressure to improve in 2015. General manager David Caldwell has now had 3 full offseasons to completely revamp what was one of the worst rosters in the entire NFL, and the team appears to be in a much better position to compete week in and week out.
While the roster looks formidable in an overall sense, the most vital component to this team competing for a playoff spot is the progress of second year quarterback Blake Bortles. A year removed from being the third overall pick of the 2014 draft, Bortles needs to improve significantly in his sophomore campaign. Dan Hanzus over at NFL.com elaborates, as he had Bortles on his list of folks under the most pressure this year:
"Jaguars fans still recovering from the Blaine Gabbert Era couldn’t have felt good as Bortles’ rookie season quickly unraveled thanks to a poor offensive line, faulty mechanics and a suspect supporting cast. The reports are all good out of Jacksonville this spring, and the Jaguars have improved their backfield while adding a big fish in tight end Julius Thomas. Conor sees Bortles as a guy ready to make the leap. The Jaguars need it to happen, too, or they’ll be asking once again if they invested in the right guy behind center. — Dan Hanzus"
Despite the somewhat easy and lazy allusion to former first round quarterback Blaine Gabbert, Hanzus is correct in asserting that Bortles needs to instill some confidence during his sophomore season that the team made the right choice. This offseason has been all about helping Bortles succeed by improving both the offensive line and the weapons around him. The importance of Bortles making a big jump in year 2 can’t be understated, as he and he alone give the Jaguars a chance to make the playoffs in 2015.
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