What is the ‘floor’ for the Jacksonville Jaguars in 2015?


The Jacksonville Jaguars have a handful of reasons to be optimistic heading into the 2015 NFL season, none more prominent than second year quarterback Blake Bortles.

After a rough rookie season, Bortles has shown significant improvement during the preseason and looks like a quarterback in command of his offense. Bortles has looked comfortable and productive in Greg Olson’s scheme despite the absence of tight end Julius Thomas and wide receiver Marqise Lee, and without a very consistent running game.

The Jaguars appear to have some work to do on defense, particularly in the pass rush department, but the advent of a more productive offense should help keep the Jaguars in games.

All that in mind, it’s hard to envision a scenario where the Jaguars don’t improve upon their win total from 2014. Elliot Harrison over at NFL.com still thinks that’s a possibility however:

"JACKSONVILLE JAGUARSCeiling: 9-7. Don’t laugh. Even if rookie back T.J. Yeldon doesn’t tear up the land to the tune of 1,500 yards, this offense has potential at QB, WR and TE. The much-discussed Allen Robinson boosts the aerial attack in a major way, posting 86 catches for 1,282 yards and eight touchdowns, and quarterback Blake Bortles provides a similar lift.Floor: 3-13. While Bortles continues to physically resemble Ben Roethlisberger, he fails to play like the Steelers QB. The Jags’ running game falters in support of what should be an improved passing game. The Jared Odrick singing proves to be another misfire. Tight end Julius Thomas? Don’t ask."

I agree with Elliot’s assessment of the Jaguars’ ceiling, although I think the Jaguars don’t necessarily need a historically great season from Yeldon to get there. If Bortles is anywhere near the guy we’ve seen in the preseason, I think he can make it work without a great rushing attack.

On the flip side, I find it hard to imagine the Jaguars finishing with the same record as last year. Even if Bortles is half the guy we’ve seen so far, the Jaguars should get better play from most of the second year guys on offense and defense. Even if the Jaguars float through the season without a consistent pass rush, I don’t know if the Jaguars win less than 5 games. Another 3-13 season and we may not see Gus Bradley back as head coach in 2015.

Next: Jags should sit starters vs. Skins

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