Coloring with Teal: Jags are the Flavor of the Month


The Jacksonville Jaguars have put themselves in the limelight with their offseason, from Free Agency and culminating in their 2016 NFL Draft class.

Hi Readership!

Well, the tomfoolery of mocking the draft is behind us, and it is time to begin to look ahead towards the upcoming season.

Every year, one team stands out as the offseason darling of the NFL, the one team whose offseason changes and moves put it in the prime position to surprise the league. In 2013, it was the Kansas City Chiefs who, despite a perceived lackluster draft, had just acquired Andy Reid and QB Alex Smith and was coming off a 2-14 season. Result: 11-5. The next year, the 2-14 Houston Texans captured the intrigue of talking heads when they also brought in a new coach, Bill O’Brien, and combined with offseason moves as well as despite their QB carousel upped their season record to 9-7. Last year’s vogue choice was the New York Jets, whose 4-12 tally at the end of 2014 was replaced with 10-6 following a head-coaching change from Rex Ryan to Todd Bowles and replacing QB Geno Smith with Norse Demigod Ryan Fitzpatrick.

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This year, the Jaguars are starting to draw attention with their offseason. The biggest difference between our beloved black-and-teal squad and these other teams is the lack of a change at the head-coaching position. One of owner Shad Khan’s most controversial moves since taking over ownership of the Jaguars in 2011 was to not fire head coach Gus Bradley, and eventually extending his contract by a year.  To justify their decision to retain Gus, General Manager Dave Caldwell explained that he did not hold Bradley responsible for the general results of the 2013 and 2014 seasons.

There are many fans who think this is a lame excuse. At one point during 2015, even the top writer over at our friendly rival,, argued for the termination of Bradley’s contract after the sixth game of the season.

Still, and despite that we sit on opposite sides of this computer screen, let’s see a show of hands of anyone who truly believed the Jaguars were going to win a significant number of games in 2013? Seriously, anyone? Even if I remind you that Blaine “Blame” Gabbert was our starting QB? Remember, it was widely acknowledged that the Jags had the worst roster in recent memory.  Not worst team, worst roster. So, some free agency and a first draft in what has become recognized as a terrible draft (see link above), what’s the best any coach could have done?

“Maybe we can make the next leap this year on defense, and be the darlings of the NFL”

How about 2014? We drafted Blake Bortles and Allen Robinson and signed Allen Hurns. Of course, remember that Marqise Lee was also drafted.  However, did any of you believe that the Jags were poised to break out that year? Remember, we were just getting the unknown Luke Joeckel back from a broken ankle, and our QB was the rock-steady journeyman Chad Henne. Raise those hands, you rascals!  You really believed, didn’t you? Don’t worry, so did I.  I like getting swept up in the hope that the Jaguars will defy the odds and take the league by storm.

“But this year is different.”

Yes, it is. Last year the offense took a big leap. Everyone is on board with Bortles’ progress, and expects the offense to continue, especially after the free-agency moves to acquire RB Chris Ivory as well as Kelvin Beachum to compete with Joeckel at left tackle.

But the main point is that the defense is being overhauled both in free agency and in the draft. We are getting back our first-round pick with Dante Fowler. But I don’t want to convince you with that.  There are other articles to do that for me.

Caldwell highlighted the order in which he would build this team: left tackle, quarterback, and then defensive end. Recently he said that that is risky to rely on rookies to carry the weight of the season’s success. As part of his rebuild strategy, he has said that the first few seasons would focus heavily to build through the draft and then add depth through free agency. The Jaguars have arguably reached that point. Additionally, with defense more or less last on the list, it makes sense that the defense was the latest coaching staff to get an upgrade. We struck gold with Olsen last season; maybe we can make the next leap this year on defense, and be the darlings of the NFL.

Maybe this year IS different.