Will the Jacksonville Jaguars improve their special team play in 2018?


In a season of high expectations, the Jacksonville Jaguars need a well-rounded year from their special teams group.

The Jacksonville Jaguars had a wonderful season in 2017. The defense ranked second in the NFL and the offense ranked a solid, if not thrilling, fifth in points scored. However, the special teams unit ranked twenty-fourth, according to Rick Gosselin the special teams expert.  With that said, the team must improve their special teams performance.

Special teams are important

The Los Angeles Rams also had a wonderful turnaround season in 2017.  In that, special teams played a critical role in their success.  Moreover the Rams had the best special teams ranking in the NFL and their head coach made it a priority.  John Fassel, special teams coach for the Rams, stated the following: ”The head coach plays a role in not only who makes the team but deciding who dresses on game day.”

He added that it’s a great help to the special teams coach to know early in the week what players will be dressed for the game.

A look back at 2017

The Jaguars didn’t have much depth in 2017 and that no doubt had an effect on special teams. The coach is Joe DeCamillis, a thirty one year coaching veteran.

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To begin, Jacksonville tied with the Cincinnati Bengals as the twenty-fourth ranked special teams. In addition, the Jaguars ranked the lowest of the playoff teams. They committed twenty six enforced penalties, the most in the NFL. The team scored two touchdowns on special teams. Corey Grant ran 56 yards on a fake punt and Jayden Mickens had a 63 yard punt return.

Kicker Josh Lambo played 13 games and made 23/24 field goals and 31/33 extra points.  The punter, Brad Nortman, punted for an average of 38.9 yards.  As a result, he was 29th in net average in the NFL.

Donald Payne led the special-teams with 16 tackles. Next was Lerentee McCray with 12 tackles and Blair Brown with 11 tackles.

2018 special teams depth chart

To start, Josh Lambo returns as kicker. He had a great season in 2017.  The new punter and holder is seventh round pick Logan Cooke.  He is an unknown commodity but will no doubt have competition in training camp. In addition, punt returners could be Jaydon Mickens and Jalen Myrick, with Corey Grant and Shane Wynn returning kicks.

Special teams commentary

Coach DeCamillis returns as the special teams coach. He is hard at work designing formations for the new kick off rules. The three leading special team tacklers are still on the Jaguars roster. Niles Paul signed as a free agent tight end and was also an excellent special teams player.  Above all, the Jaguars have added more depth to the roster and that can only help improve special team play.  If the Jaguars can move from 24th in the league to 15th in the league it would no doubt add a win or two to the overall record.