NFL.com writer Adam Rank and I share the same philosophy when it comes to the Jaguars and the 2018 season. There is still plenty to prove despite the fact this team made it to the AFC championship game last year.
While we enjoy watching the philosophy of smash-mouth football, mixed with a tenacious defense that many thinks should be even better this season, facts are facts. The Jaguars aren’t respected on a national level like they need to be. Some prognosticators believed last season was a one-hit wonder.
These Jaguars will prove everyone wrong.
"“Look at the roster. This is easily the most talented team in the league,” said Rank. “Jacksonville’s loaded everywhere.”"
He might be right. Even with questions about starting receivers and the third linebacker position, there is depth everywhere. A solid indication of how good this roster is might be known once the team begins purging its 90-man roster. And NFL executive once said you can judge how good a team is by what happens to players it releases in the off-season and where they sign.
If any of these players latch on to other teams, then the Jaguars front office is doing its job.
"“This is a good team. And there is no doubt in my mind we will all be shouting Duuuuuval again during the playoffs. They might even win this (expletive),” Rank said."
The players on the roster who were here last year know there is unfinished business. They know they were less than 10 minutes away from getting to the Super Bowl. The coaching staff also knows there are areas this roster can improve upon. Head coach Doug Marrone has been preaching that since the day he walked into the media room prior to the team’s first OTA of the season.
He addressed it again as the team concluded minicamp a little over a week ago.
"“I still talk about laying the foundation,” he said. “We are still going to continue to do that all the way until we get to training camp. We will start with that foundation again. We will start building it up and try to build it up that’s going into the season trying to build upon the hard work we put in it. I think at the end of the day when I look at it, I told the players, ‘Make no mistake about it. We have a lot of work in front of us to be where we want to be as a football team.’”"
It’s possible this team will run the football, even more, this coming season. Rank said that Jaguars ran the football 527 times last year. The next closest team in the NFL ran at 501 times. It might not seem to be that huge a gap, but it proves this is a football team that will continue to use the run to set up the pass.
The Jaguars defense is hungry for more and will set out to prove that it is the best in the NFL. There are many who think if the Jaguars can prove they are just as proficient passing the football as they are running it, they have a good chance to not only make the playoffs again, but they could become a serious Super Bowl contender once more.