The Jacksonville Jaguars have to make strides this year on offense to become a consistent Super Bowl contender, and Bill Barnwell of ESPN doesn’t think highly of the weapons on hand.
While the focus of their improvement in 2017 was the elite defense, the Jacksonville Jaguars quietly put together solid offensive output. The team finished top 6 in terms of points per game and ended up as the number 1 rushing team in the league despite some struggles from their star rookie rusher down the stretch.
Speaking of Leonard Fournette, it’s clear the Jaguars are intent on making him the focal point of the offense next year and beyond. He’s by far their most dangerous weapon, and that’s both a testament to his skill and the question marks surrounding the rest of the skill positions.
Bill Barnwell over at ESPN recently ranked all the offensive arsenals in the league and he had the Jaguars ranked fairly low:
"25. Jacksonville JaguarsLeonard Fournette absorbed a huge workload when healthy in 2017, with the first-round pick’s numbers impacted by an ankle injury. The LSU product averaged 4.6 yards per carry before the injury in the middle of the season and just 3.2 yards per rush afterward. Fournette should be better, but the additions to the receiving corps raise question marks. Donte Moncrief never broke out in Indianapolis and will be paid $9.6 million for his one year in Jacksonville, which could cost talented young wideouts such as Keelan Cole and Dede Westbrook reps they earned last season. New tight end Austin Seferian-Jenkins, meanwhile, averaged a scarcely believable 7.1 yards per reception last season, the lowest mark for any receiver with 50 catches or more in league history. Even if the Jags want to focus on running the football, they should give Blake Bortles something more at tight end than a catch-and-fall guy."
Barnwell does a pretty fair job summarizing the Jaguars state of affairs on offense here. Fournette should be better in his sophomore season – assuming he’s healthy – so we should see better numbers overall.
The pass catchers are the biggest question marks on the roster. Barnwell hated the Moncrief signing from the get go and it’s hard not to agree with him when you consider how much Allen Robinson ended up taking from the Bears.
The wild cards in the equation are really Keelan Cole and Dede Westbrook. Both players saw limited reps until the second half of the 2017 season but both flashed big time playmaking ability. Cole in particular was performing against high level competition (Seattle Seahawks and Pittsburgh Steelers).
The Moncrief and Seferian-Jenkins signings are suspect but they aren’t really high risk signings.
If Cole or Westbrook (or both) take a big step in 2018, this set of skill position players will look significantly better moving forward.