Hoping to put the 2018 behind them, can the Jacksonville Jaguars bounce back from a dismal 5-11 record and reinvent themselves as a playoff contender?
It’s a hard pill to swallow. The final week of the 2018 NFL season was full of energy with team’s fighting for their playoff lives. The AFC South featured three teams – the Texans, Titans and Colts, who were part of the excitement. The Jacksonville Jaguars watched from the sidelines.
From a team that became the darlings of the NFL just one year ago to a team people wondered if the 2017 season was fools gold, these Jaguars must take a side and stand tall. Will they once again bounce back and contend for a playoff berth, or will they fall deeper into the abyss of missing the playoffs for the 10th time in 11 seasons?
Watching both Calais Campbell and Jalen Ramsey help the AFC to a 26-7 win in the Pro Bowl on Sunday made me wonder if this team is closer to being a contender than most of us think. Was a lack of offensive continuity and injuries the only reason why Jacksonville was once again a big question mark in the NFL?
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These weren’t the only reasons, but they were big enough for this writer to ponder the future.
"“I’m kind of just letting it go, man,” Ramsey said Wednesday after the AFC’s first practice of Pro Bowl week. “Our last game was in 2018 and that’s where I plan on leaving it and that’s where I plan on leaving the season.”"
Ramsey was the only player originally named to the Pro Bowl. Campbell made the squad as an alternate. It’s a far cry from the tem that sent six players last season and a belief Jacksonville had the best defense in the NFL. They finished fifth in overall defense, but there is plenty to improve upon for next season.
Now that the season is officially over for this franchise, what happens next? Can a new pholosphy on offense or the return of key players prove 2018 was a flukish season? A second year of underachieveing and fans and the national media are going to stop and wonder. It could also mean the end of head coach Doug Marrone’s tenure in Jacksonville and major changes in the front office.
The dominance of the defense was lacking which may have been a symptom of being on the field way to often. The offense scored only 15.6 points a game, next to last in the NFL. Ramsey just wants to put this all behind him.
"“You can look at it that way,” Ramsey said. “You can look at it a bunch of different ways, but the way I’m going to look at it is: I’m not. I’m going to worry about it next year, because that was in 2018."