Three things the Jaguars must do before the start of 2019

JACKSONVILLE, FL - NOVEMBER 18: A Jacksonville Jaguars helmet is seen at TIAA Bank Field on November 18, 2018 in Jacksonville, Florida. (Photo by Julio Aguilar/Getty Images)
JACKSONVILLE, FL - NOVEMBER 18: A Jacksonville Jaguars helmet is seen at TIAA Bank Field on November 18, 2018 in Jacksonville, Florida. (Photo by Julio Aguilar/Getty Images) /

If the Jacksonville Jaguars want to rise from the bottom of the AFC South, these three things must happen before the start of the 2019 season.

Jacksonville Jaguars head coach Doug Marrone was to the point when he spoke to the media Tuesday morning ahead of the first day of OTAs. Players cannot make the team on the first day, but they can sure lose their job if they don’t do what is needed by the organization.

With all but two of the 90 players here in Jacksonville – Jalen Ramsey and Dede Westbrook – on site, the team began the final phase of their voluntary workout program.

Ramsey is in Tennesse, Westbrook is expected to be here today.

"“Here’s where we are. Obviously, we’re into the next phase of what we’re able to do, phase three being the organized team activities, so basically we’ve had the players in today.“That’s where we are. Every day, daily, because I know you guys will be looking for it, we’ll just try to get you there early. Like I said before, we’re in a good place as far as communication [between] coaches and players right now. The team is in a good spot that way.”"

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The Jaguars begin the post-Blake Bortles era with Nick Foles under center. The front office worked to add players in free agency that will help to solidify the offensive line, If the Jaguars are going to show improvements on the field in 2019, these three things must happen.

Do not let Yannick Ngakoue’s contract become a distraction – We know what Yannick Ngakoue said Tuesday afternoon, but does the media’s constant conversations about a contract extension cause a distraction with the player or the organization?

How soon can a deal get worked out? Does Ngakoue get a $100 million contract like Frank Clark in Kansas City and Demarcus Lawrence in Dallas?

Statistics were the only thing that this contract is based on, then you pay the young pass rusher to be the focal point of the defense along with Jalen Ramsey. Since it is not, and there are financial factors to consider, what will it take to make this deal happen?

More important than that, when will it get finalized?

Find the third starting linebacker – Myles Jack started the first practice in the middle like he said he would do when he spoke last week to the media at a charity event. Is this the plan for the fourth year linebacker in the Jaguars defensive scheme?

Jake Ryan, who has signed as a free agent this off-season, did not practice on Tuesday. When he takes the field isn’t determined yet, but he has to figure in the mix. Third round pick Quincy Williams was also out there playing in Telvin Smith’s old spot and was feeling things out on the first day. He should factor into the equation.

Jaguars have plenty of linebackers to choose from, including Ramik Wilson who they signed this off-season as well. One thing that is a positive, is defensive coordinator Todd wash has plenty of depth to work with. That is something he could not say last season.

Find a third-down running back – We all know Leonard Fournette will be the starter Week 1 against the Kansas City Chiefs. After that, there are some questions to be answered. The running back room is basically sat, but determining which rolls are filled is something the coaching staff will have to work out throughout this off-season.

Alfred Blue figures to be primarily backup with Ryquell Armstead working to take away carries from the veteran.

Armstead, who has a build similar to Fournette, gained over 1,000 yards last year in the Temple offense. I figure he will be brought along slowly as he learns to play at the speed of the NFL.

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Thomas Rawls ran hard when given the opportunity on Tuesday. He is a shorter and smaller running back. He could fill the third-down a role, much like Corey Grant did two seasons ago. Benny Cunningham is also a player to watch who was brought in to potentially fill that role and help out on special teams.