Jaguars listed as a sleeper team for the 2019 season
By David Levin
According to Bucky Brooks of NFL.com, the Jaguars could be one of the sleeper teams in the league in 2019. The Jaguars had a 5-11 record last season.
I’m not sure if the Jaguars are a “sleeper” team in the NFL this upcoming season, but I sure like the way Bucky Brooks thinks they are. The NFL.com analyst has the team here in North Florida, as one of his surprise picks for 2019.
"“After failing to live up to the hype a season ago, the Jaguars have become an afterthought for many observers. I feel like the lack of buzz is an overreaction to the team’s dismal 2018 campaign,” he writes."
There are plenty of questions this franchise has not answered yet and potentially more to face once the Jaguars open training camp later this month. For the core of bodies who have been on the practice fields adjacent to TIAA Bank Field in May and June, there is a noticeable difference in how the team has prepared this time around opposed to last year’s scene.
Things are going to be better. How much better is the greater unknown.
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Brooks believes there is plenty to still like about this roster and the organization.
"“The defense remains a potential top-five unit with Jalen Ramsey, Myles Jack and Yannick Ngakoue positioned as core members of the group,” he adds. “Despite the absence of Telvin Smith (who has said he won’t play in 2019) and the release of Malik Jackson, the defense is more than capable of stuffing every opponent on the schedule.”"
I’m glad he has that much confidence in the roster. The schedule is brutal coming out of the gate with a home game against Kansas City, a trip to Houston and then a Thursday night tilt with Tennessee, the Jaguars only night-time appearance on television this season.
Jacksonville finishes off the first quarter of the season in Denver, where playing at Mile High Stadium is no easy task. Things do look a lot better on paper now that the team has moved on from the lack of a quality passing game and a change under center. Adding offensive coordinator John DeFilippo, offensive line coach George Warhop and running backs coach Terry Robiskie should have an impact on their offense as well.
"“Nick Foles’ insertion into the starting lineup at QB1 should provide the offense with more consistency and stability at the game’s most important position. Additionally, Foles’ easy-going leadership style and winning pedigree should play well in the locker room and help the Jaguars get back on track as a title contender,” Brooks explains."
The Jaguars also hope to revitalize their running game as the room of players is completely different in addition to Leonard Fournette. The Jaguars tore down this unit layer by layer and made significant changes to move back toward a smash-mouth style that proved to be successful two seasons ago.
Brooks believes the running game could get back to 2017 when it led the league in yards per game.
"“If Leonard Fournette plays up to his potential as a workhorse back, the Jaguars could reprise their role as the bully on the block in the AFC,” he said."
The Atlanta Falcons, Green Bay Packers, Pittsburgh Steeler, and Minnesota Vikings also made Brooks’ list.