Jaguars: 3 Early predictions for the 2019 season

JACKSONVILLE, FL - SEPTEMBER 30: A Jacksonville Jaguars fan as seen during the game against the New York Jets on September 30, 2018 in Jacksonville, Florida. (Photo by Sam Greenwood/Getty Images)
JACKSONVILLE, FL - SEPTEMBER 30: A Jacksonville Jaguars fan as seen during the game against the New York Jets on September 30, 2018 in Jacksonville, Florida. (Photo by Sam Greenwood/Getty Images) /

Can the Jaguars erase the memory of a very bad 2018 season to focus on what could be a good 2019 campaign?

I am beginning to think the best part of the Jacksonville Jaguars 2019 season so far is the fact that we don’t know what’s going to happen.

Will this be a better version of the 2017 roster that made the AFC Championship Game, or will this be a slightly improved team that does better than 2018, but still leaves plenty of questions to be answered?

We have spent plenty of time this offseason trying to make predictions about this franchise here at Black and Teal. We have also predicted records and player production. With training camp only a week away – Hallelujah – there is plenty to get excited about.

Once the players put the pads on and they’re able to give the coaching staff a better indicator of how roster spots will be filled, we will get a feel for exactly what should happen in 2019.

That hasn’t stopped me from looking into the crystal ball once again and making a few bold predictions for this season. Here are a few.

Jalen Ramsey wins the Defensive Player of the Year Award – Let the controversy begin. The Jaguars told Pro Bowl cornerback Jalen Ramsey they would not offer him a new contract in 2019, but have announced the team would pick up the fifth-year option of his rookie deal.

Ramsey, who has made the trip to Orlando the past two seasons, will make $13.7 million In 2020. He told the media at minicamp he was ready for a new season with the Jaguars and is concerned with playing the game, although not getting a new deal done has been something he had talked about last season in a 5-11 year filled with turmoil.

This season is one where Ramsey makes his mark as not only the best player on the Jaguars roster but one of the best in the NFL. The Jaguars will have no choice but to back the Brinks truck up to the stadium and pay the man.

Chris Conley leads the team in receptions – This isn’t as big a prediction as it could be, simply because the wide receivers as a group still have plenty to prove. Chris Conley, who came to Jacksonville because of his connection to Nick Foles and a chance to get a fresh start after a sub-par career in Kansas City, has looked as good as anyone on the practice field.

It could be the sign of big things from the former Georgia star.

The Conley-Foles connection was on display early and often in OTAs and continues into minicamp. I expect the same trend to continue. While Dede Westbrook led the team with 66 catches last season in a less-than-perfect system, the duo of these pass catchers will prove to be one of the more overrated tandems in the league.

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If Conley proves to be the go-to guy this offense needs, the receiving corps could be one of the best in the NFL.

Doug Marrone wins Coach of the Year – As you read in my last story here on Black and Teal, Doug Marrone has just as tough a task as his players do in revitalizing this franchise from the dole drums of 2018. Everything starts with Marrone and his leadership.

The coaching staff has new faces with a renewed focus on making the necessary changes to get the Jaguars back to the playoffs. Marrone has talked since he took over as the full-time head coach of this team about accountability and everything falls on his shoulders. This roster must continue to push forward.

Change at the quarterback position helps. A refocused Leonard Fournette should help as well. A return from injury for many players can only make this roster stronger. And the additions the team made through free agency and the NFL Draft will speak volumes about where the Jaguars land at the end of the season.

I truly believe Marrone is the right man for the job. Now, he has to show he can coach this team this season as he did in 2017.

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