Jaguars: Three offensive players who must impress in 2019
By David Levin
Can the Jaguars offense get better because these players showed improvement from 2018?
By the time you read the story, there will be less than a week left until the Jacksonville Jaguars begin training camp.
After a long five weeks where stories have been hard to come by, we are here at Black and Teal are anxious for things to heat up again. And we’re not talking about the Florida heat. That’s already doing a number on some of us. We are talking about football and the start of the NFL season.
The Jaguars should look better on the offensive side of the ball this year. Many players who made up last year‘s roster are still under a microscope, some may be fighting for a roster spot and some may need an extraordinary camp to secure their place in 2019.
I take a look at three players who must prove they are ready to put 2018 behind them and have an exceptional 2019.
John DeFilippo – OK, so he isn’t a player, but he is the most important person related to the team’s offense this season. The Jaguars needed to find an offensive mind who could bring this unit back to life. The best way to describe Jacksonville’s performance last year was a team on life-support.
John DeFilippo It’s going to be asked to change the dynamic of an anemic passing game and a nearly impotent running attack.
He should benefit from having Nick Foles once again as part of his game plan. We all know the story and history between the two in Philadelphia at a Super Bowl title that came with them. We also know about the additions in the passing game at wide receiver and a completely revamped running back room.
We make such a big deal out of players who must prove their worth this season in helping to make the Jaguars a contender once again. It really starts with the coaching staff. There may not be another coach with as much pressure to perform besides Doug Marrone than DeFilippo.
Andrew Norwell – When a football team shelves out more than $66 million for a guard, it expects that player to be the best darn guard in the NFL. Andrew Norwell didn’t play even close enough to be considered one of the best in the league last year.
This season, the former All-Pro with the Carolina Panthers must prove he is worth that kind of money.
Norwell, like almost every single lineman for the Jaguars, was hit with the injury bug last year and finish the last month the season on the injured reserve list. He’s on record saying that he’s not going to play like he did last year and he will not let his teammates down. That’s good news for new offensive line coach George Warhop.
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Norwell isn’t the only player on notice, as every one of the starting five must first avoid injury and second must play better, more towards the level that they did in 2017.
Keelan Cole – I think Keelan Cole is going to have a difficult time making this roster. Just by numbers alone, the wide receiver room is crowded. For a player who must prove that his lack of production was a fluke, Cole may be the most scrutinized pass catcher in training camp.
The Jaguars brought in Terrelle Pryor and Chris Conley in free agency and then signed Marcus Simms after the supplemental draft. That’s enough to put all of the wide receivers on notice. It may also mean the coaching staff and the front office aren’t totally sold on what they had at the end of last year.
Cole looked like he was going to be the breakout star for this team after Week 2 against the New England Patriots, and then fell off the map. Dropped passes were a big problem. It needs to improve. I’m curious to see how he does in training camp given there are now bodies to compete with for a fourth or fifth roster spot.