Even with all the optimism of a better season, the Jacksonville Jaguars are still a 5-11 football team.
Don’t ask my father what he thinks about the Jacksonville Jaguars, because he just may tell you.
Yes, dad is as big as a football fan as you will meet you in Jacksonville, but likes so many, he became weary of a team that could not win football games. Year after year he would plunk down money for season tickets only to feel like Lucy Van Pelt was holding a football in front of him. Finally, he had enough and stopped his football subscription.
That was 2016.
The 2017 season gave him hope, but he would not sign up again for season tickets until the Jaguars prove they could win on a consistent basis and when the ticket office would call and ask him whether he was interested in renewing.he would tell them the same thing – I will not pay for a product on the field that hasn’t proven to be successful for years. If the Jaguars made the playoffs again for the second straight year, he agreed with me that he would again buy season tickets.
We all know what happened to 2018 and it’s safe to say that he was glad he did not spend his nickels.
Not only do the Jaguars have to prove to themselves they are a winning organization, but they must prove it to the community that last season was nothing more than a pothole in the plan to build a winner. With only one playoff appearance in the last 11 seasons, it’s hard to think of this team any more than what it to record indicates.
If that is the case, then the Jaguars are still a 5-11 football team. No matter how you stack it up and look at the changes made this off-season they are what their record says they are until things change.
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I am just as excited as the next guy to see what this team can do this. I’m curious what happens with the offense and quarterback Nick Foles. I believe Leonard Fournette knows what he must do to earn back the trust of the front office. I know Calais Campbell will continue to push forward in the latter stages of his career. And I know Jalen Ramsey and Yannick Ngakoue will work towards getting new contracts.
Part of the great thing about the off-season is every NFL team has a clean slate. Everybody is undefeated, and there is hope that every organization has a chance to make the playoffs. The hype train has been running at full speed since the Jaguars brought Foles in as the new leader at quarterback. You can’t help but feel the contagious spirit this franchise has.
I only hope it doesn’t prove to be more of the same from last season. It can’t be, or changes at the top will be made.
Michael DiRocco of ESPN wrote a piece this off-season asking the question whether the new signal-caller will be able to change the direction of this organization and stop a trend of free agents who have not been able to lead their team to the playoffs.
"“The Jaguars aren’t the first team to pin the majority of their hopes for success on a free-agent quarterback,” DiRocco explained. “Since 2000, 13 other teams have signed a signal-caller to a multiyear deal with the intention of making them an immediate starter… Three of those turned out well,”"
With only five wins last season, any improvement in this offense and at least three more victories in 2019 should be considered a success. Fans may not like the possibility of this being an 8-8 team, but we don’t know anything different right now.
I like to call it cautious optimism with a sprinkle of undoubted homerism.
Jaguars begin training camp on Thursday, which offers new opportunities to make things better. The pressure is on the front office, the coaching staff, and especially the players to make that happen.
And yes, Foles probably feels the pressure as well.
My father and others like him will be watching closely to see if Jacksonville can get back to that magical formula from only two years ago. If they do, then he might open his wallet and buy season tickets for 2020.
Until the team can prove that they are a consistent winner, it’s going to take a miracle to reverse his train of thought. Maybe a run through the playoffs and a possible Super Bowl berth does that. The team hopes Jacksonville has the right quarterback to do that. My father is hoping the entire team is the right one to make him change his mind.