Jaguars just miss top 10 in recent training camp rankings
By David Levin
The Jacksonville Jaguars have shown enough improvement over the offseason to earn a high ranking by USA Today sports writer Doug Farrar.
Another national writer is buying into the idea the Jacksonville Jaguars will be one of the better teams in the NFL this coming season. With the start of training camp just three days away – can I get an Amen from the congregation – USA Today’s Doug Farrar has ranked the team here in North Florida just out of the top 10 at No. 12.
As you read this past weekend, Both Daniel Jeremiah of NFL Network and Conor Orr of Sports Illustrated are jumping back into the pool at TIAA Bank Field.
It’s a big leap from the team that could not get out of its own way for the majority of the 2018 season. With a new year comes the chance to make things right, regardless if I believe we still must take a wait and see approach to this offense until it proves it can move the pigskin.
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Granted these are training camp rankings which means there are plenty of reasons to think Jacksonville can move up in Farrar’s next assessment. The Jaguars could once again prove to be a juggernaut on defense and a growing force on offense, given the changes the team made over the course of the offseason.
It started with offensive coordinator John DeFilippo and continued with a new quarterback and it also moved on with additions to the offense with new weapons at wide receiver, running back and tight end. The Jaguars then added tackle Jawaan Taylor in the second round of the NFL Draft and found tight end Josh Oliver out of San Jose State in the third round.
"“Adding Nick Foles to a great power running game and a top-three defense seems like a recipe for success in the wake of the Blake Bortles era … if the power running game is great and the defense is a top-three defense,” Farrar explained."
Yes, the Bortles era lasted one season too long in my opinion. Even with all the injuries to the team last season – too many to name – a proven quarterback who showed consistency may have willed this team to at least three more wins. The Jaguars lost six games in 2018 by six points or less.
Better quarterback play and a healthy running game, where injuries to Leonard Fournette and Corey Grant all but stymied the ground game, could have been the difference.
Farrar also points out the obvious that the defense wasn’t the force it was two seasons ago, which was also a major factor last year.
"“But both aspects of the Jaguars’ attack regressed in 2018, especially a defense that was lights-out in 2017 but struggled with communication and placement issues last season. Having Foles will help a lot, but if everything else doesn’t fall into place, Jacksonville’s new quarterback could be looking at the middle of the pack in a way he hasn’t seen in a long time,” he wrote."
Farrar ranks the Houston Texans 21st in his power poll and the Tennessee Titans 14th. The Indianapolis Colts are fifth.