X Factors for the Jaguars 2019 Season
Which players will help determine the Jaguars season in 2019?
There are three weeks left in the preseason before the Jacksonville Jaguars take the field in games that mean something. The heat and humidity in North Florida have impacted how the team has trained. The Jaguars have changed their direction with the hope of making the playoffs in 2019.
There are still plenty of questions to answer as the coaching staff tries to find the best combination of 53 players to compete each week.
Here are five x-factors that will determine the Jaguars’ success in 2019.
Leonard Fournette’s pass-catching ability – It’s no secret that running back Leonard Fournette is one of the most important pieces of the Jaguars offense, but he can further expand upon his versatility in the passing game.
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In two seasons with the team, Fournette has caught 58 passes for 487 yards and two touchdowns.
"Offensive coordinator John DeFilippo talked to reporters in camp about Fournette’s potential production, “He has caught numerous balls each day in practice. I don’t want to say it’s going to be a huge piece of our offense, but that’s a credit to Leonard because we’re trying to find different, unique ways to get him the football — not just handing it to him.”"
With quarterback Nick Foles and an offensive playbook suited for more passing, Fournette is poised to be a dual-threat for the Jags.
Dede Westbrook and D.J. Chark – Considered one of the weakest parts of the team, the Jaguars wide receivers can prove everyone wrong, especially third-year Dede Westbrook and second-year DJ Chark. Westbrook is coming off a 717-yard receiving season, along with five touchdowns. After being a second-round draft pick in 2018, Chark disappointed with only 174 receiving yards.
Now with Nick Foles throwing them the ball, the two can be the breakout stars for the team in 2019. Both young receivers have impressed so far in camp, a glimpse of the potential this offense can have.
Offensive Line – Last year the Jaguars offensive line was decimated by injury, with Cam Robinson going down with an injury in week two. Brandon Linder, Jermey Parnell, and Andrew Norwell also faced significant injuries.
Head coach Doug Marrone adjusted this year’s training camp schedule in order to help the strain put on players bodies. With Robinson still off to the side doing one-on-one work, his progress will be heavily monitored.
On the other side, rookie Jawaan Taylor has seen plenty of work with the ones so far into camp but is now dealing with an injury.
A healthy and cohesive offensive line can bring that Jaguars back into the top rushing teams in the NFL like what we saw in 2017.
Safeties – There might not be another position on the team that has changed as much as the Jaguars last line of defense. Ronnie Harrison and Jarrod Wilson now headline the safety group, with the promise of elite play to match the rest of the team.
Harrison explained when he spoke to the media in training camp, he is looking forward to a big season.
"“Last year I was kind of just trying to see where I was fitting into this defense. This year, it’s kind of clear-cut where I’m at, at strong safety; so I’m just trying to come in and work hard every day first off, earn the trust of everybody that’s been out there playing,” he said.“I’m just trying to show them that I’m ready, staying in my playbook, training hard, studying the plays. Just trying to get it all down, attacking every day like it’s a game.”"
After serving as a backup for the majority of his career in Jacksonville, Wilson is also out to show many that he can fill the role of a starter in the NFL. If Harrison and Wilson can provide solid play, the defense will be that much better.
Health – There were many problems that plagued the 2018 season for the Jaguars, but health was a major one for the team.
Marqise Lee, Fournette, Robinson, Linder, and Norwell are some of the big names that missed time with the team. While health is a luxury and not given in the NFL, if the Jaguars can remain healthy they can push their limits when it comes time for the playoffs.