After a rocky start to the 2019 season and some missteps, the Jaguars are ready to tackle the second half of their schedule next week.
It’s a bit odd to wake up on a Sunday morning and know the Jaguars are not playing this week.
And on the 10th week of the NFL season, the 4-5 Jaguars take a break in the action for a much-needed bye week. This is a much-needed time off to heel from injuries, regroup after it was decided that Nick Foles would start next week against Indianapolis, and to reflect on how this roster got to where it is.
It could be a lot worse. Looking at how the team’s hopes were dashed with one moment, 10 plays into the NFL season when Foles broke his clavicle, seeing rookie Gardner Minshew come in a rally the troops to this point is remarkable. Add the outside distractions that could have divided this franchise and I’d say this team, minus a few lost opportunities is right where it needs to be.
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Being on the outside looking in toward the AFC playoffs isn’t a bad thing. While there is plenty of work to be done, the next seven weeks should be a statement as to where the team is headed and how it is better on paper and on the field than this time last season.
With the week off, I had some time to think of some bold predictions for the Jaguars as they watch football this Sunday instead of tossing it around the yard.
Special teams make a team special – What if both kicker Josh Lambo and punter Logan Cooke make the Pro Bowl? It’s not a stretch. Cooke, the second-year player from Mississippi State, is fifth in the NFL in net average.
Lambo is well, Lambo.
Lambo is 22-22 on field-goal attempts this season and has been almost automatic since he joined the Jaguars in the middle of the 2017 season. He is 60 of 63 for his career in Jacksonville, which is 95 percent of his attempts. He was named Special Teams Player of the Week for the fourth week of the NFL season.
1,600 yards rushing – It’s not unthinkable to think Leonard Fournette will get a few better carries with Foles back in the lineup because the defenses the Jaguars face will look to stop the pass more often. What Foles does is make the deep route more dangerous.
That, in turn, makes Fournette a prime candidate to get more than 800 yards on the ground. That also means he challenges Maurice Jones-Drew’s record of 1.606 yards. The Jaguars must do a better job of incorporating Ryquell Armstead in the running game to give Fournette more of a breather.
The rookie from Temple has shown he can move the football when given the chance. Since Foles is not a mobile passer, the running game becomes more of a key to the success of the team.
Undefeated – You knew I had to throw this one out there.
There isn’t a game left on their schedule that the Jaguars cannot win. Running the table would get them into the playoffs and possibly the AFC South title. Everything would have to fall into place. The defense will need to step forward and do its part while the offense continues to grow.
Calais Campbell, a midseason All-Pro by NFL.com, will continue to dominate on the interior while Yannick Ngakoue and Josh Allen show they are one of the best combinations in the NFL. The running game will get new life as the offensive line learns to open holes up the middle.
Most of all, Foles shows us he is a Pro Bowl-caliber quarterback, which is something this franchise has not had in years.