Jacksonville Jaguars: Changes this offseason could lead to more wins

Fans of the Jacksonville Jaguars on Day 1 of 2019's draft (Photo by Frederick Breedon/Getty Images)
Fans of the Jacksonville Jaguars on Day 1 of 2019's draft (Photo by Frederick Breedon/Getty Images) /

Can the changes in culture this offseason help the Jacksonville Jaguars find their way back to winning football games in 2020?

The Jaguars Jaguars were the darlings of the NFL media in 2017 but bad behavior, poor management, and losses turned the media stories from positive to negative quickly.

It was great to be a Jaguars fan in 2017. I honestly believed we had turned the corner and great days were ahead. After all, we were only one game from the Super Bowl.  But locker room chaos, Twitter tweets, poor coaching, poor draft choices, etc. became the basis of Jaguar stories and they were back in the doldrums again.

It looks to me like the Jacksonville Jaguars may be on the way back to the way things were just a few years ago judging by the team’s recent moves this offseason and the positivity that has come from them.

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Let’s start with positive changes in management. Tom Coughlin was fired in December because of internal conflict with the organization. The problems were not all his fault, but his over the top fines and poor relationships with players made for a very bad situation. He has been removed but general manager Dave Caldwell remains.

I believe he is on notice and will work hard this season as proven by his strong draft class. In addition, the Jaguars hired Trent Baalke as the Director of Players Personnel. He is an experienced NFL executive with good credentials from his days in San Francisco.

The second thing the team has been raked over the coals about has been playing games in London.  The publicity was very negative when team owner Shad Kahn decided the Jaguars would play two back-to-back “home” games at Wembley Stadium. I was hoping the NFL would step in and they did decree that teams could only play one away game out of the USA.

Khan called the London games home games so the rule didn’t apply. I doubt that he will be able to do this in the future with overseas travel concerns. More than one London game each year should be a thing of the past.

Issues in the locker room were widely reported in the last few years. Even 2017 had stories about fights in the locker room. The Jacksonville Jaguars traded Dante Fowler but the situation didn’t improve. It appears the team has made a concerted effort to draft high character, high work ethic players to change the culture. The only public rifts between players and management are with players from past years who will probably not be in Jacksonville in a year. A locker room focused on one goal, winning, is a good sign for the future.

The Jaguars often made inexplicable draft and free-agent choices but that may be another thing of the past. The draft has been highly praised by many national media members and analysts. The team has also done a good job in free agency this offseason.

Recently signed Chris Thompson is a running back who will be a complement to Leonard Fournette and not a clone. This gives the offense more flexibility and adds another dimension to the team’s running attack. Aaron Lynch at the defensive end position provides more depth off the edge if the Yannick Ngakoue situation continues into the season.

The team added a real middle linebacker in Joe Schobert as well as allowing Myles Jack to return to a position that he is best suited to play on the outside.

Finally, the Jaguars retained Doug Marrone as head coach but untied his hands. He has more control and has had a say in personnel decisions this offseason. Todd Wash, defensive coordinator, must become more flexible and make game-time adjustments. I believe he will, especially since the team will have more of a 3-4 defensive look.

Jay Gruden is our offensive coordinator and is considered an offensive expert with play-calling experience and the ability to work with young quarterbacks.

These changes in philosophy and attitude give me hope for the Jacksonville Jaguars. If it all comes together an 8-8 season is within reach.

Next. Jacksonville Jaguars: The implications of no games in London. dark