Jacksonville Jaguars: 3 predictions for the 2020 season
Will the Jacksonville Jaguars be as bad as many analysts think and if not, which players on the roster may surprise fans in North Florida?
Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback Gardner Minshew said being isolated because of the coronavirus pandemic has not impeded his preparation for the upcoming season so far.
For other members of the team, it may not be that simple. Minshew is being asked to learn a new system and continue to lead to Jaguars this coming season. Players are waiting to get on the field and prove they can help this organization as well.
The “virtual“ off-season hasn’t been ideal for the Jaguars or any of the other 31 NFL teams, but everybody seems to be on the same page here in Jacksonville learning the installations on both offense and defense and preparing for the day that everybody will be able to get on the practice field.
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The Jacksonville Jaguars figure to be one of the NFL’s worst teams this year, as stated by several publications and predictions. I am one of the few who believe this could be a season much like 2017 where nobody gave the team a chance and they surprised many by reaching the AFC title game.
The road to the title game this year might be more difficult than the team’s predecessor, and therefore I have come up with three bold predictions for training camp.
Leonard Fournette Leads the NFL In Rushing
Leonard Fournette has made plenty of news this offseason with trade rumors at the NFL Draft. Of course, there were no takers, but the future of No. 27 in a Jaguars uniform is all but done after the 2020 season.
What this means is the fourth pick in the 2017 NFL Draft will use this year as an audition for his next stop in his career. Fournette, who vowed to still play hard and help his teammates and the organization win football games, could prove to the Jacksonville Jaguars front office that his gain is their loss.
Fournette wins the NFL rushing title and then makes a mad dash out of Jacksonville to more riches with a playoff contender.
The last time the Jaguars had a league-leading rusher was 2011 when Maurice Jones-Drew ran for 1,606 yards on a 5-11 team.
The Offensive Line Abides
Head coach Doug Marrone said many times over this offseason he believes the offensive line will be one of the more improved units on this football team.
Fans here in Jacksonville have been praying to the football gods that he is right in his assessment. The team did little this offseason to improve this group, which means offensive line coach George Warhop is squarely on the hot seat if he cannot mold this unit into a tougher group.
First, Will Richardson will unseat Cam Robinson at left tackle, which in turn forces left guard Andrew Norwell to play better in the trenches. Center Brandon Linder will get his first Pro Bowl nod. On the right side, Jawaan Taylor continues his inspired play at right tackle.
The one spot which will be scrutinized is the right guard. A.J. Cann is the starter, but will he be pushed by rookie Ben Bartch.
40 Sacks Upfront
The Jacksonville Jaguars did the unthinkable this offseason and traded defensive end Calais Campbell to the Baltimore Ravens.
I’ll admit I shed a few tears.
In his place, the Jaguars hope both Yannick Ngakoue and Josh Allen can form a strong combination of strength and speed to reach the quarterback. Add free agent signees Aaron Lynch and Cassius Marsh and rookie K’Lavon Chaisson and the team has a younger, more athletic pass rush.
It should help. The switch to a 3-4 defense with speed on the outside and four linebackers to help with the run defense should make the pass rush even better. Look for there to be at least 40 sacks up front along the defensive line. Also, look for Taven Bryan to become more of a force up the middle this season.