Will the mistakes made by the Jacksonville Jaguars during the off-season come back to haunt them in 2020?
The Jacksonville Jaguars and all other sports franchises try very hard to improve their team each year. The front office made some important moves in the draft and free agency but there are some huge gaps that may take more than wishful thinking to resolve.
It was hard to choose the most critical so I chose one on offense and one on defense.
Let’s start with the Jaguars running back position. No real changes were made and our workhorse back, Leonard Fournette, will enter his fourth season with the team. It’s hard to believe they have much faith in him when they spent the entire offseason trying to trade him. If I wanted to trade a player, I would try to find a replacement.
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The Jaguars drafted one of every position except running back. For example, the Chicago Bears have lost faith in Mitchell Trubisky and brought in Nick Foles to compete with and possibly replace him. No one was brought to the Jaguars to compete with or replace Fournette.
Can someone help answer this important question? (By the way, my personal opinions of Fournette and Foles are subjects for another day.)
So the bottom line on the running back position going into the season is more than a little scary. Besides Fournette, the Jaguars brought in Chris Thompson who has injury issues, Second-year running back Ryquell Armstead is still on the roster. And the Jacksonville Jaguars have other running backs who couldn’t break into the lineup, that have potential but no experience.
The defense is another story.
The Jacksonville Jaguars improved the positions of cornerback, linebacker, and edge rusher but did very little to shore up the middle of the defensive line. They released Marcell Dareus, our best interior defender, due to salary cap concerns.
The team is relying on Taven Bryan to really step it up this season. To date, he has been a disappointment and maybe even a draft bust. Dontavius Russell never broke into the lineup in 2019 and rookie Davon Hamilton, who once again has potential but no experience. The interior defensive line just couldn’t stop the run.
The addition of Joe Schobert, at middle linebacker, may help but the Jaguars lost games last season because of the opponent’s ability to run the football.
Obviously these are not the only areas of concern. The offense was really bad last year and my concern is that our second-year quarterback, Gardner Minshew, needs a running game to assist in his development. The new offensive coordinator, Jay Gruden, will call better plays but It is clear that Fournette is a power running back.
Does this fit with the West Coast offense? Can Gruden install his kind of offense without his kind of back? On the other side, the Jacksonville Jaguars kept Todd Wash as defensive coordinator.
Will he be able to plan a defense that works with a limited defensive line? Can he make adjustments to overcome issues with the middle of the line until everyone becomes adjusted to the scheme? Has he learned to be flexible?
These are my major concerns to start the season. I hope these mistakes don’t come back to haunt the Jacksonville Jaguars when the season begins.