The Jacksonville Jaguars will rely heavily on three players this season to help their offense move the ball the field and hopefully do a better of scoring in 2020.
That’s a good thing considering how bad the offense was the previous two seasons.
What fans want to know is aside from Leonard Fournette and DJ Chark, which players will take a step forward and become another integral part of what this team is trying to do this season? Who becomes the third option on offense? How does the new system work to the team’s advantage and will the Jaguars be able to move the ball in the red zone and at the goal line?
Jaguars.com asked members of the organization and local media their opinions about which player on offense to watch this season. The answers were fairly predictable. But if the Jacksonville Jaguars are going to make a move from the 18.8 points they scored last season, then the usual suspects must do more than they did in 2019.
Minshew, Chark, and Fournette must become a version of Mark Brunell, Jimmy Smith, and Fred Taylor. There is no other way to say it. Being blunt is sometimes the best form of communication.
“The duo of Minshew and Chark is something the league should take notice of. Chark only scratched the surface of his potential last season with over 1,000 yards recorded, eight touchdowns, and his first Pro Bowl. Minshew and Chark have real chemistry that I only think will improve in 2020,” Ashlyn Sullivan, Jaguars.com digital reporter, and host said.
Chark’s development from Year 2 to Year 3 may not be as dynamic as last season – and that’s OK. He must be consistent and excel even slightly. He must also have someone on the outside or in the slot who can take some of the pressure off of him on passing downs. In 15 games he caught 73 passes. Dede Westbrook caught 66 passes, the same number he led the team in 2018 and was out of action one less game last season. This could be a solid duo for Jacksonville.
Everyone knows this offense will start and stop with Minshew, who had a good year, but there is room for improvement. A 3,200-yard season in 2020 won’t mean anything, especially with a new coordinator and a different system to play to the quarterback’s strengths.
Frank Frangie, the radio voice of the Jaguars believes it has to be Minshew now that the team is centered around him.
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“I know, this is the ‘chalk’ prediction. But so much is being built around the second-year quarterback that he HAS to be good for the Jaguars to be good,” he said. “That is how it is in the NFL with most teams. I have a good feeling about how he will play. I think he will continue to make electrifying plays, highlight-reel stuff. The question becomes can he make more conventional plays. That is the key.”
Fournette was the workhorse of the offense last season but won’t have to shoulder all that burden in 2020. The offense, while it has been explained as “running back-friendly” is geared more toward the passing game this coming season.
Also, Fournette knows this might be his last season in Jacksonville. The front office appears ready to cut ties with him after this season. Essentially, he may be auditioning for another team this coming season.
“He carried the load for the Jaguars offensively in 2019 and will need to do some of that in 2020 – but hopefully not to that extent,” former Jaguars defensive end and current radio analyst Jeff Lageman explained.
“Still, you hope that the explosive plays for Fournette increase – accomplishing similar yardage outputs on fewer touches. Spreading the ball around offensively will allow the Jaguars to be a more dangerous offense and allow Fournette to be more productive as well in what for him will be a contract year.”
Other players could make a move and take advantage of the new system as I have talked about, possibly tight end Tyler Eifert or one of the other wide receivers, but it’s the feeling amongst those who are closest to the team and around the players the most that whoever is the team’s most valuable this season will come from this trio of stars.