If the Jacksonville Jaguars are to make some noise this season and move out of the AFC South cellar, these players must step forward in 2020.
The Jacksonville Jaguars are one of the worst teams in the NFL. Just ask national media who have already sentenced this team to a season of losing.
A last-place finish in the AFC South is pretty much a given, although the rookie class is impressive on paper. In order to change this perception, the Jaguars will need some help from players already on the roster.
The Jaguars have some players who have not lived up to their pre-draft status. If these team members step up in 2020, the complexity of the team could change.
Think about it. What would change if defensive tackle Taven Bryan played like a first-round draft choice? What if left guard Andrew Norwell returned to his All-Pro form when he was in Carolina? What if Myles Jack played as he did in 2017 at his natural outside linebacker position?
This would be a different team and the pundits would give the Jacksonville Jaguars the respect all fans would love to see.
Bryan ( I call him the Gator no one ever heard of) was chosen in the first round of the 2018 Draft. He showed great athleticism at the Combine. His play was considered raw but our management team felt he would use his athletic ability and become a star.
This just hasn’t happened.
This is his make-or-break season and if he can learn to be more consistent and to within the Jaguars defensive system, he could a real surprise on the defensive line this season.
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"As Stephen White wrote in his breakdown of Bryan at the Combine for SB Nation, “I do think some of the issues I had with the Bryan tape goes back to his coaches. (In college) it appeared that the Florida game plan was to have Bryan get up the field and pressure the quarterback.“It may sound good in theory but Bryan flying up the field so much left huge running lanes inside….so you end up with this picture of a guy looking like the proverbial blind dog in a meat house just running around without paying attention to his keys.:"
This pretty much describes his play in the NFL. The clock is ticking on his future and it’s critical that he learn to play better inside on the interior defensive line this year.
Can he do it? I believe he can.
Norwell was the team’s big free-agent signee after the team’s run toward the Super Bowl in 2017. Norwell was a first-team All-Pro with the Carolina Panthers in 2017. He was considered one of the top free agents of that year. The Jaguars felt that they had gotten a premier lineman as he was considered the best guard in free agency that year.
Norwell started the first eleven games in 2018, however just like almost every offensive lineman that season, he ended the year on the injured reserve list. There were still questions last season in 2019 as he did not impress like many thought. There was some discussion about the team letting him walk.
"“Through two seasons, Norwell hasn’t quite lived up to the mega-contract that Tom Coughlin signed him to, but he is still a starter-level player,” John Shipley of SI.com wrote."
This year, the Jacksonville Jaguars have a new offensive coordinator in Jay Gruden and maybe he can design an offense that helps Norwell become as successful as he was in Carolina. It would be great if he could return to his previous success.
Myles Jack was drafted in the second round in 2016. He was a first-round talent who fell in the Draft due to a knee injury.
Jack has played well for the team at his natural position at outside linebacker. In fact “Myles Jack wasn’t down” was a rallying cry for Jaguars fans after the 2017 season. He could have been the player whose play helped us to go to the Super Bowl.
Jack’s play fell off when he was moved to the middle linebacker position. The former UCLA star was out of position and at times did not play well in coverage. He will be back in his natural position in 2020 and I, for one, expect him to return to form.
If Bryan learns to play with consistency on the defensive line, Norwell can show he is a solid starter at left guard, and Jack shines as an outside linebacker, the 2020 Jaguars will surprise some people.