The long-suffering Jacksonville Jaguars fans are looking for a brighter future. Different things will help determine their future.
Jacksonville Jaguars fans are looking for reasons to enjoy the upcoming season. Between the COVID-19 virus, the late start to training camp, no fans at the stadium, and other things that are happening, this is not our usual start to the NFL season.
Enthusiasm is a little limited but there are important areas of this football team to watch from home even if you can’t see the game in person.
I will watch from home as I usually do. In fact, I sometimes like to listen to radio broadcasts. Call me “old school.” This requires listening to expert opinions which is not like seeing it take place in person but that is the new normal for this season. Although I love our experts, I recognize they are human just like us so I tend to form my own opinions.
There are three areas I plan to focus on this season. First is Gardner Minshew who has been a delightful surprise. Next is our rookie class that looks great on paper. Finally, I want to see our defense step up and stop the run.
Gardner Minshew has been a wonderful addition to the Jacksonville Jaguars. He played well for a rookie and has gotten positive press because of his fun and quirky personality. The pundits don’t rate him highly as a starting quarterback, but the comments are mostly in his favor.
Per NBC Sports.com, “Minshew-mania died down some but all together, he had a solid rookie season. Minshew threw for 3,200 yards with 21 touchdowns and six interceptions. And in his final four games of the season, Minshew had 7TD/1 INT.”
Although he was praised for his solid rookie showing, he was ranked as the 29th overall quarterback in the NFL.
NFL.com ranked him higher on their list of every starter in the league from 2019, coming in 25th overall.
“Minshew Mania ran a little hot and cold, but there’s no denying the rookie was one of the most pleasant surprises of the season,” their experts wrote. “The mustachioed sixth-round pick was the Jaguars’ starter for all six of their wins.”
Minshew has a chance to build on his success and I believe he has the personality and skills to do it.
The Jacksonville Jaguars rookie class looks excellent on paper. Cornerback C.J. Henderson is the number one cornerback in camp. If he plays as he is rated the Jaguars will be a much better team. Add to that linebacker K’Lavon Chaisson who is a top edge rusher and paired with Josh Allen they will be a force to be reckoned with.
On the offensive side, the team added an exciting playmaker in wide receiver Laviska Shenault. This addition will help DJ Chark and Minshew. Shenault can also play running back. Defensive tackle DaVon Hamilton will have the opportunity to play on passing downs and perhaps win the starting job.
Other rookies may get their chance as well. I can’t wait to see these players on the field making plays for our team.
Admittedly, I am still concerned about the team’s inability to stop the opponent’s running game last season. Al Woods, our projected starter at nose tackle, has opted out for the season. Abry Jones is a solid substitute and Dontavious Russell is now on injured reserve.
This is where Hamilton could be the key. We also can rely on two great edge rushers and an experienced middle linebacker in Joe Schobert. Will this be enough? Only time will tell.
The good news is that if Minshew continues to progress, our top rookies play up to expectations, and our defensive line with help from the linebackers can stop the run, I think an 8-8 season is a possibility.