Jacksonville Jaguars: What would constitute a successful 2021 season?
The Jacksonville Jaguars were tough to watch last year. Although they played competitive football at times, they looked underwhelming more often than not. There were certainly some bright spots. Running back James Robinson was a revelation and linebacker Myles Jack was his efficient self. However, the positives were far and few between. After all, you don’t lose 15 games by sheer luck. You have to be consistently bad to drop that many matchups, so heading into the 2021 season, what would constitute a successful season?
The Jags have spent the offseason undergoing a major overhaul. They gave head coach Doug Marrone the pink slip and brought in Urban Meyer to take his place. The team also promoted Trent Baalke to general manager after firing David Caldwell last year. The pair have spent the offseason giving the roster a makeover, and so far, it looks like the Jaguars are headed in the right direction.
Meyer and Caldwell surely have the team’s long-term future in mind, but they want to win right away. Their offseason moves show this won’t be a four or five-year project. While they didn’t make many splash signings in free agency, they did add plenty of depth to a roster that didn’t have much. Also, the Jaguars added something they had been missing for a long time, a franchise quarterback.
The Jags’ inability to win games last year helped them secure the first overall pick in 2021’s draft. They used the selection on Trevor Lawrence, the best quarterback prospect since Andrew Luck. As good as the Clemson standout was in college, it’s uncertain if he will be able to make the transition to the pros. Nevertheless, he will be an upgrade over any quarterback the Jaguars had in 2020, so now that Jacksonville has a competent quarterback and a revamped roster, how high should they set the bar in 2021?
The Jacksonville Jaguars have to have realistic expectations in 2021.
Winning two games in 2021 would constitute progress for the Jaguars, but the organization can’t set the bar that low. On the other hand, it may be too early to expect Jacksonville to be a playoff contender for several reasons.
The odds of Lawrence becoming a bust are slim. However, it’s uncertain what his ceiling in the NFL will be. Will he be as successful as fellow signal-caller Justin Herbert was in his rookie campaign? Will he be an above-average quarterback in the mold of Carson Palmer? Lawrence will be good, but how good remains to be seen and the team’s success will proportional to the rookie’s growth.
Then, there’s Meyer. Nobody will put in doubt he’s one of the most successful head coaches in college history but for every Jimmy Johnson, there is a Steve Spurrier and a Bobby Petrino. The transition from college to the pros isn’t a walk in the park and it will be interesting to see how the Jaguars’ 2021 season plays out with Meyer at the helm.
There are many things to like about the 2021 Jacksonville Jaguars.
The Jaguars were near the cellar in most meaningful offensive and defensive categories last season. They have taken meaningful steps to improve their offense and defense this offseason and were even named the biggest offseason winners in the AFC South. Even if Lawrence turns out to be ‘merely good’, Jacksonville has fortified most position groups, so they will definitely be better in 2021. With the talent they currently have, they can easily win at least six games and finishing 8-9 would be a successful season.
Jacksonville’s wide receiver corps has the potential to be a top 10 unit. Also, rookie Travis Etienne and James Robinson will form one of the NFL’s most dynamic running back talent. On the defensive side of the ball, the Jags have a solid linebacker corps and a crowded secondary. Moreover, EDGE defender Josh Allen should be fully healthy after missing eight games last year, and K’Lavon Chaisson has the tools to have break out in Year 2.
After winning just one game in 2020, there’s nowhere to go but up for the Jaguars. Soon, they will find out if all their offseason moves will pay off.