Jaguars land near cellar of recent NFL power rankings

Jacksonville Jaguars fan at TIAA Bank Field (Photo by Harry Aaron/Getty Images)
Jacksonville Jaguars fan at TIAA Bank Field (Photo by Harry Aaron/Getty Images) /

The Jacksonville Jaguars have undergone a makeover this offseason. Last year, they lost 15 consecutive games and there were times where it seemed like they were just going through the motions. Led by head coach Urban Meyer, the Jags look like a whole different squad ahead of the 2021 NFL season. Nevertheless, they still ranked near the bottom of a recent power ranking.

Peter King of NBC Sports recently ranked all 32 NFL teams on his Football Morning in America and the Jaguars earned the 29th spot. He describes Jacksonville as the ‘blanks state team’. He points out that Meyer came to the pros with lots of fresh ideas, such as deploying 2021 first-round pick Travis Etienne as a running back and a receiver. King also likes the addition of quarterback Trevor Lawrence and the fact the organization is drawing up new facilities. Moreover, he notes that the Jags have a soft September schedule.

On the other hand, Kings says that the 2021 season will be about teaching Lawerence to deal with the ‘the first hard knocks he’s ever faced as a quarterback’. Furthermore, King brings up the fact Meyer will be making the transition to the NFL. He gives the former Florida head coach credit for learning from Jimmy Johnson, who helped the Dallas Cowboys win two Super Bowls and build a dynasty in the 1990s.

"I think one of the best things Meyer did was learn at the feet of Jimmy Johnson, who had a 1-15 first season in Dallas but kept his eye on the prize and eventually, of course, won two Super Bowls. Johnson has counseled Meyer to not let losses eat him up—and Meyer’s too smart, I think, to let that happen."

Do the Jacksonville Jaguars truly deserve that ranking?

After mustering just one win in 2020, the Jaguars cleaned house and made changes to their coaching staff, the front office, and the roster. They now have a franchise quarterback in Lawrence and have revamped their defense. However, they first need to take the field before anyone can say they have indeed improved. After all, they weren’t the only team to add reinforcements this offseason.

The Tennessee Titans also fortified their defense and had a top 10 defense last year. They beat the Jags twice last year and looked like an even more formidable foe. On the other hand, the Indianapolis Colts traded for quarterback Carson Wentz, who as recently as 2019 was among the best signal-callers in the league.

Outside the division, the Jaguars will have a few winnable matchups. However, they can’t afford to get overconfident and overlook any opponent. If they want to win on a consistent basis, they will have to take baby steps. They must take it one day at a time, and remember that they are in the early stages of a rebuild. Winning seven of eight games would constitute success, but so would playing competitive football.

Many times last year, the game got out of reach and the Jaguars looked overwhelmed. Even if they lose several games in 2021, they need to show the ability to keep up with opposing teams. That’s where Meyer’s leadership will come to play.

This Jacksonville team has gotten many things right this offseason. Soon, they will be able to show how good they really are. In the meantime, King’s rankings don’t seem outlandish.

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