Jacksonville Jaguars: Don’t discount an immediate turnaround in 2021

Head coach of the Jacksonville Jaguars Urban Meyer (Photo by Sam Greenwood/Getty Images)
Head coach of the Jacksonville Jaguars Urban Meyer (Photo by Sam Greenwood/Getty Images) /

The Jacksonville Jaguars were the worst team in the NFL last year. How quickly can they start winning games? Could they undergo a turnaround right out of the gate in 2021?

The Jags haven’t been good in a while and had just one winning season in the 2010s. However, they hit rock bottom in 2020 and lost 15 straight games after beating the Indianapolis Colts in the season opener. Injuries certainly played a role, but every team deals with them, so that’s not an excuse.

Another reason why Jacksonville mustered just one victory last year was their severe lack of talent at most position groups. They have a few bright spots, such as running back James Robinson or linebacker Myles Jack, but not enough to overcome the dearth of difference-makers. Nevertheless, Jaguars head coach Urban Meyer and general manager Trent Baalke have done a good job of replenishing the roster. They revamped their secondary and fortified their defensive front.

More importantly, the Jags found a franchise quarterback in Trevor Lawrence, who should have no problem spreading the ball to all the Jags playmakers on defense. After all the changes this Jacksonville team has made this offseason, you would think they have a legitimate shot to improve significantly. Nevertheless, there’s someone who sees Jacksonville still struggling in 2021.

Kristopher Knox of Bleacher Report believes the Jaguars won’t have a quick turnaround. He says that Lawrence isn’t going to turn this Jacksonville team into contenders right away even though he’s considered a generational talent. Knox thinks the Jags have one of the more underwhelming rosters in the league and a first-time NFL head coach in Urban Meyer. He points out that even though the former Tiger has plenty of potential, he’s struggled at times during organized team activities. Furthermore, he isn’t sure Lawrence ‘will be this year’s person of Kyle Murray or Justin Herbert. Thus, he believes an ascension to the top of the AFC South will not likely be feasible.

Here’s why the Jacksonville Jaguars could undergo a quick turnaround.

It’s true that the Jaguars will have a hard time going from worst to first in the division. The Tennesse Titans already had a top 5 offense but still traded for All-Pro wide receiver Julio Jones. Jacksonville’s defense may not match up well and may have a hard time slowing down running back Derrick Henry and co. The Indianapolis Colts also made acquired quarterback Carson Wentz from the Philadelphia Eagles. They already had a competitive team in 2020 and they now have a signal-caller that can spread the ball to all their skill-position players.

The Jaguars won’t be toothless though. They have a talented wide receiver and a dynamic running back tandem in James Robinson and Travis Etienne. If the offensive line can give Lawrence enough time to throw, Jacksonville’s offense should have no trouble putting points on the scoreboard. The former Tiger did struggle in OTAs, but that was in red-zone situations — where most rookies struggle — and that day was as an outlier, as he’s been having a solid offseason.

On the other side of the ball, the defense isn’t Sacksonville 2.0 but has better depth than it did in 2020 and several promising players such as edge defender K’Lavon Chaisson, safety Daniel Thomas, and cornerback C.J. Henderson. If the Jacksonville Jaguars’ defense can make a few key stops and generate more turnovers than they did in 2020, they will give the offense to visit the end zone often.

Is a playoff berth possible in Meyer’s first year at the helm? Maybe not, but the Jags won’t let games get out of hand the way they did last season. Moreover, they will pull a few upsets and be better than observers predict. The former Florida head coach has the team and the right path and seven or eight wins aren’t out of the question. Expect the Jags to win and win early in 2021.

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