The Jacksonville Jaguars had a busy offseason, which has led several observers around the league to think that they’re poised to make a significant leap one year after finishing 3-14. You can count Keyshawn Johnson of ESPN among those that believe the Jags will improve during head coach Doug Pederson’s first season at the helm.
Johnson recently talked about teams that could make a Cincinnati Bengals-like leap in 2022 on Keyshawn, JWill and Max, and the Jaguars were at the top of the list. The former NFL wide receiver says he agrees with colleague Domonique Foxworth, who thinks the Jaguars could “take a giant step in 2022” due to the presence of Trevor Lawrence and the competition level in the AFC South. Johnson isn’t so sure the Jags can’t reach the Super Bowl but he believes they resemble Cincy the most because of Lawrence.
"I would say they probably are most like the Bengals because of the young quarterback. Remember Joe Burrow? In his second year, Trevor Lawrence is in his second year. Although Joe was coming off a knee injury. Trevor is healthy…"
These comments are a bit surprising when you take into account that Johnson wasn’t particularly impressed with Lawrence’s last season, and went as far as saying that “he wanted a quarterback that could help his team win, not hype“. Maybe he’s hopping on the bandwagon or perhaps he sincerely changed his opinion, which is perfectly fine. Either way, talking heads are noticing what the Jaguars have been doing over the last few months. Here’s the whole clip of teams that could make a Cincy-like leap in case you want to watch it.
Observers are noticing what the Jaguars are doing this offseason
Johnson unjustly wanted Lawrence to carry the Jaguars on his shoulders, which would be fine if he was a vested veteran, not a rookie playing under Urban Meyer, who had no cohesive plan to develop his young quarterback. Of course, Jacksonville recognizes the former Clemson Tiger alone can’t help them win games, which is why they have spent the offseason trying to put him in a position to succeed in his sophomore campaign.
Besides hiring a head coach with a superb track record of developing quarterbacks in Doug Pederson, the Jaguars’ brass has added several weapons to their offense and fortified the defense in free agency. While teams change from year to year, this Jacksonville team looks significantly different than the one in 2020.
Everyone in the Jaguars’ organization has noticed Lawrence’s growth. From his ability to diagnose plays to his leadership role, the young quarterback has made strides on the football field. Jacksonville won’t be able to measure his tangible improvement until the regular season starts but it looks like he’s on the right path.
The Jaguars are projected to win around seven games this upcoming season but based on all the changes they’ve made during the offseason and Lawrence’s potential leap in Year 2, it looks like nobody would bat an eye if they end up exceeding expectations.