The Jacksonville Jaguars advanced to the playoffs and won the AFC South crown when they beat the Tennessee Titans in Week 18. Looking back, they’ve come a long way since the end of the 2021 season and most people would have given you a blank stare if you had told them the Jags would be hosting a postseason game just one year after going 3-14.
Then again, outside linebacker Josh Allen isn’t most people and he kind of knew since training camp that Jacksonville could achieve great in 2022, via John Shipley of Jaguar Report.
When you look back at the things the Jags had to endure under Urban Meyer, it’s kind of impressive that they were able to pull off such a massive turnaround. Then again, there are three big reasons it was possible.
3. The Jaguars got production from their 2022 free-agent class
Following the dismissal of Urban Meyer, there was no more disliked figure in Jacksonville than Jaguars general manager Trent Baalke. Despite the fact that fans got together and made it clear they wanted the organization to oust Baalke, owner Shad Khan made it clear his embattled general manager wasn’t going anywhere.
At first, it looked like Khan made a mistake. Baalke was questioned for going on a spending spree in free agency and paying top-market money for players wide receivers Christian Kirk and Zay Jones. Similarly, giving tight end Evan Engram a one-year, $9 million contract didn’t seem like a wise investment.
That video didn’t age well. Engram, Kirk, and Jones have lived up to expectations and you will be hard-pressed to find someone who thinks they were bad signings. All of them have become key cogs on the Jags’ offense and have gone on to set new individual or team records in the 2022 season. But they aren’t the only free agents that are making an impact for Jacksonville.
Cornerback Darious Williams started the season in the slot but has found success since moving the perimeter. Also, defensive tackle Folorunso Fatukasi, linebacker Foyesade Oluokun, and defensive end Arden Key have become important pieces of the Jaguars’ defensive front.