3 ambitions goals for the Jaguars and Trevor Lawrence in 2024

• Here are 3 goals the Jaguars must set their sights on next season.
Dec 10, 2023; Cleveland, Ohio, USA; Jacksonville Jaguars head coach Doug Pederson talks with quarterback Trevor Lawrence (16) during the third quarter against the Cleveland Browns at Cleveland Browns Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Scott Galvin-USA TODAY Sports
Dec 10, 2023; Cleveland, Ohio, USA; Jacksonville Jaguars head coach Doug Pederson talks with quarterback Trevor Lawrence (16) during the third quarter against the Cleveland Browns at Cleveland Browns Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Scott Galvin-USA TODAY Sports / Scott Galvin-USA TODAY Sports

After winning the AFC South and advancing to the divisional round of the playoffs in 2022, the Jacksonville Jaguars were seen as a dark-horse Super Bowl contender last year. While they generated a bit of noise early on, they ultimately fell flat, losing six of their last games to end the season.

Rightly, the Jags are flying under the radar in 2024. However, Shad Khan expects big things from his team moving forward, pointing out that another meltdown won't be acceptable.

This begs the question, what kind of expectations should Jacksonville have next season? They should definitely set their sights on these three.

The Jaguars must have must be a top-5 scoring teams in the NFL

After finishing 10th in both points scored and total yards the year prior, the Jags offense was expected to take the next step in 2023. While they certainly made stride early, their cracks began showing early in the season and they ultimately regressed.

One of the biggest reasons for the Jaguars taking a step back was their offensive line's inability to protect Trevor Lawrence or open lanes in the running game. Without an efficient running game to lean on, the offense became one-dimensional, which put additional pressure on Lawrence to win games.

But even with underwhelming protection, Lawrence helped the Jaguars start 8-3. His quick release made up for the offensive line's inability to give him time to throw. But once he got hurt, the Jaguars could no longer mask their deficiencies in the trenches.

It's fair to assume that the Jaguars should have a favorable chance to light up the scoreboard if Lawrence stays healthy and the offensive line does a good job protecting him. To ensure that happens, the Jags signed veteran Mitch Morse in free agency. He'll replace Luke Fortner at center.

Fortner was arguably the Jaguars' biggest link in the trenches and Morse should give the interior offensive line a significant boost. The team's brass believes that building consistency will help the unit perform better, so they brought back Ezra Cleveland and Brandon Scherff.

Last but not least, the Jaguars made a couple of additions to the wide receiver corps. They moved on from Calvin Ridley and Zay Jones and acquired Brian Thomas Jr. and Gabe Davis to take their respective places.

Ridley led the Jags in receiving yards and touchdowns last year but also disappeared at times and was responsible for a handful of puzzling drops. On the other hand, Jones was a key cog on offense in 2022 but struggled with injuries last year.

With a revamped offensive line and new weapons at his disposal, Lawrence has the potential to take the leap he was expected in 2023.

The Jaguars must win the AFC South title in 2024

An old adage says that reaching the top of the mountain is tough but staying there is harder. The Jaguars proved it right last season.

One year after winning the AFC South title, the Jaguars fell to second place in 2023. After their Week 12 win over the Houston Texans, it looked like they were going to repeat as division champions. However, they couldn't finish the job and ultimately paved the way for the Texans to seize the division.

Jacksonville is now looking to regain control of the AFC South but it won't be a walk in the park. The Texans already had a talented core to begin with but that didn't stop them from making upgrades in the offseason. Among their biggest acquisitions were wide receiver Stefon Diggs and pass rusher Danielle Hunter.

Heading into the 2024 season, Houston is the favorite to win the AFC South but they're not the only team the Jags need to worry about. The Indianapolis Colts also managed to stay in the thick of the playoff race until the end even after losing Anthony Richardson to injury in Week 4.

Richardson is back in the fold and is expected to be at full strength in training camp. In a limited sample last year, he flashed enough talent to make you think he's the long-term answer at quarterback in Indy. His dual-threat capability, in particular, could spell trouble for the Jaguars in 2024.

Even the rebuilding Tennessee Titans could be a threat to the Jaguars. They probably have the steepest hill to climb to win the division in 2024 but general manager Ran Carthon got rookie head coach Brian Callahan enough pieces in the offseason to field a competitive team right out of the gate. If sophomore Will Levis makes a leap, the Titans could be dangerous.

But as tough as the road to the division title may be, the Jaguars have enough pieces in place to get there. Trevor Lawrence is back at full strength, and he's shown he can play at a high level. With a revamped supporting cast, he can solidify his place as a top-10 passer.

To steer the defense in the right direction, the Jaguars hired Ryan Nielsen as their defensive coordinator. His emphasis on fundamentals and technique should benefit a unit that had several pieces in place but lacked discipline last year.

The bottom line is that seizing the AFC South will be tough but the Jaguars will need to do it if they want to be part of the crème de la crème in the NFL.

Reach the AFC Championship

Nobody would've blamed the Jacksonville Jaguars if they had a losing season in 2022. After all, they were coming off the Urban Meyer debacle. But against all odds, they exceeded expectations.

Not only did the Jags win the AFC South but they also mounted the biggest comeback in playoff history to defeat the Los Angeles Chargers 31-30 in the wild-card round. Jacksonville went on to lose to the Kansas City Chiefs in the divisional round but they certainly proved they were capable of keeping up with the best in the league.

Unfortunately, all the good grace the Jaguars built in 2022 evaporated last year. Besides crumbling at the end of the year, they were soundly beaten by true contenders such as the Kansas City Chiefs and the San Francisco 49ers.

Now the Jaguars have to prove that 2022 wasn't an outlier but the norm. Not only that, they must show that last year's collapse was a fluke and that they're the team to beat in the AFC South. Besides that, they must make a deep playoff push.

That's right. Being one-and-done in the postseason may not suffice. The Jaguars just made Trevor Lawrence one of the highest-paid quarterbacks in the league and they've spent a considerable amount of cap space to fortify their roster the past three years. On top of that, Shad Khan gave them a state-of-the-art facility in Miller Electric Center.

Simply put, Khan has spare no expense to built a contender. He will probably want to see a return on his investment in 2024.

More Jaguars analysis here: