5 Jaguars players who vastly improved their play after slow start to the season

• Some Jaguars players had an impact right out of the gate this season. Others needed a bit of time to hit their stride, including the 5 on this list.

Oct 29, 2023; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA;  Jacksonville Jaguars guard Brandon Scherff (68) blocks
Oct 29, 2023; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA; Jacksonville Jaguars guard Brandon Scherff (68) blocks / Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports
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4. Calvin Ridley, WR

The Jaguars turned heads around the league when they traded for Calvin Ridley last year. At the time of the acquisition, Ridley was serving a suspension for betting on football games. Also, he had voluntarily stepped away from football in October 2021, so the move also met with a bit of skepticism from the NFL community.

Was Ridley the same difference-maker he was early in his career, or would be rusty coming out of retirement? Once he was reinstated in March, he wasted no time joining the team and partaking in offseason activities. The former Alabama standout was one of the stars of Jaguars training camp, routinely showing his route-running skills hadn't eroded.

Unfortunately, Ridley's training camp hype didn't carry over into the regular season. He did catch eight passes for 103 yards with one touchdown in the opener but he also disappeared at times. He had another 100-yard game against the Buffalo Bills in Week 5 but he failed to gain more than 40 yards in a game six times this season.

It's true that opposing teams often double-teamed Ridley but the coaching staff also failed to get him involved. It didn't help that the star receiver dealt with drops early in the season. But in recent weeks, the Jaguars have done a good job of making him an important part of the gameplay. Similarly, he's cut down on the mistakes, and it shows in his performance, hauling in 12 receptions for 194 yards with three touchdowns the past two games.

Based on how things played out the past two games, there's a good chance Ridley will keep playing like the WR1 the Jaguars envisioned when they traded for him and cross the 1,000-yard mark.