Coming off a trip to the playoffs and a division title, the Jacksonville Jaguars are aware of the bar has been raised for the 2023 season. Coaches and players are embracing the newfound expectations with wide receiver Calvin Ridley going as far as saying that the Jags should be aiming at the Super Bowl.
In a trailer for episode two of the team's web series The Hunt, several players, and offensive line coach Phil Rauscher talk about the expectations for the Jaguars in 2023. The common theme is that they flew under the radar last year but are in a position to do big things next season. Although Ridley just joined the team, he made it very clear that he's got one goal in mind.
Other Jaguars players also talked about having higher expectations for 2023, "People didn't give us a chance last year we snuck up on some people. We have to play even better now that people know who we are", linebacker Foyesade Oluokun said.
"If we did that last year, the expectation should go to the Super Bowl", Ridley said when talking about the Jaguars' success last year and their standards for next season. The whole episode will be released on Thursday May 25.
The Jaguars are in a position to make the playoffs and maybe the Super Bowl in 2023
All things considered, Ridley's expectation isn't farfetched. In fact, the Jaguars have many things going in their favor to return to the playoffs and win their second division title in a row, a feat they haven't achieved since 1998.
First, most of their starters on offense and defense from last year return, with the exception of right tackle Jawaan Taylor, who signed with the Kansas City Chiefs in free agency, and left tackle Cam Robinson, who will miss several games while he serves a suspension for violating the league's performance-enhancing drug policy. The good news is that they have an adequate replacement at left tackle in Walker Little and Anton Harrison will step in at right tackle.
Also, Trevor Lawrence made significant improvement under head coach Doug Pederson and he should be even better in Year 3. With Ridley joining the wide receiver corps, Lawrence should have no trouble putting points on the scoreboard at will next season.
The defense should also be better. Devin Lloyd and Travon Walker are expected to make a leap after flashing as rookies. It's true that losing defensive end Arden Key stings but the team's brass expect rookies Yasir Abdullah and Tyler Lacy to be important pieces in their pass rush rotation.
Although most of the Jaguars' 2023 draft class might not contribute right off the bat, there are a few intriguing players that could earn important roles as the season progress. The aforementioned Abdullah comes to mind. The same is true for running back Tank Bigsby and defensive back Antonio Johnson.
Having said all that, it's important to note how challenging it is for teams to reach the Super Bowl regardless of the team. Putting together a good roster is just part of the equation. Avoiding major injury helps immensely and so does getting a few breaks here are there in the regular season and the playoffs.
The Jacksonville Jaguars have a steep hill to climb to make the Super Bowl but having the talent and the right mindset should increase the odds of getting there.