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2017 NFL Season Preview- Jacksonville Jaguars
It was more of the same for Jacksonville in 2016.
The team posted a 3-13 record for the second time in five years. Unlike the 2012 season were they by 15 or more points eight times, this year's team just loss two games by 15 or more. Eight of their losses were by a touchdown or less and in all of those games they had a chance to take the lead or tie the game in the less five minutes.
A year after finishing second in the league in touchdown passes, quarterback Blake Bortles looked average at best for much of the year. Running backs Chris Ivory and TJ Yeldon were supposed to be a strong duo but both players were hampered by injuries for much of the year. Tight ends Julius Thomas and Marcedes Lewis had subpar years and both finished the year on injured reserve. Wide receivers Allen Robinson and Allen Hurns went from having 1,000-yard receiving seasons last year to about half that in 2016, although slot receiver Marquise Lee had his best year on offense. The offensive line had big concerns at left guard as five different players started at the position.
Defensive tackle Malik Jackson was solid all year a lived up to his free agency price tag. Defensive end Dante Fowler played well late after missing all of last year with a torn ACL. The linebacker corps was probably the strongest group on the team. Paul Posluszny and Telvin Smith rarely came off the field and both registered over 100 tackles. The secondary was the most improved unit from last year. Prince Amukamara was solid despite not recording an interception as was Aaron Colvin, even though he missed six games. Safety Tashaun Gibson was a disappointment both in production and how the team used him.
The majority of the rookie class came to play. Cornerback Jalen Ramsey started every game and was better than expected, especially down the stretch. Linebacker Myles Jack started 10 games at weak side linebacker and could move inside in the near future. Defensive end Yannick Ngakoue was a huge surprise setting a franchise rookie record with eight sacks. Defensive tackle Sheldon Day was a regular rotation player and got stronger the second half of the season.
Opponent Passing Yards
Opponent Rushing Yards
NFL Rank- 20th
NFL Rank- 22nd
NFL Rank- 5th
NFL Rank- 19th
NFL Rank- 23rd
NFL Rank- 6th
With a 14-48 record in four years, owner Shahid Khan saw enough from head coach Gus Bradley and fired him after week 15. Offensive line coach Doug Marrone was named the interim head coach for the final two games. After the season, the team removed the interim tag and named Marrone the new head coach. On that same day, the Jaguars also announced the return of Tom Coughlin, the Jaguars' first head coach, who will serve as the Executive Vice President of Football Operations.
Notable Additions- TE Mychal Rivera, T Branden Albert, DE Calais Campbell, CB AJ Bouye, S Barry Church
Notable Departures- TE Julius Thomas, OL Luke Joeckel, DE Tyson Alualu, DE Jared Odrick, CB Prince Amukamara, S Jonathan Cyprien
Jaguars 2016 Highlights
2017 NFL Draft
With the fourth overall pick, Jacksonville has a lot of positions to fill. Primarily at guard, defensive end, outside linebacker.
Five different linemen were forced to play left guard due to injuries. Luke Joeckel is now in Seattle and the line needs a permanent fixture at guard.
Jared Odrick was huge disappointment missing 10 games. The Jaguars need a pass rusher who can record double digit sack totals each year.
Myles Jack and Paul Posluszny will be swapping positions. The outside linebacker spot needs more depth so Posluszny and Telvin Smith don't have to play every snap.
When draft day came, Jacksonville chose LSU running back Leonard Fournette with the fourth pick. Fournette was viewed as the best inside runner in the draft, but needs to develop as a receiver out of the backfield.
The team also notably selected Alabama offensive tackle Cam Robinson in the second round and Oklahoma wide receiver Dede Westbrook in the fourth round. Robinson was viewed as the top pulling tackle in the draft but lacks the footwork most teams look for at left tackle. Westbrook has the straight line speed to be a vertical threat but his skinny frame might hurt him against pro competition as he ruptured his small intestine in high school to the point doctors advised him never to play football again.
Leonard Fournette Highlights
What to Expect
I've been rooting for Jacksonville for years hoping they break free of these double digit loss seasons.
Under Doug Marrone, Blake Bortles should get back on track to his 2015 form. Chris Ivory and TJ Yeldon should both be at 100% this season and should take some load off Bortles. The Allen brothers need to get back to 1,000 yard receiving seasons if the Jaguars expect to go anywhere this season. The tight end position is up for grabs. Marcedes Lewis is pretty much regulated as a blocker at this point in his career so it will be between Ben Koyack and Mychal Rivera to take the receiving responsibilities. Branden Albert will likely start at left tackle and Cam Robinson will fit at right tackle which plays to his strengths.
The defense looks on track to continue to grow. The defense line should be solid against the run and pass. With Myles Jack at middle linebacker, it gives Jacksonville an athletic playmaker in the middle who can do a little bit of everything. Adding Barry Church gives the secondary a reliable tackler which should allow Tashaun Gibson to get back to his comfort level of playing centerfield, intercepting passing.
Doug Marrone in Buffalo made the Bills a borderline playoff team. In Jacksonville, he has more talent on offense. I think the strength of Houston makes winning the AFC South out of reach this season, but they have the potential to be a borderline wildcard team.
Best record they can hope for: 8-8