2019 NFL Season Preview- Jacksonville Jaguars
A year after making it to the AFC Championship, the Jaguars fell back to earth.
After starting the season 3-1, including a victory over New England which avenged their AFC title game loss, Jacksonville lost seven consecutive games and finished with a 5-11 record.
The offense struggled to remain disciplined as the year went on and offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett was fired with five games and replaced by quarterbacks coach Scott Milanovich. Quarterback Blake Bortles failed to validate his contract extension and was benched after a five turnover game. Cody Kessler wasn't much better and Bortles started the final game of the year.After leading the league in rushing in 2017, the team finished in the bottom half of the league in rushing yards. Running back Leonard Fournette missed eight games with injuries and a suspension while rushing for only 439 yards. The team traded for Carlos Hyde after Fournette was injured but both he and TJ Yeldon were eventually benched. Tight end Austin Seferian-Jenkins played in just five games before landing on injured reserve. The team didn't resign wide receivers Allen Robinson or Allen Hurns and it was a big mistake. Marquise Lee was lost for the year in late August and the Jags might have had the worst overall receiving corps on the league as they led the NFL in dropped passes with 32. The offensive line became the worst in the league when four of the five starters ended up on injured reserve. The line gave up the third most sacks I the league and their free agent signings didn't pay off.
The defensive line was solid, but wasn't as dominant as they were in 2017. Defensive end Yannick Ngakoue's sacks dropped to 9.5 but increased his quarterback pressures to 33. Defensive tackle Malik Jackson lost his starting job to Abry Jones. Linebackers Telvin Smith and Myles Jack saw most of the playing time as the defense played mostly nickel formations. Smith led the team with a career high 139 tackles but also missed 19 tackles, third most in the NFL. Jack was second on the team with 107 tackles. The secondary was the second ranked pass defense but their passes defended dropped from 81 in 2017 to 52. Safety Barry Church was so inconsistent, he was released late in the year.
Kicker Josh Lambo made 19 of his 21 field goals before landing on IR. Dede Westbrook averaged 14 yards per punt return and returned one for a touchdown.
The team had two Pro Bowlers in defensive end Calais Campbell and cornerback Jalen Ramsey. Campbell led the team with 10.5 sacks and a forced fumble. Ramsey had three interceptions but needs to cut down on the trash talking and become a team leader.
The jury is still out on whether the rookie class can be contributors. Defensive tackle Tavon Bryan didn't make much of an impact, but is groomed to replace Marcell Dareus. Wide receiver DJ Clark was a disappointment with just 14 catches before an injury to his quad. Safety Ronnie Harrison played well after replacing Barry Church but landed on injured reserve. Punter Logan Cooke finished 11th on net average and second in average returns.
Opponent Passng YPG
Oppenent Rushing YPG
After the 5-11 season, head coach Doug Marrone has to get his team back on track by stressing discipline. The team also has to keep the focus going and maintain a positive culture.
On January 16, 2019, the team hired John DeFilippo to be the new offensive coordinator. DeFilippo was most recently the offensive coordinator of Minnesota. The hire means Scott Milanovich will be moved back to quarterbacks coach.
On May 9, 2019, linebacker Telvin Smith announced via Instagram that he would not be playing football in the 2019 season citing the need to "get his world in order."
Notable Additions- QB Nick Foles, RB Alfred Blue, RB Benny Cunningham, RB Thomas Rawls, WR Chris Conley, WR Terrelle Pryor, TE Geoff Swaim, OT Cedric Ogbuehi, DE Datone Jones, LB DJ Alexander, LB Jake Ryan, LB Ramik Wilson
Notable Departures- QB Blake Bortles, QB Landry Jones, QB Cody Kessler, RB Carlos Hyde, RB TJ Yeldon, WR Donte Moncrief, TE Austin Seferian-Jenkins, TE Niles Paul, TE Blake Bell, OT Jeremy Parnell, OT Ereck Flowers, DT Malik Jackson, CB Tyler Patmon, S Tashaun Gipson
Jaguars Defense Highlights
2019 NFL Draft
Holding the seventh overall pick in the draft, the Jaguars have to make some serious upgrades on the offensive side of the ball. Most notably at quarterback, running back, and wide receiver.
The team signed Nick Foles in free agency, but it will be the first time in years where he will be expected to be "The Man" rather than coming in for the injured starter.
The team wants to be a power running team, but Leonard Fournette has been injury prone and dealt with off the field issues. The Jags signed three running backs, but none have every down potential.
Dede Westbrook was the only capable receiver last year. The team signed two wide outs in free agency but Terrelle Pryor is a journeyman at this point and Chris Conley is a No. 2 receiver at best.
When it came time to pick, Jacksonville chose the best player left on the board in Kentucky outside linebacker Josh Allen with the seventh overall pick. Allen was viewed as the top pass rushing linebacker in the draft, but was criticized for playing with more finesse rather than physicality.
Other Notable Draft Picks:
Jawaan Taylor, OT, Florida- Ideal right tackle, weight management issues
Josh Oliver, TE, San Jose State- Team leader, slow off the snap
Quincy Williams, LB, Murray State- Brother of Quinnen Williams, below average instincts
Ryquell Armstead, RB, Temple- Three skill versatility, limited athleticism hurts long speed
Gardner Minshew, QB, Washington State- Has all the intangibles of a leader, lacks arm strength and ideal physique
Dontavius Russell, DT, Auburn- Natural run stopper, lacks explosive qualities
Josh Allen Highlights
What To Expect
The Jaguars are in a better position this year, but are far from their AFC South champion form.
Nick Foles is far and away the most experienced quarterback on the roster but even though he's a Super Bowl MVP, I can't picture him being the same quarterback he was in the big game. He won't make the mistakes Bortles made but with a worse off receiving corps and offensive line, he will be under more pressure than ever. Leonard Fournette has one more chance to become the feature back Jacksonville thought the were drafting. If not, at least the team has a stable of running backs to carry the load. There is still concern with the receiver corps as there doesn't appear to be a No. 1 man in the offense and none of the tight ends will make a lot of noise. Dede Westbrook has great skill as a slot receiver and in the punt return game. The offensive line has some upgrades with Jawaan Taylor and Cedric Ogbuehi, but last year's signings of Andrew Norwell and Brandon Linder have to stay healthy and be more productive if the line is to be solidified.
The defensive line has a solid amount of depth, but Tavon Bryan has to make big strides in year two and become a starter. Calais Campbell and Yannick Ngakoue are one of the best pass rushing tandems in the league, but need to make more big plays and force more turnovers. With Telvin Smith sitting himself out of the 2019 season, Myles Jack has to step up and take charge of the linebackers. To improve the questionable run defense, the team should use less nickel packages which should pair Jack with Josh Allen and DJ Alexander. The cornerback tandem of Jalen Ramsey and AJ Bouye can still be one of the best in the league, but there is some concerns at safety. Ronnie Harrison showed he was capable of handling the strong safety role, but there doesn't seem to be a suitable replacement for Tashaun Gipson.
Jacksonville should definitely win more games with Foles under center, but with the rest of the AFC South on the rise, its hard to see the Jaguars edging out Indianapolis, Houston, or Tennessee.
Best Record They Can Hope For: 8-8