JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – What a difference a year makes. This time last year, the Jaguars were a franchise full of questions and hope, but very few answers. This year, it's a much different starting point as the Jaguars continue the first week of offseason conditioning.
This is a Jaguars team that knows that it can be a Super Bowl contender. If the players forget it, they'll be reminded by the picture that offensive coordinator Nate Hackett put up of the scoreboard from the AFC championship game. The picture was taken with about five minutes left in the game and the Jaguars leading the Patriots 20-17. We know how it ended, but the Jaguars players will know that they have the right stuff to contend with the best.
"For the first time since I've been here, there was proof that what we had done worked – hard, concrete evidence,” Bortles said. “Obviously, we didn’t get to where we wanted to, but there was proof that the process and plan benefited us.”
There are some questions about the Jaguars. For instance, will the locker room environment be the same in 2018 without some of the blue-collar, lead-by example guys who have gone? No more Paul Posluszny. No more Allen Hurns. No more Aaron Colvin. Can the Jaguars maintain that magic that they captured last year? There are still leaders remaining - not the least of which being Calais Campbell.
Doug Marrone even half-joked that he will rely on the leadership that the now-retired Posluszny proved with his example in the past by printing T-shirts with the message "What Would Poz Do?" on the front.
"I think to myself, you know, when you're a player, and things are tough, and you're in training camp or wherever you may be, one of the more consistent players I've been around was a guy like Poz. If you said that to any player on our team, 'What would Poz do?' they would know always know it would be the right thing. So it would be a whole lot easier to print those shirts rather than me tell everybody."