Commentary: My expectations for Jaguars in 2019

Can Jaguars return to playoffs after disappointing season?


JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The Jaguars open 2019 on Sunday when they host the Kansas City Chiefs, one of the favorites to make the Super Bowl. 

What am I expecting from the Jaguars this season?

I would love to say that this team has looked like a Super Bowl contender, but I just haven't seen it. That being said, they are in a division that includes a Colts team without Andrew Luck, a Texans team without Jadeveon Clowney, whom they traded to Seattle on Saturday and a Titans team with as many questions as the Jaguars have—including one big question at quarterback.

After signing Nick Foles, and when the schedule came out, I thought this team looked like an 8-8 team. Then they drafted Josh Allen and lost Telvin Smith. Let's call that a push. I'm still leaning toward 8-8. That being said, it might only take 9-7 to win this division, so yes, they are contenders for the AFC South. But they need to show they can do a few things.

First, they must stay healthy. This is a team with very little depth. They can't afford injuries to multiple starters; they just don't have the talent or experience to withstand something like that. Even with the starters limited in the preseason, the Jaguars' lack of depth at offensive tackle was evident.  

Second, they have to establish their offensive identity early on. I suspect that despite John DeFillippo's want to throw the ball, this will still be a running team first and foremost. That means that Leonard Fournette must have the kind of season we expected him to have last year, coming off a 1,000-yard rookie season.

Third, they must show that they can handle adversity. In 2017 the Jaguars didn't lose back-to-back games until the playoffs were already locked. They bounced back well. The locker room was exactly what you would like. Last year, it was the opposite. Once things started to go bad, the locker room fell apart. Players who were supposed to be leaders started to pull in their own direction and things went from bad to worse.

If they can do those things, this team can be a playoff team. But they'll have to prove it on the field starting a week from today.

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