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The Jacksonville Jaguars have only been to the playoffs once in the last decade, and the blame for at least half of those years has apparently fallen on quarterback Blake Bortles’ shoulders, who was promptly released in favor of Nick Foles, the successful backup for the Philadelphia Eagles who has been dying to get his own team to lead.
Not only is there someone new under center, but there is also somebody new coordinating the offense, John DeFilippo, who will have to prove himself after getting canned in Minnesota halfway through last season.
The Jacksonville front office has made some offseason moves in an attempt to stop the bleeding, and here we take a look at some of them, as well as the odds and predictions of the Jaguars’ 2019 season.
Doug Marrone’s second season as the Jacksonville Jaguars’ head coach didn’t go nearly as well as the first one did in 2017 when the team came within five points of going to the Super Bowl.
In 2018, however, the Jaguars finished with a 5-11 record and in the last place of the AFC South, where they went 1-5 against divisional teams with a 27th ranked offense and a 28th ranked defense.
After finishing up the season with a 2-10 run, general manager David Caldwell pulled the plug on franchise quarterback Blake Bortles and brought in the Philadelphia Eagle’s Super Bowl-winning backup Nick Foles to see what he can do leading his first NFL team.
Despite signing a three-year contract worth $54 million at the beginning of 2018, quarterback Blake Bortles couldn’t get the job done multiple times and was benched throughout the season, his inconsistency preventing the team from gaining any momentum.
Bortles was under center in Jacksonville for five seasons, and during that time he has led the league in interceptions with 75 of them in the same number of games, plus he has the second most quarterback fumbles (46) behind Russell Wilson.
Nick Foles has won a Super Bowl, but as a backup quarterback, so finally starting in Jacksonville will put him to the test to see whether he can take a team through a seventeen-week regular season and still have enough gas left for the postseason.
Not only did Caldwell’s front office bring in a new starting quarterback, but he also brought in a new offensive coordinator, John DeFilippo, who had the same job for the Minnesota Vikings last season until he got fired midway through after Kirk Cousins’ offense sputtered.
Known as a ‘quarterback whisperer’ for what he did in Philadelphia with the Eagles’ Carson Wentz and his backup, Foles, his failure in Minnesota is apparently worth ignoring (for now) since he has already proven himself with the Jaguars new starter.
Caldwell has spent the offseason strengthening the roster on both sides of the ball, but bringing so many new pieces together is never easy so expect there to be some growing pains for at least the first few weeks of the season.
In a league where tight ends are expected to be both a blocking and receiving a weapon, the position has become a critical one for any effective offense, and at the end of last season, the Jaguars lost two of theirs to free agency.
Austin Seferian-Jenkins went to the New England Patriots, while Blake Bell was signed by the Kansas City Chiefs, leaving just James O’Shaughnessy, Ben Koyack and Pharoah McKever as potential starters.
Caldwell made two big moves to re-fill that position, signing free agent Geoff Swaim, formerly of the Dallas Cowboys, who will most likely start, and drafting Josh Oliver from San Jose State in the third round, bringing back depth to a major position of need.
Defensive tackle Malik Jackson, who agreed to a three-year deal with the Philadelphia Phillies, with $17 million of that money guaranteed.
Safety Tashaun Gipson, who signed a three-year, $22.5 million contract with the Houston Texans, with $11.25 million of that guaranteed.
Wide receiver Donte Moncrief, who received a two-year deal with the Pittsburgh Steelers worth $9 million, with $3.5 million of that guaranteed.
Quarterback Nick Foles, who was signed for four years at $88 million, with $50.125 million of that guaranteed.
Wide receiver Chris Conley, who agreed to a two-year deal worth $4.595 million, with $1 million of that guaranteed.
Tight end Geoff Swaim, who signed a two-year contract worth $6.6 million, with $1.25 million of that guaranteed.
What were Jacksonville’s Biggest offseason needs?
Offense: Wide receiver, offensive tackle, tight end, quarterback
Defense: Free safety
The Jaguars ended up with 7 picks in the 2019 NFL Draft, and they were:
Over the last decade, the Jacksonville Jaguars have been to the playoffs just once, in 2017, when they went all the way to the AFC Championship game where they were beaten by the New England Patriots, 20-24.
In addition to that postseason appearance, the Jags have been to the playoff six other times in the franchise’s twenty-four seasons of existence, including two other losses in the AFC Championship Game (1996 & 1999), two losses in Divisional Playoff Games (1998 & 2007) and two losses in Wild Card Games (1997 & 2005).
The Jaguars have never made a Super Bowl appearance, though they did make the playoffs in four of their first five seasons in the league (1996 through 1999).
The oddsmakers are not at all optimistic when it comes to the 2019-20 Jacksonville Jaguars, though at least they predict the Jags will finish one spot higher in the AFC South than they did last season when they finished dead last.
Eight other AFC teams have better odds when it comes to winning the AFC Championship, and eighteen other teams have a better chance of winning the Super Bowl.
In other words, for these Nick Foles led Jaguars to even make it to the playoffs is considered highly unlikely, and the odds of them bringing home a Lombardi Trophy are even less, so only true believers will risk any money on this version of the team from northern Florida.
Was Nick Foles a one-hit Super Bowl MVP wonder or is he ready to lead his new team to the promised Lombardi land?
Is DeFilippo truly a quarterback whisperer who had an off year in Minnesota, or will he be incapable of developing Foles as a starter?
Does Doug Marrone consider himself on the hot seat, or does he have the luxury of at least one more season to make the Jaguars right again?
The Jaguars are a long shot across the board, but you never know – Foles and DeFilippo could reunite and bring some of that Philly postseason magic down south to Jacksonville.
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Mike Lukas is a retired standup comedian turned freelance writer now living in Dallas, Texas, originally from Cleveland, Ohio. His love for the game of football and all things Cleveland Browns turned Mike into a pro blogger years ago. Now Mike enjoys writing about all thirty-two NFL teams, hoping to help football gamblers gain a slight edge in their pursuit of the perfect wager. Email: [email protected]More info on Mike Lukas
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