If nothing else, the Jacksonville Jaguars are becoming wholly predictable. The 2021–22 season ended with the Jags once again missing out on the post-season excitement, and for the fourth season in a row, they finished bottom of the pile in AFC South.
Something has got to give…
,Attracting new and better players will be the start of the rebuilding process. Whilst the Jags don’t offer much in terms of on-field progression, Jacksonville is still an attractive place to live. Between the Cummer Museum of Art, Little Talbot Island State Park, St John’s River, and the Ritz Theater, it is a culturally-rich and aesthetically-pleasing city with plenty going for it.
The city is packed with restaurants, bars and clubs too, with rumours abounding that a casino could be built on Jacksonville soil. If that doesn’t come to pass, there’s a long list of online casinos accepting players from Florida for those who cherish roulette, blackjack and the likes.
Jacksonville is an attractive place to live, so enticing some low-key NFL stars to the city should not be a problem. To that end, here are three key areas in which the Jags will have to improve in 2022.
One of the issues with drafting highly-rated quarterbacks is that expectations go through the roof. As a result, the man in question is always likely to disappoint. Trevor Lawrence was on a hiding to nothing from the get-go after being drafted as the Jags’ first-round pick, but even he would admit that his performances with ball in hand left much to be desired.
With only 12 touchdown passes and a second-place ranking in the NFL for interceptions, the 22-year-old never really got his game together for prolonged periods of time. What's more, Lawrence’s lack of confidence manifested itself in Jacksonville having the worst offensive record during the regular season.
It’s doubtful that they will bring anybody in to replace Lawrence, and so faith will be shown in the rookie – but can he deliver in his sophomore season?
Hitting the Sack
With such a weak offense, it was paramount that the Jags defended stoically. In truth, they failed on that count too.
One of the main problems was that they were unable to disrupt the opposition quarterback. They ranked fifth-lowest in the NFL for sacks made, and the excellent Josh Allen was responsible for a hefty chunk of those.
It is paramount that Jacksonville brings in defensive reinforcements that are going to win easy ball by making life a nightmare for opposition QBs. The hope is that Kayvon Thibodeaux will get the nod.
The Oregon edge defender has been delivering big numbers in Pac-12, and taking out quarterbacks has become his bread and butter. It's no wonder he is so highly rated in many NFL mock draft.
Never change, just grow pic.twitter.com/JGUQ2Ht22R— Kayvon Thibodeaux (@kayvont) January 17, 2022
He would be an incredibly valuable addition for the Jags if that’s the route they decide to take.
Big Play Bonanza
The Jags made just 15 big plays in 2021. The likely cause is a lack of talent to make them happen.
Lawrence’s inconsistency with ball in hand was one major factor, but a lack of craft and guile in the receiving ranks should also be considered a major drawback.
There's no doubt James Robinson has talent. However, there are other options at running back, including Travis Etienne Jr, who spent his rookie season on the treatment table, the below-par Carlos Hyde, and finally the little-used Carlos Hyde.
To improve their offensive output, the Jags need to find a band of runners to make those big plays that will get the blood pumping amongst their teammates. Right now, that personnel simply isn’t on the roster. The likes of Chase Edmonds and Melvin Gordon have been mentioned as potential trade targets.
If the Jaguars can improve in these three main areas, who knows? Maybe they will end their post-season hoodoo in 2022–23.
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