I’ve avoided writing about them until now. But I think it’s time we address a question that’s on everyone’s lips. Jacksonville Jaguars. Are you OK hun?!
Now, it’s super easy for us armchair fans to get carried away and question the decisions of Elite athletes and high paid executives, that run and own multi-million dollar businesses. However, I can honestly say I have absolutely no idea what the Jags are doing.
Let’s wind it back to 2017. Doug Marrone is made Head Coach, the Jags draft playmakers Leonard Fournette and Dede Westbrook. They trade for AJ Bouye, Calais Campbell, Barry Church to name a few. The Jags then go on to end their 10 year Playoff drought, making it all the way to the AFC Championship game and only losing out to the Patriots by allowing 2 4th quarter TD’s. Along the way sending 6 of their Defence to the Pro Bowl.
It’s well documented that one of the biggest reasons the Jags made it that far was because of their record setting Defence. Some analysts considered them ‘historically good’ and they led the league in nearly every statistic.
“Offence wins games, Defences win Championships”
To compliment their Defence, the Jags had the top rushing Offence in the NFL, led by rookie, Leonard Fournette. He carried for over 1000 yds and scored 9 TDs, not bad for his first year.
I think you can guess where this is going…..
The only way is……. down?
So, lets take a look at how many of these record setting, NFL leading players are left on the Jags……….
12?! JUST 12?! Shocking right?
Now of course, the NFL is a business and some of the decisions that have been made are in the interest of Cap space and some players not playing to their potential. With all of the mad free-agency business that the Jags have done in those last few years the movement of these expensive players were inevitable.
I guess the perception of how some of these moves have happened is probably the thing that sticks with most people. Jalen Ramsey being vocal (shock) about unhappy he was, arguing with Doug Marrone on the sideline – ultimately got him traded. Yannick Ngakoue another unhappy player, argued with co- owner Tony Kahn – ultimately got him traded.
Maybe this is just a couple of disgruntled employees, but to me it says more about the Jags culture than anything.
The latest Jag to hit the cutting floor, surprisingly, was Leonard Fournette. Some will say he didn’t have a great couple of seasons after his rookie year. Some will say it’s down to the Jags coaching, play calling, locker room ethos etc. Whatever it is, Leonard picked himself up a pretty sweet gig taking hand-offs from the G.O.A.T himself in a new look Bucs Offence that will surely dazzle this season!
Rebuild or Tank for Trevor?
So I guess there is only one explanation that I can get to for this whole mess and that’s REBUILD.
The Jags have seen how well a ‘Rebuild’ has worked for the Browns and more recently the Dolphins. However, the thing that they have failed to realise is that at the helm of this rebuild is the same HC/Front Office that has put them into this mess in the first place. They don’t have a Brian Flores, whom I have massive amounts of respect for. The way he talks about his team, deals with the media and some of the changes that have come out of Miami are a direct result of his leadership and I hope to see some of this translate on the field this year. Maybe the Jags need to take note of that.
The Jags look to have put fan favourite Gardener Minshew in a pretty tough spot. He still has the electric Dede Westbrook, the Jags picked up Tyler Eifert from the Bengals and it’s looking like Devine Ozigbo has had a good camp and will be RB#1. But will this be enough for Minshew to work with and lets the Jags re-live their 2017 success?
Who knows? All I know is that Trevor Lawrence better start looking for real-estate in Jacksonville.