A losing record, poor quarterback play, a lost running game and a defense nowhere to be found. That sums up the 2012 season for the Jacksonville Jaguars.
Over the course of the last six months, not only has this team become relevant in the eyes of the national media, even to a point where they have been praised for a new coaching staff, new culture in the locker room and a general manager who is making things happen in a positive way.
These Jaguars may not have a winning season in 2013, but they will be more competitive and more entertaining to the fans, for sure.
Any progress, no matter how small, is a step in the right direction for this organization. Walking through minicamp, seeing coaches, hearing the chatter and watching the teaching that is going on, you can feel this is a team that thinks it can do something special.
I happen to be one of those believers as well.
But in order for that to happen, this team needs to come out of training camp, ready to shock the world. It needs to improve its offense, toughen up its defense and pray to the football gods that wins will be easier to come by this season.
If not, it will be a tough road toward December and all that will be waiting for them during the holidays will be a chance to select another standout player with one of the first few picks in the 2014 Draft.
With those expectations come goals, predictions and prognostications. Some are real and attainable. Some, well let’s just say they are pretty out there. The NFL season is now a year-round business, so we sports reporters can come up with some wit as well as wisdom.
Here are six bold predictions that may or may not come true - but we will all have fun with them this offseason.
1. Denard Robinson finishes the season behind center: Not a total “drive by” here, but one that could play out. If both Blaine Gabbert and Chad Henne flame out here in Jacksonville, there really is a fall back for this team. So much has been made of this team using the former Michigan quarterback as a runner or receiver. Has anyone given thought to seeing what his arm can do from behind center?
2. MJD, 2,000 yards: The little man with the biggest heart on the team will have to play like Superman this season to achieve that. But don’t think it isn’t in the back of his mind. A lot has to go into something that great happening. Most of all, the offensive line will have to play the best it has ever played together. That is asking a lot.
3. Eugene Monroe, Pro Bowl tackle: I think this is one of those picks where Monroe is already a top 10 tackle in this league and now it is time (in his contract season) to step up and show he is even better than he is now. If that happens, Monroe will be in Hawaii after the season.
4. Everyone on the team shaves their heads: If Gus Bradley’s Kool-Aid is a hit in Jacksonville, will everyone buy into it and shave their heads? Bradley came to the franchise from Seattle where his mantra was, “Do your job.” If everyone does their job, this team wins eight games this season.
5. Soccer fans support Jaguars: There is talk the owner of the Jaguars, Shad Khan, is going to buy Fulham F.C. If this happens, look for more soccer fans to jump on the Jaguars bandwagon. In year's past, we have all been worried Khan is going to move this team to London in the future. I think him buying a soccer team helps this team remain in Florida.
6. No more demands for Tim Tebow: Now that he is in New England, the fan base will quiet down and get over their love interest in the former Gators great. Tebow still does not need to be part of this organization. Hopefully Blaine Gabbert will play like a Pro Bowl quarterback and out an end to all speculation in the fans’ eyes