The Jaguars took a huge leap last season when they doubled their win total from two to four games. A lot of the credit should be given to general manager Dave Caldwell and head coach Gus Bradley for their continued push of a franchise that looked all but lame after eight games and no wins to show for it.
The second half of the season proved that this was a team that had the makings of a good defense, but the offense still needed help.
Bradley and Caldwell stuck to their guns in the offseason, making free agent moves to bolster the defense, but to also find weapons to help Chad Henne find the end zone more than he did in in 2013. This is an offense that should be better in the upcoming season. This is a team that should increase their win total. This is a team that could surprise a few people in 2014.
This is the good, the bad and the ugly of the Jaguars as they approach OTA’s and training camp.
The Good: Leadership at the top
To a man, it has been said by everyone that they want to play for Gus Bradley.
There is something about his attitude, his philosophy and his demeanor that makes players gravitate toward him. Maybe that is why Chris Clemons and Red Bryant – former Seattle defensive standouts – signed with the team in the offseason. Dave Caldwell has made sure to give the Jaguars coach the types of players he wants to work with and it has paid off so far.
There is no telling where this team will be in two years, but for now, the direction of this organization if firmly moving upward.
The Bad: Questions on offense
Even with the retooling of the offense and the attention to detail this team did, there are still areas of concern on this team. The line is starting to look better with Zane Beadles signed and two rookies drafted to compete at guard and center. Luke Joeckel is still recovering from a broken ankle from last season. Austin Pasztor is penciled in as the right tackle, and Mike Brewster will get a crack at center before anyone else. The 2014 Draft was good, but I question the team and its vision when it could have had players like David Yankey and Bryan Stork instead of Brandon Linder and Luke Bowanko.
The Ugly: It was only four wins
Let’s not get ahead of ourselves here. There is still work to be done. The Jaguars like other 4-12 teams, are a work in progress. If there is some solace in last year’s season, the fact the four wins came in the second half of the season prove the team was adjusting to Bradley and his game plan. This is still one of the less-experienced teams in the league, but they are getting better. The schedule at the beginning of the season is brutal and the franchise will be lucky to win one of its first four games. Bradley must make everyone do their job like they are supposed to. The roster is better and looks like an NFL team, but more time is needed to grow and develop.