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Friday August 29, 2008 11:46 am

NFL Preview: Jacksonville Jaguars




Posted by Dean Browski Categories: NFL,

David Garrard of the Jacksonville Jaguars

JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS
2007 RECORD: 11-5

Overview: The Jaguars of 2007 turned heads at the beginning of the season by getting rid of Byron Leftwich and making David Garrard the starter at QB. They turned heads again at the end of the season by winning a road-playoff game against the Pittsburgh Steelers and giving the New England Patriots all they could handle. If any team is ready to take the next step, it is the Jaguars. Of course they have the Indianapolis Colts to deal with, but they have proven they can play with them… it is finally time to beat them.

Offense: Garrard made head coach Jack Del Rio look like a genius with the quarterback switch at the beginning of the year. Garrard responded by throwing only 3 INTs to his 18 TD passes. Statistically speaking, a regression to the mean argument may hold more water than the argument that Garrard will repeat last year’s performance. However, they added Jerry Porter to their already stud-filled WR corps, giving Garrard big targets to hit with the short to mid-range ball. TE Marcedes Lewis showed he is on the verge of elite status and he will need to be if this offense is to replicate last year’s success. The backfield of Fred Taylor and Maurice Jones-Drew give the Jags a dynamo backfield that must improve on gaining more consistent yardage per play to keep the Jags out of 3rd and longs. The off-field issue that Matt Jones is dealing with and some injuries in camp certainly keep the questions around this team alive.

Defense: The Jaguars were 9th in the league last year in sacks but did it in a way that didn’t make Coach Del Rio very comfortable. In fact, it made him so uncomfortable that he drafted defensive ends with his first two picks. This should go well with new Defensive Coordinator Greg Williams, most recently of the Washington Redskins, with his philosophy of blitzing on almost every down. The linebackers have a nice mix of youth and experience, and will need to cover better this year. Defense will be how the Jags are able to take down the Colts and to do so they must accomplish it with their front seven. That is to get pressure with the front four and to get better coverage from their linebackers. The Jaguars were fourth in the league in interceptions. Sammy Knight was a one-year contributor whose shoes need to be filled, but Reggie Nelson and the rest of the secondary should be just fine.

Rookies: Derrick Harvey from Florida and Quentin Groves from Auburn enter their rookie years with high expectations. This will be nothing new to them as they played on two of the premier college teams in the country, in the premier conference in the country. Harvey held out of camp for a while, but his athleticism should allow for a quick acclimation and be able to bring pressure with his speed. Groves has already impressed and supported the belief that he may actually be the better of the two. Thomas Williams was taken with the Jags third pick, a versatile LB from USC that has a nose for the ball and makes plays when he is on the field.

Prediction: The Jaguars can not become obsessed with the Colts despite their always ending up behind them in the AFC South. They meet the Colts in Week 3 which can set the tone for the year. However, if they overlook division rival Tennessee Titans and a tough Buffalo Bills team, they could be 0-2 going into the Colts game. The Jags should be no worse than 4-2 going into their bye week, and ideally 5-1. Their first three games after the bye are games that I am chalking up as wins for the Jags. That being said, I am predicting the Jaguars to go 12-4 in 2008.


View All of Dean Browski’s 2008 NFL Team Projections

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