The Jacksonville Jaguars had their best season in the past decade in 2017. Now, there is a lot of pressure for the team to continue that success.
Whether it be a coach or a player, those in Jacksonville have a lot to prove this season, and here are just five of them.
OC Nathaniel Hackett
Nathaniel Hackett’s first full year at the helm as Offensive Coordinator was a successful one as the Jaguars ranked 1st in rushing offense (averaging 140 yards per game), 11th in passing offense and 9th in total offense.
Hackett needs to continue that success if the Jaguars want to have another great season. There are also new pieces to the puzzle in Jacksonville such as D.J Chark, Donte Moncrief and Austin Seferian-Jenkins. Seferian-Jenkins must prove that last season wasn’t a fluke and continue to dial up great plays.
SS Barry Church
Church wouldn’t be on this list if it wasn’t for the simple fact the Jaguars selected one of the most talented safeties in this years draft, Ronnie Harrison. Church had a career-high four interceptions this year. However, when he’s left on an island with top notch wideouts, he tends to show his age. Church is heading into his eighth season and this might be the first time since about his rookie season that he’s had to compete for a job, he has to step up his game and prove to be a veteran leader in that locker room if he wants to keep his spot.
WR Marqise Lee
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The Jaguars declined to sign Robinson and Hurns back, however they did decide to sign Lee to a contract of 4 years for 34 million. Lee is known to be injury prone and has hands of stone from time to time. If he does struggle it’s going to be bad for him because the Jaguars have a lot of young hungry wide-outs on its roster. If Lee’s play declines he will not be seeing the field much, he must play to his full #1 receiver potential or he won’t be around for much longer.
RG A.J. Cann
The Jaguars offensive line is a top five unit in the league and you can quote me on that. The left guard, center, and both tackles are held down by studs; however, the right guard remains questionable for the Jaguars. It seems as though so far in the offseason no one has really competed with Cann for his starting spot, but there will be some competition breathing down his neck from fourth round selection Will Richardson. Cann must have a perfect offseason and preseason in order to solidify himself as the starting right guard for the Jaguars. With four studs on the line, they won’t be very patient with mistakes. Cann is walking on thin ice and he better hope it doesn’t break.
QB Blake Bortles
Coming off his best season, Bortles must take the next step to be accepted league wide as a franchise quarterback. Bortles must remain consistent, and play to the fullest of his abilities. He must be a factor, not a liability. All over the league it’s been stated that “the Jaguars are a quarterback away from contending from a Super Bowl.” Bortles has to silence those critics this season and make sure this will be his best season yet. With more offensive weapons than he’s ever had before, look for Bortles to prove himself worthy of being a franchise quarterback next season.
Watch Trevan Pixley speak about this list in depth on Youtube.