Let's get this out of the way immediately. A lockout is wanted by no one. The players don't want it, the owners don't want it, and the fans sure as hell don't want it. Now that that's out of the way, let's discuss what teams might benefit from a lockout from a competitive standpoint. First, let's assume that the lockout lasts up until the start of the preseason. Everyone is beginning to get very worried that the NFL won't have a season. The players seem firm in their stance, and with millions if not billions of dollars to lose, the owners concede enough to get an agreement done. What happens then? We have an NFL season to remember.
In the scenario above, there are certain characteristics that become very important. Leadership on the player level could play a major role in how well their respective teams do. Do we really think Peyton Manning will sit on his couch eating Cheetos? No, he'll have his receivers with him, and they'll be learning plays and routes. The Colts would have a huge edge in a lockout.
We know the Colts would be sharp, but what about the Jaguars? ESPN reported earlier in the week that David Garrard has been in contact with his offense about off-season preparations in the case of a lockout. That's great news considering that with a lockout, coaches aren't allowed to be in contact with the players. This could keep the Jaguars on even footing with the Colts.
Leadership, Check. How about stability? That may be the second most important attribute for a team that wants to make a playoff push following a lockout. This actually may have factored into the retention of Del Rio and the rest of the Jaguars' coaching staff. Players for the Jaguars won't be in contact with their coaches, but they will know that the basic systems in place won't be changing. That gives them the ability to study and prepare on their own. Teams with new head coaches, coordinators, and positions coaches will have a much more difficult time preparing for the regular season because they won't know exactly what they're doing.
Finally we move on to character guys. More specifically, I'm talking about guys that work hard in the off-season. This is the most basic and easy to identify level. This benefits teams in a regular year, but this year, it may have an exponential affect on how well teams do next season. The good news is that Gene Smith has made it a point to get character guys with "a good motor." Character guys want to perform well for their teammates, and they tend to work hard to do so. It appears to me that the Jaguars are actually set up very well for a lockout, should one occur.
There are no sure things in a lockout, but I suspect there will be a group of teams that adjusted well and a group that didn't adjust well. This could result in some very close games and some blowouts of epic proportions. I'm of the mindset that, regardless of the labor situation, the Jaguars are truly ready to make a playoff push. I'm only certain of one thing. It's gonna be fun.