You asked for it guys so I'm back to hopefully help out with the summer blues...
Let me start out by saying this, "The Jaguars offense will be much improved this 2013 season." In part, this is because they can't get perform much worse than they did last year. The Jaguars managed a meager 29th out of 32 teams in yards per game. They finished 21st in passing and 30th in rushing yardage. Now I know it's going to be hard to do, but try and evaluate the offense as a whole this season more so than Blaine Gabbert. Don't buy into the media hype about Blaine if he plays well the first few games. I don't need to remind everyone how they felt about Blaine after opening day at Minnesota do I? Well even my die hard Viking fan buddies texted after the Jags overtime loss to the Vikings, "We'll at least you have a QB?" Blaine looked phenomenal that game. It's safe to say not one Jaguars fan feels that comfortable about Gabbert today.
If Gabbert does not improve at all then Jacksonville will almost assuredly be drafting a QB in the 1st round of the 2014 draft. That's not where I'm going with this article. I'm sick and tired of hearing about Teddy Bridgewater being the number one overall pick to the Jaguars in 2014 and so are you. The Jaguars will not be drafting number one in 2014. What I'm saying is still be very skeptical about Blaine if he only improves to be a top 20 QB next season. The only way I would remove all skepticism and get that same awesome post Minnesota game feeling (no pun intended) is if Gabbert turns into a top 12 QB this season. Don't laugh, it could happen if the front office is right about Blaine just needing a little more time. The reason is because the offense is going to be better no matter who's starting at QB. I'll explain why with various reasons throughout the article.
A healthy, suspension free, Maurice Jones-Drew alone will improve the rushing yardage significantly. We are all aware of how much the offense suffered last season with MJD out of the lineup in 2012. So many fans believed or wanted to believe in Rashad "Great White Hype" Jennings, but he proved to be nothing more than hype on game days. The running back by committee rarely produces a strong running game in the NFL. The exceptions are having a set complimentary two back system like the old duo of Freddy T and MJD. Not by activating guys off the practice squad. In 2011, the Jaguars were 12th as a team in rushing with a healthy MJD leading all NFL players. I do not believe we end up as high as 12th this season. One simple reason is because MJD won't get as many carries as he did in 2011. Once could point out another reason being that teams are going more towards the passing game. I believe the Jaguars will have a more balanced offense than in years past. I'm going to say the wild card here is Denard Robinson. Shoelace will make some big plays with his feet, too. I see the Jaguars finishing somewhere in the middle of the pack in rushing offense. This is a significant jump from 2012.
The offensive line being healthy is always key for all rushing and passing and everything for that matter. The Jaguars had multiple injuries along the Oline. The team was plugging in starters off the street from week to week for a while. Four or five days isn't exactly much time to gel with your teammates. The offensive line is now healthy. That is a huge plus in itself. The most important part is...(drum roll please)... the Jaguars finally have a stud right tackle Luke "Pretty Boy" Joeckel." Okay, I made up the nickname. It's just not very often, in fact it has never happened, that my wife said an offense tackle was handsome. Isn't that an oxymoron when you're known as being a "Big Ugly"? Let's just go with it as my wife obviously has good taste. The right tackle play the past couple years has been atrocious. I would argue probably the worst in the NFL. We now likely will have one of the best in the game. The wildcard here is guard Will Rackley. Can he prove he's tough enough to play with the big boys? We will find out early with the great defenses of Seattle and Denver. Overall, the improved and healthy Oline should push the Jaguars somewhere to being at least 6-10 spots better in total offense all by itself.
The most important piece of all is the new offensive coordinator, Jedd Fisch. There is no more Mularkey (pun intended.) The ultra conservative, vanilla without the beans, offense he implemented in 2012 is long gone. The Jaguars now have one of the better young play callers in all of football on the mic and headphones. The offense will be quarterback friendly. Blaine will be asked to do the things he does best. I'm not sure what that is yet but that's why Jedd got hired and not myself. I couldn't find anything that Jacory Harris could do well at the University of Miami either. Then Jedd turned him into a QB with almost a 70% completion percentage and almost doubled his touchdowns to interceptions ratio. The next season the guy successfully overhauled his own offense from pro-style to an up tempo hybrid to better fit his players and the coaches schemes. His work last season with Stephen Morris has the QB pegged as the preseason 7th ranked NFL QB prospect according to NFL Draft Scout. Many fans weren't sure if Morris would even be a starter at UM this far along. Jedd gave UM the best offense they've had in over a decade since playing for a National Championship. He did that last season even when UM statistically had the worst defense they've had since the 70's. So if history repeats itself like it usually does, the Jaguars QB play will be much better. That means the Jaguars passing game should also be improved.
Overall, Jaguars fan's should be satisfied to see some real improvement across the board on offense. Going from the bottom of the NFL to the middle of the pack is quite an improvement. It should be fun to watch these young talented "offensive weapons" grow this season.
The real question is just how much of the improved offense will be Blaine Gabbert and how much of it will be the offensive scheme? I think most of it will be everything other than Blaine if they finish 18-22 in total offense. Unless Blaine blows up and finishes in the top half of the league at QB, the Jaguars will be drafting a QB on day one or two in 2014. My fingers are crossed he finishes in the top 10. He has the tools. He's going to have to prove the kahunas are there to take an exposed hit when J.J. Watt breaks through the line to hit Cecil Shorts on the deep post if he wants be top 10. Nobody but Blaine can't help Blaine do that.