One of the Jacksonville Jaguars strong units last year should only be strong this year, and could vie for the best unit in the entire NFL.
That unit being the Jaguars special teams unit, which has been playing at a stellar level so far in the pre-season.
The Jaguars added special teams ace and perennial pro-bowler wide receiver Kassim Osgoodin the off-season. He's already shown his viability in that regard downing a punt inside the 5-yard line in the Jaguars first pre-season game. Osgood will pair with another special teams ace in fullback Montell Owens.
Placekicker Josh Scobee is a perfect 3 for 3 so far in the pre-season, all 3 kicks of which were over at least 30 yards.
Much maligned punter Adam Podlesh has silenced most of his critics with some excellent punts in the first two games. Podlesh is averaging 41.6 yards per punt with 5 of his 9 punts having been downed inside the 20 yard line (3rd most in the NFL) with only a single touchback. Out of Podlesh's 9 punts, 4 of them have been fair caught (3rd most in the NFL) with only 2 given a return averaging 7 yards per.
Couple the core of the special teams unit with two new additions in the form of rookie returners in running back Deji Karimand cornerback Scotty McGee, and you have the potential for an elite level unit. McGee and Karim are already showing their worth in the return game. McGee is averaging 8.8 yards per punt return with a long of 25 and 31.4 yards per return on kick offs with a long of 46 yards. Deji Karim has been an explosive returner on kick offs averaging 32.8 yards per return with a long of 68 yards. He also had a 47-yard return called back for an illegal wedge penalty against the Miami Dolphins. Collectively, the Jaguars lead the NFL so far in kick off return average and have the most returns of 40+ yards.
On kickoff coverage the Jaguars have also been excellent. Placekicker Josh Scobee has a bionic leg that normally just booms the ball for a touchback, but in the pre-season he's been allowing teams to return the ball so coaches can get a look at special teams play. In 9 kick off returns so far, the Jaguars have allowed an average of only 20.1 yards per return, effectively a touchback each time. The longest return they've allowed was only 36 yards, which came late in the game on Saturday against the Miami Dolphins.
Add a blocked punt by Rashad Jennings for a safety to all of this, and you can see why it's easy to get excited about this unit.
One unit of the Jacksonville Jaguars this season that should be consistently good is the special teams.