Unfortunately, in recent years, its been difficult to walk away from a Jaguars game with a pocket full of positives. Everyone seems to sense it, however, that things are beginning to finally turn around. I am not here to pump sunshine and rainbows, believe me.
But I am here for the champagne and cookies!
Whether you know it as “A Tradition Unlike Any Other,” or “The Best Damn Celebration in the History of Sports,” celebrating a Jaguars victory by enjoying champagne and cookies together appears destined to be a more frequent occurrence in 2016.
Now, no one reasonably expects the Jaguars to go 19-0. There will be some (maybe more than some) Sundays that the bottles stay corked, and the cookies go cold. But that doesn’t mean there won’t be positive takeaways from each game.
In the same vein from which the Champagne & Cookies tradition was born, I hope to give readers of Big Cat Country a positive takeaway from the week’s game, regardless of the outcome.
We are still a few weeks away from the first exhibition game, but let’s go ahead and take a look at a few positives from this off-season as we head into training camp and the preseason.
Everyone is healthy!
When the BREAKING NEWS alerts hit everyone’s phones regarding Jalen Ramsey going to visit Dr. James Andrews, the kick to the gut was swift and powerful. After what happened to Dante Fowler in the first hour of 2015 rookie minicamp, this could not be happening again! Then, like Neo from The Matrix, we dodged a bullet. Not only that, but Marqise “The Albino Tiger” Lee survived OTAs and appears to be figuring out how to stay on the field. Kelvin Beachum is recovering well from ACL surgery, and Sen’Derrick Marks will be back. The gang’s all here! As Dave Caldwell said, “If we can stay healthy, and go into the season with a full squad, I think we have a chance at this thing.” So far, so good. *knocks on every piece of wood in the house*
Skuta and Denard not charged
Even the few negatives from this off-season seemed to work themselves out. Most notably, perhaps, are the arrests of Dan Skuta and Denard Robinson. As they say, “all’s well that ends well.”
Whatever happened, and whatever your opinion of those situations, the fact is that no one was charged, and no one was suspended. Both Dave Caldwell and Gus Bradley indicated each situation was addressed with each player, and both Dave and Gus commended the character of both men. Point being, those stories were the worst news of the offseason for the Jaguars... and given the circumstances, both situations worked out the best way possible for everyone involved.
The Jaguars “won” the offseason
Between the draft and free-agency, the Jaguars received universal high marks from those who give marks on the NFL offseason. I don’t want to belabor the point, because I think its been talked about ad nauseam but the Jaguars freaking killed the draft. Jalen Ramsey and Myles Jack. The ultimate BOFA. Couple those two with the influx of young defenders, prize free-agent Malik Jackson, ball-hawking safety Tashaun Gipson, and Chris Ivory, and the Jaguars walk into this season as near consensus winners of the offseason. Whether it translates to the first playoff birth for the Jaguars in nearly a decade remains to be seen; but it sure doesn’t hurt, and it beats the alternative.
As the Jaguars move forward into 2016, there are sure to be many ups and downs. Right now, the arrow is undoubtedly pointing up. Even when that arrow waivers and vacillates, however, there is bound to be something positive to take away from the week that was.
While Jaguars’ fans will not enjoy the taste of victory every Sunday, it does not always mean the next week needs to be spent in despair. In Wiggle’s World, even when there’s no cause for champagne and cookies, silver linings abound.
Until then, however, the Jaguars are undefeated. Cheers to that!