The Jacksonville Jaguars are 5-3 through the first half of the season and have hit the ceiling when it comes to wins to what a lot of people predicted this past offseason. At least it does with me — I had this team pegged as a five or six win team until they showed they wouldn’t be.
Well folks,,, they have showed it and then some.
Their offense is getting better, Blake Bortles is growing in confidence, this is is arguably the best defense in the league, and Doug Marrone will be getting a couple Coach Of The Year votes.
Let’s get to the grades!
Blake Bortles is improving and getting more confident as the season goes on. This offensive line is on pace to set franchise records when it comes to sacks allowed. And no matter who’s in at running back — whether it’s Leonard Fournette, Chris Ivory, or even T.J. Yeldon — they always seem to have success. The passing game needs some work and that will come with either Bortles improving or a new quarterback in 2018, but rest assured this is an improving offense week to week.
This is the best defense in the NFL and as such they’re going to get all A’s. It’s that simple. Jalen Ramsey and A.J. Bouye are one of the top two or three cornerback tandems in the NFL, Calais Campbell leads the league in sacks, Telvin Smith is one of the best young linebackers in the league, and Marcell Dareus helps stop the run — the only thing this team was lacking going into the bye week two weeks ago.
Special teams is a weakness for this team but they’ve done what they need to do to fix it. They’re inconsistent, but hopefully newly signed kicker Josh Lambo provides some consistency. Brad Nortman had one awful game, but it directly contributed to one of their three losses on the season. The return game is subpar, but Jaydon Mickens is providing a much-needed spark in the punt return game — something they haven’t had in a while.
Watching Doug Marrone lead this team on Sundays and thinking back to how Gus Bradley did it for four years is like comparing apples and oranges. We have a grown up in the room and he’s elevating everything about this team — Nathaniel Hackett is limiting the offense’s mistakes and putting together long, sustained drives. Todd Wash is having a career year and is absolutely cooking with his defensive line rotation. The only chink in the armor is special teams coordinator Joe DeCamillis which isn’t what we expected at all. At the top is Marrone who has molded a bad quarterback into one who can now manage games effectively, made all the right moves when it came to a shuffled deck at offensive line, and has changed the culture into a winning one overnight.