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Jacksonville Jaguars name 2018 team captains

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NFL: Jacksonville Jaguars at Minnesota Vikings Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports

The Jacksonville Jaguars have announced their team captains for the 2018 NFL regular season.

Offense

QB Blake Bortles

OL Brandon Linder

RB Leonard Fournette

Defense

LB Telvin Smith

DE Calais Campbell

Special teams

DE Lerentee McCray


Blake Bortles was the team captain for the 2015 and 2016 seasons but lost that designation for the 2017 season. He seems to have regained the trust around the locker room as compared to last year at this time when he was fending off Chad Henne for the starting quarterback position. He had a productive outing last year, finishing with above a 60 percent completion rate and throwing for a career-low 13 interceptions.

Leonard Fournette carried quite a bit of the offensive load on his back, facing 8-man boxes more than any other running back in the league last season. He is the player through which this offense runs (no pun intended) and so naming him a captain is a no-brainer.

Brandon Linder came in second place in the Big Cat Country “Offensive Player of the Year” award. The offensive line was the strongest unit last year for the Jaguars and Linder was the best player on that unit. According to Matt Harmon at NFL.com, they only gave up an average of 10 pressures per game (13th in the NFL) and gave running backs an average of 0.32 yards before defenders closed within one yard (also good for 13th in the NFL). Linder was the only offensive lineman to start and not give up a single sack and his run-blocking ability is second-to-none on this team.

Telvin Smith was a captain last year and deservedly so — the quick, athletic linebacker was a Pro Bowl player and Second Team All-Pro selection.

Calais Campbell led the AFC with 14.5 sacks last year and is the new franchise record holder for sacks in a single season. He’s the veteran of the group, keeping the locker room composed and helping the players on the defensive side of the ball walk that line between playing with an edge and playing composed and within the rules. He’s an obvious choice for captain on defense and won the Big Cat Country “Defensive Player of the Year” award last year.

Lerentee McCray is a special teams ace who was in on 13 of the team’s 16 regular season games last year. He finished the 2017 season with seven tackles, 1.5 sacks, one pass defended, and a new contract.