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2019 Team Report: Jacksonville Jaguars

Offensive Philosophy

This offseason, the Jaguars signed Philadelphia backup quarterback Nick Foles and his 2017 quarterback coach John DeFilippo to remake an offense that has weighed down their ferocious defense. Foles and Defilippo are at their best with short passing from shotgun sets, throwing within 10 yards of the line of scrimmage, relying on quick drops to get the quarterback in a rhythm and mesh routes to get receivers open.

Quarterbacks

Starter: Nick Foles
Backup(s): Cody Kessler, Gardner Minshew, Alex McGough, Tanner Lee

Starting QB: The Blake Bortles experience is officially over in Jacksonville as the team released him and signed Nick Foles to a four-year, $88 million contract. The former Super Bowl MVP brings both playoff experience and leadership with him to Jacksonville. Coach Doug Marrone emphasized that the acquisition of Foles gave the Jaguars consistency at the quarterback position and that was something that was missing over the years. "I like that you know what you're getting. The consistency, the nothing really rattles him. You talk to coaches that have been around him and they say nothing ever really rattles him. He takes information. He's smart. He knows where he wants to go with the ball. He knows coverages. Those things that were the thing that kind of jumped off to me outside of what you can see on the tape and playing on the big stage and being ready and being prepared." Now out of the shadows of Carson Wentz in Philadelphia, Nick Foles is the guy in Jacksonville from day one of the 2019 season and will have the opportunity to play a full season as the team's starting quarterback. UPDATE: Foles has left the team for an indefinite period, but could return as soon as next week.

Backup QB: Cody Kessler remains on backup duty in Jacksonville and has some starter experience over the past three seasons which is important in any backup role. Kessler offers nothing flashy but he can come in and run the offense if called upon.

Running Backs

Starter: Leonard Fournette
Backup(s): Alfred Blue, Ryquell Armstead [R], David Williams, Benny Cunningham, Thomas Rawls
Fullback(s):

Starting RB: Leonard Fournette had a forgettable start to the 2018 season as he only played two games through the first nine weeks of the season. He turned things around over his last six games on the season as he collected six touchdowns. There remains many question marks with Fournette's off field actions and there have also been rumors of his commitement on the field at times. 2018 was a year where the Jaguars had a lot of high hopes as a whole and it just didn't end up going to plan. Fournette had a strong rookie season back in 2017, where he ended that year with 1,040 rushing yards along with 302 receiving yards and a total of 10 touchdowns and finished as RB8 while appearing in just 13 games. Those are the type of numbers we hope to get out of Fournette this season with a new quarterback in Nick Foles and a fresh start in 2019.

Backup RBs: With T.J. Yeldon leaving via free agency, the Jaguars went out and signed Alfred Blue to be the guy behind Leonard Fournette. Blue has spent his five-year career in Houston before this signing and has always been a role player who can contribute here and there. Over 73 career games in Houston he averaged 33 rushing yards per game and had a total of 10 touchdowns over that span.

Fullback:

Wide Receivers

Starters: Dede Westbrook, Marqise Lee, Keelan Cole
Backups: D.J. Chark, Chris Conley, Tevaun Smith, Jaydon Mickens, C.J. Board, Terrelle Pryor

Starting WRs: It is hard to put anyone other than Dede Westbrook in the category as starting wide receiver. The Jaguars have a five-guys in Marqise Lee, Dede Westbrook, Keelan Cole, D.J. Chark, and Chris Conley that are all capable of being starters. Westbrook is the name that pops out the most as he finished 2018 as WR32 with an impressive 66/718/5 line on 101 targets and added 98 rushing yards. He was clearly the Jaguars best offensive player last season and even in a down year with struggling offensive play from others around him he still managed to put up competitive numbers. Marqise Lee was supposed to be the guy in Jacksonville last year but he suffered an ACL injury and missed the entire season, he will also be in the mix with Westbrook this season as Nick Foles favorite target. Keelan Cole is another name that could have had a break out season last year but failed at the opportunity with just posted a 38/491/1 line after putting up an impressive 42/748/3 line the year before in his rookie season.

Backup WRs: The other names to look out for in Jacksonville are D.J. Chark who is entering year two and newly acquired free agent Chris Conley who Nick Foles seemed to hand pick to come to town. Conley caught 32 passes last season for 334 yards and five touchdowns.

Tight Ends

Starters: Geoff Swaim
Backups: James OShaughnessy, Ben Koyack, Josh Oliver [R], Pharoah McKever

Geoff Swaim finally saw some run with the Cowboys in 2018 posting a 26/242/1 line on 32 targets over nine games and was rewarded with a two-year, $10 million contract as the Jaguars signed him in free agency. James O'Shaughnessy is the other name to monitor out of this tight end group as he caught 24 passes for 214 yards last season seeing the majority of the Jaguars tight end snaps.

Place Kicker

Josh Lambo: Josh Lambo's 2018 numbers were similar to his 2017 stats with the Jaguars. That's a bad thing since Lambo played in three more games in 2018. His season was prematurely ended by a groin injury, but the team is still happy with him - inking Lambo to a four-year extension in the offseason. He has a good distance leg and is plenty accurate - breaking the team record for consecutive field goal makes last year - but the Jaguars offense doesn't look to be potent enough to support a strong kicker fantasy season, so Lambo is on the outside of fantasy drafts looking in.

Kick and Punt Returners

Kick Returners: D.J. Chark, Dede Westbrook

D.J. Chark was the closest thing to a regular kickoff returner the Jaguars had in 2018, which isn't say much at all; Chark accounted for just 27% of the team's runbacks. Nevertheless, he remains on the team and much of his competition does not, so he's the best bet for an increased role in 2019.

Punt Returners: Dede Westbrook, D.J. Chark

The team didn't want Westbrook to handle returns for them last season. His first punt return didn't come until Week 6, and his first multiple-return game was in Week 10. Regardless of what they wanted, Westbrook was too good to keep off the field, and he finished the year averaging 14 yards per punt return. We'll see if Jacksonville plans on taking Westbrook off of special teams again in 2019... and more importantly, whether they're able to live without his dynamic returns if they do.

Offensive Line

Projected Starters: Cam Robinson, Andrew Norwell, Brandon Linder, A.J. Cann, Jawaan Taylor [R]
Key Backups: Josh Walker, Tyler Shatley, Chris Reed, Cedric Ogbuehi, Josh Wells

This line had extremely poor luck with injuries last season, but assuming everyone recovered in the offseason the strength of the unit is running on the left side, behind left tackle Cam Robinson and high-priced guard Andrew Norwell. Brandon Linder at center and A.J. Cann at right guard are both solid, run-heavy players. The team moved on from right tackle Jermey Parnell and drafted local Gators product Jawaan Taylor in the second round. In addition, the team has Will Richardson, Josh Walker and Cedric Ogbuehi to compete for the job. Overall, this is a mid-tier line who can rise in the rankings if they can remain healthy.

Team Defense

The Jaguars put up one of the most dominant fantasy team defense seasons of all-time in 2017 and followed it up with a rather lukewarm campaign in 2018 after being drafted #1 in almost every fantasy draft. After a predictably strong outing in Week 1 against Eli Manning, the Jags were well, JAGs for fantasy defense stats until Week 8 against the Eagles. The arrow was pointing up in the second half of the year with strong outings against the Steelers, Colts, Washington, and Miami. The biggest change for the defense this year might be on offense as Nick Foles should be a better rudder for the team than Blake Bortles, but they will also have to overcome the loss of Telvin Smith for the season. The defense will have some turnover at safety with Barry Church and Tashaun Gipson gone, but Ronnie Harrison looks ready to be a consistent impact player on the stat sheet. #7 overall pick Josh Allen will provide pass rush punch and hopefully 2018 first rounder Taven Bryan will be ready to influence more players from the interior of the defensive line. The Jaguars defense will still cost you a premium pick among the top 5-6 defenses off of the board in most drafts, and that might not be advisable with the Chiefs and Texans to open. The Titans and Broncos are up in Weeks 3 and 4 to justify paying the price if you are betting on a bounce back to previous production levels.

Defensive Line

Starters: LDE Calais Campbell, RDE Yannick Ngakoue, NT Abry Jones, DT Marcell Dareus
Backups: DE Josh Allen [R], DE Dawuane Smoot, NT Eli Ankou, NT Dontavius Russell [R], DT Taven Bryan

Starting DL: Speed rusher Yannick Ngakoue is playing on the last year of his contract, which may explain the first-round selection of Josh Allen. Having Allen in the fold may give the team more flexibility in negotiating with Ngakoue. Ngakoue was highly productive across from Calais Campbell, notching nine sacks last year. Though he will turn 33 this year, Campbell has yet to fall off in terms of his sack production and stopping the run. He continues to be the gold standard in the league in terms of setting the edge. Abry Jones will man the interior. While he won't be a flashy player, eating space and maintaining gap integrity on the inside is an important role on this front four. Dareus, who was added two years ago, has panned out in a major way for this team as an interior disruptor, pocket pusher, and run stuffer.

Backup DL: First rounder Josh Allen will give Ngakoue the occasional breather in the base alignment, but should be expected to see the field more often in pass rushing situations. Duwuane Smoot weirdly saw even fewer snaps than he did in his rookie year, but remains on the roster as developmental depth. Ali Ankou and rookie Dontavius Russell will have a camp competition to determine who will be the primary backup to Abry Jones. The Jaguars experimented with Taven Bryan last year at the defensive end position when Calais Campbell needed a breather, but he did not appear to be a fit. He will move back inside to his more natural position at defensive tackle.

Linebackers

Starters: WLB Quincy Williams [R], MLB Myles Jack, SLB Leon Jacobs
Backups: WLB Nick DeLuca, MLB Jake Ryan, MLB Ramik Wilson, SLB Najee Goode

Starting LBs: The Jaguars' starting unit will shift significantly with the news that Telvin Smith will not play football in 2019. Smith said in a public statement that he needs to step away from the game temporarily. That could put rookie Quincy Williams immediately into the lineup either at WLB or MLB. Myles Jack switched from outside linebacker to middle linebacker last year and did not seem to be as good of a fit in that position. With Smith out of the picture, Jack could be on the move back to the outside. The Jaguars are in nickel looks more often than not; but in their base set, Jacobs acquitted himself as a competent option last year. There's a possibility that Josh Allen also sees some usage at strong side linebacker in certain situations.

Backup LBs: Rookie Quincy Williams, who was taken surprisingly high in the Draft, could slot into the starting middle linebacker spot. Alternately, the team could place often-injured former Packer Jake Ryan into that spot if they feel Williams isn't ready. The Jaguars cleared the position group by releasing Donald Payne and Blair Brown. Camp competition is going to be necessary to sort of this group, but Ramik Wilson and Najee Goode have some experience with former teams that may give them leader-of-the-pack status heading into training camp.

Defensive Backs

Starters: CB Jalen Ramsey, CB A.J. Bouye, FS Jarrod Wilson, SS Ronnie Harrison
Backups: CB, D.J. Hayden, CB Quenton Meeks, CB Tre Herndon, FS Cody Davis, SS C.J. Reavis

Starting DBs: This team's core cornerbacks return, but there will be two new starters at the safety spots. Jalen Ramsey had Jacksonville pick up his fifth-year option as they work to negotiate a long-term deal. With Tashaun Gipson leaving for the rival Texans, Jarrod Wilson will slot into the free safety spot. He received a three-year extension over the offseason, signaling the team's confidence in his development. Ronnie Harrison was a rookie last year, but saw playing time half-way through the season when he took over for the struggling Barry Church. He played impressively and seemed to be up to the task before suffering a knee injury that sent him to injured reserve.

Backup DBs: D.J. Hayden played well in nickel situations before getting hurt last season. Missing six games with a toe ailment, backup Tyler Patmon was abused by opposing slot receivers. The team will hope that backup Tre Herndon can be more serviceable this time if Hayden should get hurt again this season. Both Herndon and Quenton Meeks are players with promise that the Jaguars claimed as undrafted free agents last year. Both saw playing time and intrigued the coaching staff with their play. On the flip side, Cody Davis also received playing time last season and was not very impressive. C.J. Reavis has spent time on the practice squad, but remains untested in game situations. It's safe to say that safety could be a problematic position for the Jaguars if the starters are lost to injury.

Last modified: 2019-05-30 10:36:04