2018 Season Recap: Jacksonville Jaguars


AFC South

5-11 (1-5 in division, 4th place)

The 2018 season was the equivalent of the most recent Kingsman movie. Allow me to explain (spoilers ahead for both Kingsman: The Golden Circle and for the 2018 Jacksonville Jaguars season).

By all accounts, the first movie was surprisingly good. It had comedy, one of the best action scenes of all-time, and was a fun movie the whole way through. Because of this, many people had high hopes for the second one. Would the second one be as good, if not, better than the original? Would the movie live up to expectations?

And, maybe to some people’s surprise, it did. The first fight scene takes place in the car to the backdrop of “Let’s Go Crazy” by Prince, and everything looks promising. The Kingsman franchise was back. Things were going smoothly, and it looked like the story was going to be a worthy successor to the original. Heck, maybe it could even build upon its universe in a way that other sequels like Shrek 2 and Star Wars: Episode V did. But it was looking really promising about 15 minutes into the movie.

And then, something happened in the movie. Everyone died for no reason. Then the movie started to get worse. A mid-movie appearance by Elton John seemed to get things going back on track, but he then overstayed his welcome (and I love Elton John). Then, the movie began to make no sense, especially the plot of the villain. Then, the final part of the movie went on, and on, and on… and it just kept going, and going, and going… and it never ended. The final quarter of the movie just dragged on, and even though there was so much promise going in, I was more than ready for the credits to roll by the time the movie was over.

This was the case of the 2018 Jacksonville Jaguars. Man, were things looking promising after the first quarter of the season. Blake Bortles was making Jason Mendoza proud. The defense was playing lights out. And, for the first time ever, the Jaguars defeated the Patriots in a regular season game. Jacksonville, once a laughingstock, was picking up right where they left off from last season, and was officially a forced to be reckoned with.

Then, the offensive line died, Blake Bortles forgot how to throw a football, a mid-season acquisition to get Carlos Hyde (and Jamaal Charles, the forgotten Jags legend) didn’t pan out, the season slowly but surely derailed into an unwatchable mess, and the final quarter of the season wanted to make me crawl into a hole and hope for Will Smith to appear in his MIB suit to erase my memory of this year ever existing.

With all of that being said, it’s time to take a look back at this 2018 season, which was a disappointment on so many levels. Before that, I want to send a shout out to /u/therealDoctorKay for allowing me to do this post, and a shout out to everyone who requested me to write this post for the Jaguars. Now, here’s an inside look at arguably the most disappointing season in franchise history.

Basic Statistics

Category Total Rank
Points For 245 31/32
Points Against 316 4/32
Passing TDs 15 30/32
Interceptions 13 18/32
Rushing TDs 7 30/32
Yards Per Carry 4.3 26/32
Passing TDs Allowed 17 2/32
Interceptions Forced 11 23/32
Rushing TDs Allowed 16 21/32
Yards Per Carry Allowed 4.3 14/32
Sacks 37 22/32
Turnovers Forced 17 22/32

Remember last season when Sacksonville was all the rage around the NFL? When you look at the passing touchdowns allowed, the Jaguars actually placed better in 2018 than they did in 2017, placing second this year after placing third in 2017. The Jaguars were also a top five defense in points allowed. A lot of what happened with the Jaguars defensively was just a natural regression, since the team faced Tom Savage, TJ Yates, Jacoby Brissett twice, Blaine Gabbert, and DeShone Kizer at various points in 2017. There wasn’t a quarterback nearly as bad that the Jaguars played this year. Make no mistake- the defense was still very good in 2018.

However, one thing that stands out on the defense is the turnovers forced and the sacks. The team was pretty below average in that department. There was still a pass rush in 2018; Yannick Ngakoue had 33 quarterback hits. But, again, when you’re not playing Tom Savage and Jacoby Brissett and not getting 10 sacks against those two quarterbacks, and when the Colts’ offensive line gets overhauled overnight, you’re not going to put up those kind of numbers on a consistent basis. The turnovers were a bit concerning, however; there were 10 games in 2018 where the Jaguars forced less than two turnovers. There was even a stretch in the beginning of the season where the Jaguars did not force a turnover in four out of five games.

At the end of the day, watching the offense in 2018 was like watching a 4-year old play piano for the first time and just smash the keys. You would hope that something tolerable would emerge, but in the end, nothing happened. Of the top eight teams in the league in points allowed, seven of them made the playoffs. The only exception was the Jaguars at 5-11, and that’s because their offense couldn’t do anything. There were seven games this season where the Jaguars had 15 first downs or less. The Jaguars were held scoreless in the first half in three consecutive games, and threw a passing touchdown in the first half in just one of their final 12 games. In the final 12 games, the Jaguars scored more than 18 points just twice, with one of those games being against the Buffalo Bills down 24-14 late in the fourth quarter getting a garbage time touchdown.

In a nutshell, the defense was still very good, even if they took a predictable step back. The offense was as painful as watching a chef on Kitchen Nightmares try and cook in front of Gordon Ramsay; you know it’s not going to end well.

Draft Picks

Round Pick
1 7
2 38
3 69
3 94
4 109
6 178
7 236

The first three picks are exactly the same as how the Jaguars got them. Their second third round pick came from the Los Angeles Rams in the Dante Fowler Jr. trade; the team also got a 2020 5th rounder in that deal. Jacksonville does not have a fifth round pick because of the Carlos Hyde trade with Cleveland, and does not have their original seventh round pick because of the Cody Kessler trade with Cleveland; however, they have a seventh round pick from the Ravens due to the Luke Bowanko trade made at the start of the 2017 season.

Will the Jaguars stay at #7? Dave Caldwell has not traded up or down in the first round since taking over as the general manager of the team in 2013. There’s no need to trade up from the #7 spot if the Jaguars don’t plan on taking a quarterback; there’s plenty of talent at positions that the Jaguars need help in, such as offensive line and tight end, that trading up wouldn’t make a whole lot of sense. However, the problem comes with the Giants in the #6 spot likely taking a quarterback. If the Jaguars want Dwayne Haskins in the first round, then they’ll likely have to leapfrog New York to get him. Keep in mind that the Jaguars would be ahead of the Giants if it wasn’t for Dallas, in a meaningless game, getting a fourth down conversion for a touchdown, and then going for two and getting that. Dallas winning that game was one of my most infuriating moments of the season for that exact reason.

As it stands, though, the Jaguars have four picks to work with inside the first three rounds of the draft. That hasn’t happened since the 2014 season, when the Jaguars got Blake Bortles, Marqise Lee, Allen Robinson, and Brandon Linder inside the first two days. Not too shabby of a haul (except for the glaring elephant in the room at QB).

Free Agents (Offense- Skill Positions)

For this section, I am only looking at unrestricted free agents. And, man are there a lot of them on the offensive side of the ball.

RB | Corey Grant

After his emergence in the first half of the AFC Championship (and then his sudden disappearance in the second half when offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett decided inexplicably to stop using him), a lot of people were wondering what Corey Grant would bring to the Jaguars in 2018. Would his role increase? Would he be a prominent change of pace halfback? The answer to that question was, unfortunately, a resounding no after he suffered a Lisfranc injury after the week five matchup against the Kansas City Chiefs.

He didn’t play the last 11 games of the season due to the injury, but when he was on the field for the first five weeks, he was ineffective. However, I’m not sure it was entirely his fault. It’s almost like how when some random defensive lineman checks into the game on offense as an eligible receiver; you know something’s about to go down and that he’s going to be the primary target. You’re not bringing JJ Watt into the game at tackle just for the sake of it; you’re doing it so that he can get the ball. This was the case with Corey Grant. Every time he stepped onto the field, due to the poor design of Hackett’s play calls, you knew he was getting the ball. It’s part of the reason why he only averaged 3.1 yards per carry this past season; everyone knew he was getting the ball. He’s a gadget player.

I wouldn’t mind having Grant back, simply because I doubt he’s going to command much of a market. When used properly, he can be really good, as we all saw in the AFC Championship against New England in the 2017 season. However, when not, he’s just another guy.

RB | TJ Yeldon

There’s no way Yeldon is coming back to Jacksonville. Not a chance in the world, considering the fact that Tom Coughlin publicly called him out for looking disinterested, the fact that he liked tweets about leaving Jacksonville over the past few months, and the fact that he’ll likely get #1 money from somewhere. Yeldon’s not a great runner by any stretch of the imagination; however, he’s a very good third down halfback that can be a weapon in the passing game when used properly (such as on plays like this one against the Jets earlier in the season and this play against Pittsburgh in the AFC Divisional Round). Just don’t expect him to blow you away with speed or athleticism running the ball. Receiving, though, he can be a threat, and will be a solid pickup for a team that needs a third down halfback.

FB | Tommy Bohanon

I’m not sure why Bohanon is currently a free agent and the Jaguars haven’t re-signed him yet, since he’s pretty good, was only making $790,000 last season, and since the Jaguars will definitely carry a fullback in 2019. Unless they’re that confident in Dimitri Flowers, who’s a bit younger and cheaper, then I’m not sure I get this move if Bohanon is not back in the black and teal in 2019. I will say that Flowers was my favorite fullback coming out of the draft in 2018, and I think he could be a good player; it’s just that Bohanon is cheap and is a proven thing. He’s the best fullback the Jaguars have had since Greg Jones, and there won’t be a bidding war for him.

WR | Donte Moncrief

Unlike a lot of Jags fans, I didn’t hate the Donte Moncrief contract when it came out. A one-year, prove-it deal for a 25-year old receiver who showed flashes of excellence in Indianapolis seemed like a good idea. If it worked out, then the team could re-sign him, and if not, then no harm done. The end result? A wildly inconsistent season that will likely result in him being with another team for 2019. He would have games where he’d bust out a big play, and then would disappear after that. There were five games this season where he had less than two receptions; for making $9 million, that’s not going to cut it. He only had 55+ receiving yards in four out of 16 games this season. To do that in just a quarter of the year isn’t going to cut it.

Now, he did have flashes of excellence with the Jaguars. Plays like this one against the Jets, this one against the Bills which led to a whole bunch of nonsense afterwards, and this one against the Colts showed his big-play potential. He was purely a big play guy, and in fairness, he had quite a few of those with the Jaguars. However, they only came about once every three games. In the other two games in that stretch, he would be invisible. Look for Moncrief to be somewhere else in 2019, as he’s a wildly inconsistent #3 wide receiver at best at this point. Following the Marqise Lee injury, it was clear that the Jaguars expected him to be their #1 or #2 guy, and he was never able to deliver.

WR | Rashad Greene


Now that all of that is out of the way… the fact that he was still on the roster in 2018 made no sense whatsoever. Over the past three seasons, the man has 11 receptions and 6 fumbles, including the game-sealing fumble against Indianapolis in the team’s week 10 matchup. He doesn’t hold onto the ball, he’s averaged a whopping 6.2 yards per reception over his career, you can’t trust him on punt returns because he’s muffed so many punts, and his attitude is poor, as evidenced by the time he called out the fans for booing him after he muffed a punt in a game. I never want to see him in a Jags uniform again. Thanks for the memories of 2015 when he returned a punt for a touchdown against Indianapolis and had a near punt return touchdown against Tennessee, but every time he’s been on the field in the past three years, I want to bang my head against a wall.

TE | James O’Shaughnessy

He’s a decent #2 tight end, who had a career-high 24 receptions for 214 yards in 2018. Not someone who’s going to set the world on fire by any means, and you can definitely do better with your second string tight end, but you can also do a heck of a lot worse. Considering the fact that the Jaguars have virtually nobody on the roster at tight end right now, signing him to a cheap one-year deal would be fine by me.

TE | Blake Bell

When the Jaguars placed Austin Seferian-Jenkins on injured reserve, they signed Blake Bell as an insurance option at tight end. He didn’t see a whole lot of playing time, and had 8 receptions for 67 yards on the season. Purely a filler option when other tight ends on the roster went down. He might make the 90-man roster, but I can’t see him making it past that.

Free Agents (Offensive Line & Defense)

The reason I’m combining the offensive line and defense into one category is because the Jaguars only have one unrestricted free agent on the defensive side of the ball, and that’s Tyler Patmon. Rather than dedicate a whole section to Patmon, I’m just going to throw him in with the offensive linemen.

T | Josh Wells

Oddly enough, when Cam Robinson went down, the offense didn’t sputter too much or lose a step. That was because Josh Wells was more than serviceable at left tackle. Wells had a pretty rough preseason, and has had some trouble staying healthy, so lots of people (including myself) were skeptical about him taking over at left tackle once Robinson’s injury occurred. However, he was quite good. As a backup, or even a low-end starter, he could be quite good with the Jaguars or with some other team. The problem is that he can’t stay healthy, as he’s been placed on IR in two of the past three seasons. What the Jaguars do with a decent tackle who can’t stay healthy, I’m not sure. Wouldn’t mind bringing him back, but amazingly enough, he’s not the free agent tackle I want to bring back most (because of the injury history). There’s someone else that should be a higher priority to re-sign at tackle.

T | Ereck Flowers

This is going to sound absolutely crazy to anyone who didn’t pay attention to the Jaguars closely in 2018, and it’s going to sound like I belong in an asylum to Giants fans, but… Flowers was surprisingly not bad with Jacksonville. He was serviceable as a tackle. In fact, at times (when practically all of our starters were hurt), he may have been our best offensive lineman. No, that is not a joke. As bad as he was in New York (and yes, he was bad; I remember the opening drive the Giants had against the Jaguars this past season and laughing at how bad Flowers was), something changed in Jacksonville. I have no idea what changed, but he was actually decent. PFF had him ranked as a top 50 tackle in football; considering the fact that there are 64 starting tackles, and considering the fact that he was thrown in there as depth after both Cam Robinson and Josh Wells got injured, that’s not bad. He had a few good games, and according to PFF at the end of the season, was a top 5 offensive tackle in the AFC South.

Don’t get me wrong- I don’t want him starting for the Jaguars in 2019 at all. Not a chance in the world do I want Flowers as the top option at either the left or the right side. Having said that, he was quality depth, and I would love to have him back as a backup tackle to Cam Robinson on the left side. He earned it after his surprisingly decent stint with the Jaguars. When the Jaguars signed Flowers, I was heavily against it, and was expecting his play to be the equivalent of just stacking three cardboard boxes on top of each other and putting that at left tackle. Instead, he proved everyone wrong.

T | Corey Robinson

If you want to see a tackle who stunk… Corey Robinson is a prime example of that. He started the season finale against the Texans and just got bullied on the right side all game long. In fairness to Robinson, going up against JJ Watt is not an easy task, but it was far too easy for the Texans to get into the backfield that game. Don’t expect him back in Jacksonville in 2019, because he was pretty bad.

G | Tyler Shatley

He wasn’t awful, I guess. PFF had him ranked as the 26th best center in football, and since he’s a backup (since he only started getting reps once guys like Andrew Norwell and Brandon Linder started going down), you could do worse. Wouldn’t mind bringing him back on a one-year deal from a depth standpoint. He had some decent games, and he had some really bad games, but a small, one-year deal to fight for a spot on the 53-man roster wouldn’t be the worst thing in the world.

G | AJ Cann

Throughout his four years in Jacksonville, the former third round pick has been quite underwhelming as the team’s starting right guard. He’s been pretty bang average, if not a notch below average, and hasn’t improved a lot from 2015 to 2018. During 2017, he was the clear weak link on the offensive line, and while that wasn’t the case in 2018, it was more because there were other weak links than because he improved his play. He’ll get money somewhere from a team in desperate need of offensive line help, but he probably won’t be back in Jacksonville.

G | Patrick Omameh

After the Jaguars let Omameh walk in free agency last season to the Giants, the Giants decided to cut him following some poor performances. Then, the Jaguars brought him back following a rash of injuries on the offensive line, as he started the final five games of the season. He didn’t do a whole lot, and was worse than he was in 2017. I could see the Jaguars bringing him back in 2019 on a one-year, cheap deal, since he won’t command a lot of money on the open market like he did last year. However, his battle to make a 53-man roster anywhere in the league will likely be an uphill climb at this point.

CB | Tyler Patmon

Amazingly enough, this is the only defensive free agent that the Jaguars have. While he provides some good depth and has had his fair share of great moments in the preseason, the Jaguars don’t really need him. With their top three options of Ramsey, Bouye, and Hayden, plus Quenton Meeks probably getting an increase in playing time in 2019 following some impressive outings in 2018, I’m not sure where Patmon would fit into the equation. He could probably start in a few CB thin places or fight for playing time; especially if the Jaguars draft a cornerback like I think they will, I’m not sure the Jaguars bring Patmon back since he’ll be fighting to make the 46-man active roster on a weekly basis.

Weekly Game Recaps

Usually, I go very in-depth with this section and the game summaries. Last year, I spoke for pages and pages about some of the games, especially since the team was in the AFC Championship. However, this year, this section is going to be on the shorter side, partly due to time constraints and partly because there’s only so many times you can say that the offense struggled and Bortles or Kessler can’t throw a football before you become The Simpsons and just run out of ideas. There will still be highlights from each of these games, though, if you’re interested in reliving the highlights and 20,000 lowlights of 2018. Let’s just say I highly encourage you to watch the highlights.

Some of the problems with this team became very clear in this game. The team was highly undisciplined, committing 11 penalties for 119 yards. With the exception of a Saquon Barkley touchdown, the Giants only seemed to score on drives where the Jaguars committed a stupid penalty. Despite the offense not doing much of anything, a muffed punt late by Kaelin Clay sealed the deal for the Jaguars. A nervy way to start the season, but it was just the second time since 2012 that the team started 1-0.

This was the game that everyone thought the Jaguars were for real. It was the team’s first ever victory against the Patriots in the regular season. Blake Bortles played the best game of his career, throwing for 376 yards and 4 touchdowns. The offensive line kept Bortles clean, as he was never sacked. The team went 10-for-14 on third down. Even though the Patriots made a late surge, a strip sack by Dante Fowler seemed to seal the deal for the Jaguars. It was the team’s first 2-0 start since 2006, and at this point, many pundits had the Jags as the best team in football. And who could blame them?

The most boring game I’ve ever seen in my life. Unless you like a game where five field goals are scored and neither team comes even close to sniffing the end zone, then this is a game you can skip. The moment I knew the Jaguars were going to lose this game was when Blaine Gabbert got hurt and when Marcus Mariota came in. Didn’t even care that he was playing with one hand; a one-handed Mariota is Steve Young compared to Blaine Gabbert.

What a weird game in the sense that the Jaguars played relatively terrible, and yet, won by 19 points. Bortles had a great game, going 29-for-38 with 2 touchdowns; however, the team turned it over three times and committed 9 penalties. The game was never in doubt, as Jacksonville scored on each of its first four drives in the first half. A 3-1 start after four games was the dream scenario at the start of the season, and sure enough, that’s what happened. It was not meant to be.

When this happens to your starting QB, you know it’s not your day. I’m not going to say the defense played well this game at all, but holding Patrick Mahomes to no touchdowns, two interceptions, and a 62.7 passer rating is pretty good. Unfortunately, when you turn the ball over five times (Bortles had four interceptions), don’t score until midway through the third quarter, and throw a pick six on a screen pass, you’re not going to win many games.

On the team’s first six drives, the Jaguars had a not-so-nice 69 yards. Dallas scored on each of their first four drives. I would probably need four hands to count how many tackles the defense missed in this game. The Jaguars had two first downs in the first half and no points. The Jaguars had the ball for 21:10. From start to finish, this game was an absolute wreck. This was the moment where fans started to get concerned about the train derailing; while not too many people were concerned after the Chiefs game (the Chiefs were a great team, and playing at Arrowhead was always going to be a tall task), concerns grew exponentially after two consecutive stinkers.

How about three straight games without a point in the first half? Because that’s exactly what happened here. After Houston jumped out to a 20-0 lead, Doug Marrone benched Blake Bortles for Cody Kessler, who seemed to provide some sort of spark, as he led a touchdown drive immediately after. If it wasn’t for a dropped pass by TJ Yeldon that led to an interception, maybe the Jaguars win this game (the defense played exceptionally well once Bortles got benched). Instead, it marked the team’s third straight loss, and a return to below .500. All too familiar territory.

Despite the benching of Blake Bortles in week seven, he would return in week eight. To his credit, he looked decent. Didn’t set the world on fire or anything like that, going 24-for-41 with 286 yards and a touchdown, but he put the team in a position to win. Unfortunately, miscue after miscue derailed Jacksonville in this one. A dropped pass by DJ Chark in the end zone midway through the fourth quarter could’ve put the Jaguars within a field goal of winning; instead, they trailed 24-18 with five minutes left. With the Jaguars facing a 2nd and 2 situation, they inexplicably decide to pass three times, despite having just acquired Carlos Hyde and despite having Blake Bortles at quarterback. Unsurprisingly, this doesn’t work, and the Jaguars lose the game heading into their bye week.

The defense allowed 29 points in the first half and none in the second half. It was as though a switch flipped. Bortles had another good game, throwing for 320 yards and 2 touchdowns. With the Jaguars down by three points late and driving, Bortles threw a slant pass on third down to Rashad Greene to put the Jaguars in field goal range. However, Greene, being the useless player that he is, fumbled. The ball was recovered by the Colts in highly questionable fashion (I thought Greene’s knee was down when he fumbled, but still, you can’t cough the ball up in that spot), and that ended the game. Five straight losses.

The Jaguars blew a 16-0 lead in the third quarter. The Jaguars led 16-6 with under 2 ½ minutes left and lost in regulation. Maybe the most painful loss I’ve been at, with only the 2009 Thursday Night Football game between the Jaguars and Colts being in the same stratosphere. Every time Bortles dropped back to pass, the play would result in no gain or a sack. If you think I’m kidding, the Jaguars had -7 yards of offense in the fourth quarter. Negative seven yards. What a disaster.

Did someone say seven straight losses? With the Jaguars scoring 14 straight unanswered points and driving, a fight broke out which led to Leonard Fournette, the only good thing about the Jags offense up until that point (he had 95 yards and 2 touchdowns), getting ejected. Jacksonville did not score on that drive, momentum went straight back to Buffalo, and the Bills ended up winning to all but kill Jacksonville’s playoff hopes.

At least the Jaguars finally won a game. With Cody Kessler in at quarterback instead of Blake Bortles, it didn’t make too much of a difference, other than the fact that Kessler didn’t make any stupid mistakes and turn the ball over. Two field goals were the difference as the Colts couldn’t get anything going. They went 0-for-3 on third down, turned it over twice, and got nothing going on the ground, averaging just over 2.5 yards per carry (Marlon Mack led the team with 27 yards). If you’re wondering how you can win a game in today’s NFL with 211 yards of offense, that’s how.

Derrick Henry’s 99-yard run was a facemask. That is all.

Jacksonville likely wins this game if it wasn’t for this fluke catch by Jamison Crowder. However, the real story of this game is the fact that Josh Johnson led a game-winning drive on the Jaguars in what was his first start since the 2011 season over seven years prior. Also, Jacksonville had 20 net passing yards. This was another really boring game to get through, with the boredom factor increasing tenfold when over half of Jacksonville’s drives ended in punts, and when the game meant nothing for the Jaguars anyways, as their week 14 loss to Tennessee eliminated them from postseason contention.

Cody Kessler got benched and Blake Bortles led the go-ahead drive in the fourth quarter. The defense also balled out, holding Miami to just 183 total yards (78 of which came on the first drive; after the first drive, the Dolphins did not score, and had just 103 yards of offense), and recording a pick six at the hands of Telvin Smith. Other highlights from this game included a missed kick off of a guy’s butt, and the Jaguars punting on 4th and 46 after starting in the red zone. It was that kind of season.

Blake Bortles got the start against the Texans. One problem- Blake Bortles is not good against the Texans. The team had six first downs and 119 yards of total offense, with the lone field goal coming on a drive that started inside Houston’s 10-yard line. Mercifully, the season came to an end after this game, and my long nightmare was over.

New Additions: Free Agency & Trades (Offense)

WR | Donte Moncrief

Already spoke about him in the current free agents section, since his contract was a one-year deal. In a nutshell, he was wildly inconsistent.

TE | Niles Paul

Paul’s hands are made of stone. Every pass thrown his way, whether it was in the regular season or the preseason, was dropped. He was supposed to make an impact on special teams, but after a knee injury placed him on injured reserve midway through the year, he was released before the season ended, so it’s safe to say that this impact never occurred.

TE | Austin Seferian-Jenkins

His stint with the Jaguars was disappointing, and he is now on the free agency market because of it. Part of it was due to injuries, and part of it was just a lack of production in general; he only had 90 receiving yards on the season before being placed on injured reserve after week five. There was not one game where he had more than 25 yards receiving. I never expected him to be a good blocking option, but at the very least, I expected him to make some impact in the passing game with his hands. That never really happened. While I wouldn’t mind to bring him back on a cheaper contract, this was a free agency move that did not pan out.

G | Andrew Norwell

Was Norwell a top five guard in football in 2018 like he was with the Panthers in 2017? Absolutely not. However, before he wound up on injured reserve, he was still a good player. It didn’t help that there was a new left tackle playing alongside him every week, after Cam Robinson and Josh Wells went down; once Josh Walker came in at left tackle, it was game over for everyone. We’ll know more about whether he can live up to his contract in 2019 once he returns from injury and actually has some stability on the offensive line around him.

RB | Carlos Hyde

Trading away a fifth round pick for Carlos Hyde was not a bad idea. At the time of the trade, the Jaguars were still in contention, and Leonard Fournette was hurt, with Corey Grant also winding up on injured reserve. The puzzling part was not using him. Running him six times against Philadelphia when you have a 2nd and 2 situation late in the game and just need a first down and not calling his number once is inexcusable. The fact that he never scored a rushing touchdown with the Jaguars is bizarre. While he wasn’t great with the Jaguars by any means (he only averaged 3.26 yards per carry), the fact that Hackett refused to use him initially was just odd. Why trade a pick for a guy if he’s only going to carry the ball 58 times in the final nine games of the season?

RB | Jamaal Charles

After a halfway decent season in Denver in 2017 as a rotational option, where he averaged 4.3 yards per carry, many people wondered whether or not Charles would provide a spark to a sputtering Jags offense if he could stay healthy. In two games played, he ran the ball six times for seven yards. Jamaal, we hardly knew thee. And thus ends a career cut way too short by injuries.

QB | Cody Kessler

A seventh round pick for Kessler isn’t a bad trade. He had a great preseason and for a brief moment, looked like a better option than Blake Bortles. But, while he didn’t make too many mistakes with turnovers, his pocket presence was poor. He was a statue back there, and it’s no wonder why the number of sacks allowed skyrocketed when Kessler was back there compared to Bortles. Kessler never looked more than five yards down the field, and checked down almost everything. Kessler is under contract for the 2019 season, but look for the Jaguars to try and move him, even if it’s for a conditional seventh. I don’t see him on the team when September rolls around.

New Additions: Free Agency (Defense & Special Teams)

CB | DJ Hayden

This free agent signing stunned me. Last year, I said that this was the signing that I was most skeptical about, especially since Aaron Colvin played well at the slot cornerback position, and Hayden’s career prior to joining the Jaguars was less than ideal. To sign him for $19 million was a huge risk, and I didn’t think it would pan out. However, to my surprise, he was really good. In fact, when healthy, he might have been better than Aaron Colvin at that spot. I wasn’t the only one who thought so; if you’re going by PFF grades, Hayden was a top-25 cornerback in 2018. Honestly, I can believe that. He was the team’s best free agent signing by a country mile, and even though that may not be saying a whole lot, as this year’s crop of free agents was a significant downgrade from the 2016 and 2017 classes, he still played the part. Combined with the fact that Aaron Colvin, the man they let go to Houston, got benched by the Texans late in the season and didn’t even play in the playoff game against Indianapolis, and the Jaguars definitely made the right decision with their slot cornerback.

DB | Don Carey

The Jaguars brought him back after his awful stint with the team from 2009-10, during the time when the team’s defense was made of Swiss cheese. However, this time, it was specifically for special teams, as he became somewhat of a special teams ace with the Lions over the past few seasons. That never happened; he was released before the season even started, and when he was on the field at cornerback in the preseason, he did not look good. Some reunions end up working out, like the new Jonas Brothers reunion. Some of them don’t, like the last Jonas Brothers reunion. This was one of those reunions that didn’t.

DB | Cody Davis

The team exercised his option to return for 2019. He didn’t do much of anything in the passing game or on special teams, so it wouldn’t shock me if he’s not on the 53-man roster when September rolls around.

New Additions: Draft

Taven Bryan (R1, P29, DT, Florida): This was a pick that was made specifically for the future. Bryan was never expected to do much of anything in 2018 with Malik Jackson, Marcell Dareus, and Abry Jones also at defensive tackle. However, it was always going to be expensive to keep Dareus and Jackson; this move was made for the inevitable cutting of one of those players (which happened to be Malik Jackson). Bryan didn’t get a whole lot of playing time in 2018 because of that, but with the cutting of Malik Jackson, he should be on the field in 2019 in a starting role at the 3-tech spot.

To give you an idea of what Bryan did in the 3-tech spot as a rookie, here’s a really good tweet about his pressures forced at that position. That percentage was very similar to that of Malik Jackson, and Jackson turned out to be near the top of the league in pressures forced by a defensive tackle. It took him a while to find his stride, but at the 3-tech spot late in the season, he had a few nice plays. Look for him to make the jump in 2019.

DJ Chark (R2, P61, WR, LSU): Chark’s first season in Jacksonville was an incredibly mixed bag. On one hand, the man had 14 receptions with no touchdowns and a catch percentage of 43.8%, with quite a few of those being drops. With the exception of this play against the Chiefs, I don’t recall off the top of my head a single positive thing that Chark did as a receiver. So from that perspective, he was very disappointing.

On the other hand, Chark was a beast on special teams as a gunner. I’ve never seen a better gunner play for the Jaguars than Chark played in 2018. He never missed a tackle, he constantly got down the field, and up until he was missing most of the second half of the season with a quadriceps injury, he was making an impact on special teams. Chark has a lot of value in that department; however, spending a second round pick on a gunner is something that was not the idea. Hopefully for the Jaguars, he can make an impact as a receiver in 2019, though I’m not sure that will happen.

Ronnie Harrison (R3, P93, S, Alabama): On the surface, this pick wasn’t supposed to matter in 2018. The idea was that Barry Church would play at strong safety with Harrison being the backup, only coming in a handful of times, and then Harrison would take over in 2019 when Church becomes a cap cut. Instead, Barry Church forgot how to play football this year, so he was cut, and Harrison was forced into action. If you remember what I wrote about Harrison, I was very against this pick; he took poor angles, missed tackles, and reminded me a lot of Johnathan Cyprien, which is not a good thing. Basically, every time I saw him in college, he was missing a tackle. Safe to say, I had my doubts.

However, to my surprise, he was actually pretty good. In what seemed to be the theme for the Jaguars in 2018, he ended up on IR, but he played surprisingly well in the second half of the season after taking over for Church. I’m still not fully confident in him yet, since he still missed some tackles (he whiffed big time on this Saquon Barkley touchdown in the #36 jersey), but he did his job in pass coverage, even picking off Marcus Mariota in one of the two highlights from that game from a Jags perspective. Excited to see how he gets better in 2019.

Will Richardson (R4, P129, OT, NC State): Again, this was a pick for the future, as he was always pegged to take over Jermey Parnell’s spot at right tackle once Parnell got cut (which happened just a few days ago, as he was not the same player that he once was; Father Time caught up to him this year). Unfortunately, he too was placed on IR, and never actually played a snap in 2018. During the preseason, I don’t remember him doing a whole lot positive or negative; it’s too early to tell on him, as we’ll know more about him when he’s likely thrust into the starting spot in 2019.

Tanner Lee (R6, P203, QB, Nebraska): After the Jaguars decided to pick Tanner Lee despite every metric and stat telling them not to do so, I wrote 4,500 words about why the pick stunk. Then, he had his first practice. It stunk. Then, he had his first game. It stunk. To nobody’s surprise, he didn’t make the 53-man roster, and just sat on the practice squad all season.

In fairness to Tanner Lee, the fourth preseason game against Tampa Bay wasn’t terrible. Maybe it’s because my expectations were so low or maybe it’s because I was split-screening the game with the double eviction night on Big Brother (why CBS has a double eviction on a football night when no affiliate is going to even be able to show the show on time because football will pre-empt it, I have no idea; however, BB20 was the most fun I’ve had watching Big Brother since I started watching the show in BB16), but he didn’t look totally lost in that game. He still wasn’t good, but he didn’t make me want to get water-boarded while hearing “Baby Shark” on a loop like he did in the first preseason game. Either way, this was a waste of a pick.

Leon Jacobs (R7, P230, LB, Wisconsin): What a shocker- another Jaguars draft pick that ended up on IR. As for his ability on the field, the fact that he was starting on a great defense as a rookie seventh round pick was a very good sign. I don’t remember him doing anything egregiously bad or good, so take that for what it’s worth. Perfectly serviceable, which for a seventh round pick, is amazing. For what it’s worth, PFF had him rated as an above average linebacker in the reps that he got, which seems about right.

Logan Cooke (R7, P247, P, Mississippi State): Cooke had a rough preseason and a rough start to the season. I did not agree with the decision whatsoever to only carry one punter and to not even have a competition on the 90-man roster. He would have a great punt, and would follow it up with shanks left and right. By the end of the season, though, he was solid as a rock. He never outkicked his coverage; returners averaged just 5 yards per return on him, which was the second best total in the NFL, only behind Rigoberto Sanchez on the Colts with 4.4 yards per return. He had 37 punts inside the 20-yard line, which was the third best total in the NFL behind Tress Way of Washington (41) and Brett Kern of Tennessee (39). And, he only cost a seventh round pick, instead of a third round pick like the last GM idiotically decided to do. All things considered, he had a very good rookie season, and was significantly better in 2018 than Brad Nortman was in 2017. Despite a shaky start, he recovered nicely, and should be the punter of the Jaguars for years to come.

The main theme with the Jaguars in the 2018 draft was a look to the future. With the exception of Logan Cooke, there wasn’t any draft pick that was selected with the main intention of being used significantly in 2018. It was a look to 2019 and beyond once the cap cuts started coming in, and once players started getting up there in age and declining. The jury is still out on this draft class, because very few players saw significant playing time for the majority of the season.

Coaching Staff/Front Office Changes

Last year, there were no coaching or front office changes to report on whatsoever. This year, there’s quite a lot. While no changes were made in the front office (everything, from the general manager to the director of player development and youth football, is exactly the same), there were a few changes made with some of the positional coaches. Let’s take a look at these changes.

Offensive Coordinator- John DeFilippo

Nathaniel Hackett is finally gone. His boring and predictable run-run-pass offense is hopefully never to be seen again in Jacksonville. After Scott Milanovich took over as the offensive coordinator following Hackett’s firing midseason after the Buffalo game, the Jaguars looked to DeFilippo as their permanent offensive coordinator. Most fans wanted former Seahawks offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell as the top guy, although the team inexplicably interviewed Mike McCoy for the position.

However, DeFilippo doesn’t seem like a horrible choice on the surface, even though his stint in Minnesota left a lot to be desired. The biggest wild card in this is what the Jaguars decide to do at quarterback. If the Jaguars get Nick Foles, as has been rumored, then hiring DeFilippo makes a heck of a lot of sense. DeFilippo was the quarterbacks coach with the Eagles in 2016 and 2017, and Nick Foles was with the Eagles in 2017 when he won Super Bowl LII and had a miraculous postseason run. Whether his third stint as offensive coordinator will be the charm remains to be seen (he was the offensive coordinator of the Browns in 2015, which produced less than ideal results); however, the move makes more sense if Foles comes to Jacksonville.

RBs Coach- Terry Robiskie

After the mess that was the halfbacks room in 2018, Tyrone Wheatley had to go. There was no way around it. But hiring Terry Robiskie as the replacement seems… rather odd. His stint with the Titans as their offensive coordinator was terrible (exotic smash-mouth was the most boring offense in football and didn’t work), and he hasn’t been a running backs coach since he was an assistant running backs coach with the Los Angeles Raiders in 1987. Yes, Robiskie was a halfback in college and in the NFL, but I’m very skeptical of a guy who hasn’t coached halfbacks in over three decades and didn’t do a whole lot with his latest two stints in Tennessee and Buffalo as their wide receivers coach.

OL Coach- George Warhop

I’m not sure that the Jaguars needed to let go of Pat Flaherty as the offensive line coach. He got screwed with injuries when the entire team seemed to get injured, and he did a pretty good job in 2017, seeing as Bortles barely got touched in the final two months of the season. In his place comes George Warhop, the man in charge of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ offensive line since 2014. Tampa Bay was 30th in the NFL in yards per carry in 2018 (3.9 yards per carry), and Bucs QBs were sacked 41 times this season (if you combined Jameis Winston’s and Ryan Fitzpatrick’s sack totals, it would rank inside the top 10 of the NFL in total sacks), so consider me skeptical of this move, especially since the Jaguars let go of a coach that didn’t seem to need to go in the first place.

DL Coach- Jason Rebrovich

Rebrovich was always on the staff, but he’s getting promoted from the assistant defensive line coach to the defensive line coach. Why Marion Hobby was fired, I’m not sure. The defensive line performed exceptionally well in 2017 (you don’t get the moniker “Sacksonville” out of thin air), and played well in 2018 as well. The only thing that would make sense for Hobby to be let go is if defensive coordinator Todd Wash was taking control of the defensive line as the season went on, as was reported by a few people. At least they’re keeping it in house, I guess?

DBs Coach- Tim Walton

Letting go of Perry Fewell is a move that I can understand. Everyone in the secondary took a bit of a step back this season, especially Barry Church and AJ Bouye. However, hiring Tim Walton to replace Fewell doesn’t inspire a whole lot of confidence. The Giants had the sixth worst pass defense in the NFL last season in yards per attempt, and Walton’s been with the Giants for the past four seasons, including the 2017 season when they also had the sixth worst pass defense in the league in yards per attempt.

Senior Defensive Assistant- Dom Capers

Considering that the Jaguars have a defensive coordinator and a defensive assistant, an assistant linebackers coach, and multiple secondary coaches, I’m not quite sure what Dom Capers is going to do. The more the merrier. Capers returns to Jacksonville after serving as the team’s defensive coordinator in 1999 and 2000, which was also under Tom Coughlin. It might be like when the Jaguars hired Monte Kiffin as a defensive assistant in 2016, but nobody quite knew what he did.

Free Agency/Draft Concerns- Offense

The needs for the Jaguars are a heck of a lot different this year compared to just 12 months ago. Last year, I said that the Jaguars don’t really need to find a whole lot of starters in the offseason, and just get some depth pieces instead. This year, it’s completely different. There are positions in desperate need of filling at the top of the depth chart. There are positions that fell off of a cliff in 2018 and need saving in 2019. So, with that being said, here’s everything the Jaguars need to do position-wise in 2019, because it’s a heck of a lot, especially on the offensive side of the ball.

QB: Humans need to be able to breathe in order to live. Plants need water and sunlight in order to live. The same holds true with the Jaguars. They need a quarterback like humans need oxygen. How dire is their QB situation? In the final 12 weeks of the season, the Jaguars threw one passing touchdown in the first half. I kid you not- whether it was Blake Bortles or Cody Kessler, the Jaguars were allergic to passing touchdowns once we hit the month of October. So yeah… they need a quarterback, and there’s no way that the status quo is kept the same heading into 2019.

What they do at quarterback, though, is a completely different story. Do they go for a guy like Nick Foles who can help the team win games now? Do they sign a stopgap option like Tannehill or Bridgewater and draft a rookie quarterback? If they draft a rookie quarterback, do they stay put, try and trade up for Haskins, or do they take a chance on a second or third round guy? I don’t know what the Jaguars decide to do at quarterback (I’m on board the Foles train at the right price, since it looks like the Jaguars would be the only team bidding for his services after what Denver and Washington did with their acquisitions of Joe Flacco and Case Keenum, respectively), but I know that they will be getting a quarterback. Priority: Very High Higher Than Snoop Dogg

HB: Remember when this was a position of strength for Jacksonville? Those days are long, long gone. Leonard Fournette is still really food when he’s healthy, but he seems to be made of glass. TJ Yeldon is likely gone. Corey Grant is a free agent and I don’t know what the Jaguars do with him. Carlos Hyde is gone after a disappointing half season. As it stands, the Jaguars have two halfbacks on their active roster. One of them is David Williams, who actually looked pretty good against Washington in week 15 and is a guy that I wouldn’t mind as depth on the 53-man roster. The other is Leonard Fournette, who’s only healthy about 50% of the time.

In all likelihood, the Jaguars will draft a halfback early, choosing someone between rounds 2 and 4 of the draft. Whether they go after a free agent halfback, I’m not sure, since Caldwell has had a really poor track record with free agent halfbacks (he whiffed on Toby Gerhart, and whiffed on Chris Ivory), but the Jaguars will definitely need to get a #2 halfback. Re-signing Corey Grant, drafting a guy in day two, and having a healthy Leonard Fournette leading the way could be a decent halfback rotation. Especially if the Jaguars are going to continue their run-first philosophy (which depends on what the quarterback situation is), then this position is going to need some reinforcements. Priority: High

FB: Don’t expect the Jaguars to change anything at fullback and add someone currently not on the roster. Either they re-sign Tommy Bohanon, or they’ll roll with Dimitri Flowers (who I happened to really like coming out of the draft). I’m hoping that they re-sign Bohanon at the right price (what bidding war will ensue over a fullback in today’s NFL, I don’t know), but either way, they seem to be set with who they’ve got. Priority: Low

WR: This is the position that is the most up in the air. Jacksonville could go either way with this. As it stands, there’s only one proven, quality receiver on the roster, and that’s Dede Westbrook. Of the other three receivers currently on the team, they’ve all got major question marks. Marqise Lee can’t stay healthy and has some issues catching the ball (he maybe singlehandedly lost the Jets game in 2017, helped to lose the Cardinals game in 2017, and should’ve lost the Chargers game that same year as well before the Jaguars inexplicably won that), Keelan Cole had a great 2017 and had the best catch of the year in 2018 before falling off of a cliff, and DJ Chark didn’t show anything notable from a receiving standpoint.

In the hypothetical scenario that Lee stays healthy, Chark lives up to his potential, and Cole rebounds from a poor 2018 (as Caldwell seems to believe he can rebound, then this is not a position of need at all. However, if Lee can’t stay healthy, Chark disappoints, and Cole is just a one-year wonder, then the Jaguars are completely screwed at this position. Personally, I feel as though the Jaguars will take a middle-ground approach to this position in 2019, signing a free agent like Golden Tate or drafting someone early on. Outside of Westbrook, this is a position filled with a lot of potential, but a lot of question marks. Priority: Medium

TE: Excluding the very obvious elephant in the room at quarterback, this is the team’s biggest need in 2019. There is currently one tight end on the Jaguars right now, and that’s Ben Koyack, who did not have a reception in 2018. That tells you everything you need to know. The Jaguars will address this position in 2019, likely through what looks like a stacked draft class and possibly bringing back Austin Seferian-Jenkins on a cheaper contract (Dave Caldwell mentioned that possibility a few weeks ago). Maybe the Jaguars even bring back Marcedes Lewis where he rightfully belongs. No matter what they do, there will be some new blood on the Jaguars in 2019, and it would not surprise me one bit if every single tight end on the Jaguars in 2019 was nowhere near Jacksonville in 2018. Priority: Very High

OT: This depends on what the Jaguars do with their current free agents and how much trust they have in Will Richardson, their fourth round pick from last year who spent practically the entire season on injured reserve. If the Jaguars are confident in Richardson and re-sign Josh Wells and Ereck Flowers, then combined with Cam Robinson coming back from injury, the team has four quality tackles and doesn’t need to pick anyone; maybe they need a high priority UDFA for some competition or in case there’s an injury, but this isn’t a position of need. If the Jaguars let Wells and Flowers walk, and they don’t feel like Richardson is ready yet, then this becomes a major priority, and this is where something like taking Jawaan Taylor (as is the case in quite a few mock drafts right now) would make a lot of sense. I’ll give it a medium priority for now, but that could go lower or higher depending on what happens in the coming days. Priority: Medium

OG: Outside of Andrew Norwell, the Jaguars are in some trouble at guard. They have no depth, and no quality right guard option, even if they bring back AJ Cann for depth (which they likely won’t, because some team will offer him an inexplicably high contract). I would not be opposed if the Jaguars took multiple guards in the draft. How much they spend in free agency on a guard is probably on the lower end, since they’ve already got a lot of money tied up into Andrew Norwell’s contract; however, make no mistake, as this position will be upgraded in 2019, whether it is with a veteran free agent or with a rookie. Priority: High

C: This might be the one position on the Jaguars’ offense that they are fine at right now. Brandon Linder is really good when healthy, and when he signed his contract extension, became the highest paid center in NFL history. Some depth at the position would be good to have, but in terms of starters, this is a non-issue. Priority: Low

Free Agency/Draft Concerns- Defense & Special Teams

DE: As it stands, the Jaguars have four defensive ends on their roster. Yannick Ngakoue somehow improved in 2018, as he picked up 33 quarterback hits (up from 23 in 2017). For some perspective, that’s over a QB hit per half; Von Miller and Khalil Mack have never had 33 quarterback hits in a season. Calais Campbell was also a beast in 2018. However, there are some problems to consider. The depth behind those two players is less than ideal; Dawaune Smoot is ineffective, and Lyndon Johnson is the other defensive end (UDFA out of Cincinnati who didn’t see the field a lot this season). Plus, Calais Campbell is getting up there in age; he’s going to be 33 years old when the season start. While defensive end might not be a big need now, it could be a big need in 2019. At the very least, they need a quality depth option, even if it comes in the draft. Priority: Medium

DT: Complete non-issue for the Jaguars. Marcell Dareus restructured his contract and is coming back into the black and teal, Taven Bryan was the team’s first round pick last year and will take over for Malik Jackson, and Abry Jones is still a solid option against the run. If any help is coming on the defensive line in 2018, it’s going to be on the outside. It won’t be with the interior defenders. Priority: Low

LB: Even though Telvin Smith had a down year in 2018, a 3-linebacker set of Smith, Jack, and Jacobs is pretty good. Combined with the depth that Donald Payne and Lerentee McCray bring to the table, especially on special teams, the speed of Blair Brown, and the surprising play of Nick DeLuca at the end of the season (if he makes the jump, I could even see him competing with Jacobs for a starting spot), and this is a non-issue in 2019. Priority: Low

CB: Jalen Ramsey is amazing. DJ Hayden was exceptional as the team’s slot cornerback. AJ Bouye declined, but is still a decent cornerback (even if he is a bit overpaid right now and could be a cap cut come the start of the 2020 season). And, Quenton Meeks had his moments in the limited reps that he received (he had a very solid game against Philadelphia with two pass breakups). This could be an issue in 2020 if the team decides to cut Bouye (since I’m not sure how much money the Jaguars want to have tied up to the position once they inevitably make Ramsey the highest paid cornerback in football), but for 2019, this position is set. They could draft for the future to replace Bouye, much like they did in 2018 with right tackle, defensive tackle, and safety. Priority: Low

S: As things stand, following the cut of Tashaun Gipson, it looks like the Jaguars will roll with Jarrod Wilson and Ronnie Harrison at safety. I already talked about Harrison and his surprisingly good play as the season progressed, but can the Jaguars play with Wilson at free safety in 2019? While I’m not crazy about cutting Gipson, as he was still a good player, Wilson is significantly cheaper and has been quality depth for the Jaguars. This is a good tweet showing how good Wilson has been in pass coverage when called upon. A little depth at the position is necessary, as the only other safety on the roster right now is Cody Davis (even if we’re counting CJ Reavis as a safety instead of a cornerback, he was still very bad for Jacksonville last season), but when it comes to the starters, they should be fine at this spot. A day three draft pick should be expected, though. Priority: Medium

ST: Josh Lambo was great as the team’s kicker. Logan Cooke came along strong as the team’s punter to end the season. And Matt Overton, the new long snapper after the team’s releasing of Carson Tinker, is a very good long snapper who played well in the past two seasons when called upon after injuries. This team has a lot of holes, but there are none to be found with regards to special teams.

Everything Else That’s Happened So Far

This is everything else that’s happened with the Jaguars over the past two months that didn’t fit elsewhere in the post. Keep in mind that the team has not had its State of the Franchise address yet, so this one’s going to be on the shorter side of things:

Final Thoughts

After a very disappointing 2018 season, the question remains in 2019- was the 2017 season a fluke? Was that miraculous run to the AFC Championship and a near-Super Bowl appearance a one-hit wonder, or does this team have something left in the tank? The answer is going to depend on a few things. Number one, the quarterback situation is too important for the Jaguars this offseason. If the Jaguars can get a quarterback, they immediately become postseason contenders with that defense. Number two, after a disappointing 2018 offseason where only DJ Hayden made a difference in free agency, can the Jaguars get things right with the limited cap room available (even more limited if Foles takes up a big portion of it, assuming he signs with the Jaguars)? And, number three, will the guys that were drafted in 2018 to be the future step up in their new starting roles?

The Jaguars could be back to being good, or they could be back in the basement like they have been for most of the past decade. It’s an unpredictable team right now. To end on a movie reference, hopefully the 2019 season is Cars 3. If 2017 was the first movie and 2018 was the second movie, then let’s hope that 2019 can be a great, fun movie that completely ignores everything that happened in the prior movie. Fingers crossed.