From a 3-13 mark in 2017 to a win away from Super Bowl LII. What questions do the Jacksonville Jaguars need to answer to be better this season?
They were a major surprise in 2017. In recent years, the Jacksonville Jaguars had been stockpiling talent thanks mainly to a poor win-loss record which resulted in high draft choices. The team was also extremely active in the free agency market.
All of that money and all those top picks finally paid off this past season when the club finished 10-6 and won a division title for the first time since 1999. It was quite a turnaround for a club that had won only three games the previous year. And despite closing the year with two straight losses, Doug Marrone’s team proved its mettle late in the season. The club prevailed in its postseason tilts with the Buffalo Bills and Pittsburgh Steelers and owned a fourth-quarter lead at Foxborough over the defending Super Bowl champion New England Patriots.
It wasn’t meant to be as Tom Brady rallied his team to a 24-20 win. So can Marrone and company build on what they accomplished this past year? And what five key questions need to be answered at the Jaguars are to be a better team this fall?
5. Can RB Leonard Fournette be a bigger factor in 2018?
The fourth overall pick in the NFL Draft finished eighth in the NFL with 1,040 yards on the ground on 268 carries during his debut season. The former LSU standout also totaled exactly half (9) of the team’s 18 rushing touchdowns. He was also the team’s fourth-leading pass catcher with 36 receptions, good for 302 yards and one score. But Fournette also missed three games during the regular season.
In the playoffs, the talented performer touched the ball a total of 77 times. He rolled up a combined 70 carries for 242 yards and four scores in the postseason vs. the Buffalo Bills, Pittsburgh Steelers and New England Patriots. And Fournette totaled at least 20 rushing attempts in each of those contests.
The 6’0”, 228-pound specimen may just be getting warmed up. If he can stay on the field, a minimum of 320 carries should be in the forecast for the young running back. The Jaguars led the NFL in running plays (527) and rushing yards (2,262) and there’s no reason to think that they could top those figures.