Jaguars Preview Capsule
JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS (12-7)
New faces: LG Andrew Norwell, TE Austin Seferian-Jenkins, CB D.J. Hayden, DL Taven Bryan, WRs Donte Moncrief and DJ Chark.
Key losses: LB Paul Posluszny, CB Aaron Colvin, TE Marcedes Lewis, WRs Allen Robinson, Allen Hurns.
Strengths: Best defense in franchise history carried team to AFC championship game in 2017 and expects to be more dominant this season. Unit has stars at every level, with DE Yannick Ngakoue, LB Telvin Smith and CBs Jalen Ramsey and A.J. Bouye among best in league at their positions. Eight of 11 defensive starters have made Pro Bowl in last four years, including DE Calais Campbell, DT Marcell Dareus, FS Tashaun Gipson and DL Malik Jackson. Ground game led league in rushing in 2017 behind rookie Leonard Fournette, but faltered late in regular season and in playoffs. Team added Norwell in free agency in hopes of making O-line best in AFC.
Weaknesses: Lack of No. 1 receiver could be concerning. Marqise Lee (knee) out for season, and Keelan Cole, Dede Westbrook, Donte Moncrief and Chark have plenty to prove. Special teams need to do more to give offense better field position. Depth concerns at several positions, mainly quarterback, linebacker and tight end.
Fantasy Players To Watch: Fournette should be touchdown machine. He carried 268 times for 1,040 yards and nine touchdowns as rookie despite missing three games, two because of injuries and another due to suspension. Fournette dropped more than 15 pounds in offseason, hoping lighter load will lead to more breakaway speed and three-down role. Seferian-Jenkins could be Bortles’ top target near end zone.
Vegas Says: Super Bowl 18-1. Over-under wins 9.
Expectations: Considering team returns nearly every starter on both sides of ball, it’s Super Bowl or bust for Jacksonville. Team came oh-so-close last season, making playoffs for first time in 10 years and squandering 10-point lead in fourth quarter at New England in AFC title game. Still, Marrone, general manager Dave Caldwell and football czar Tom Coughlin believe team is built to win big now, relying on loaded defense that should be among best in league.