The Jacksonville Jaguars are one of many NFL teams setting out on a new path in 2012. It’s not an unusual situation. Each and every fall there’s always a handful of NFL teams who are rebuilding, tweaking, or undergoing massive organizational changes. The Jaguars are only the most recent. What isn’t usual is the completeness of what’s going on in Jacksonville. This is a team changed from the top on down, with a new owner leading the franchise. Shad Khan is trying to do it right, upgrading both the coaching staff and physical surroundings of his team in an effort to re-invigorate the fan base by doing the only thing that matters in the NFL: Winning football games, which the Jaguars haven’t done with any regularity in a long time.
First order of business is to find a quarterback. Blaine Gabbert is the player they’d like to see assume that role but his situation is not yet settled. Were his troubles last season (11 interceptions and only 12 touchdowns) a symptom of poor talent around him or his own lack thereof? He’ll get a hard look in pre-season but if he can’t get it done the Jags are hoping some veteran savvy from Chad Henne can step right in. Of course there’s no doubt that Maurice Jones-Drew can carry a considerable portion of the workload. His 1,600 yards on the ground last season led the NFl and established Jones-Drew as a premiere NFL runner. Desperately needed receiving help comes in the form of Justin Blackmon, a highly valued draft choice out of Oklahoma State who should start immediately.
One of the few holdovers on the Jacksonville Jaguars is Defensive Coordinator Mel Tucker, who kept his paycheck by being the architect of significant improvement by the Jags defense. While Jacksonville has a need for plenty of depth, they beefed up their pass rush with Andre Branch out of Clemson, who should find his way into the rotation pretty quickly along a defensive line that could use the help. Cornerback Aaron Ross was signed away from the Giants to handle one side of the field while Derek Cox handles the other.
Jacksonville could be on the way back but they’ll have to win some games to get the ball rolling with the fans. Apathy has set in and won’t be gotten rid of easily. Still, there’s nothing like a fresh start and the Jaguars have one going here in 2012.Eric Drouant