NFL Jacksonville Jaguars

Jacksonville Jaguars: 5 Players Facing Make-or-Break Seasons in 2013

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Jacksonville Jaguars: 5 Players Facing Make-or-Break Seasons in 2013

Phil Sears-USA TODAY Sports

The Jacksonville Jaguars had a disastrous 2012 season that led to a total house cleaning by owner Shad Khan. While Khan’s house cleaning extended only to positions in the front office, the new general manger he hired, David Caldwell, took the house cleaning mentality to the roster he inherited from the ousted Gene Smith and started getting rid of high-priced veterans who were not living up to the terms of their lofty contracts.

Caldwell replaced the casualties with younger, cheaper players who still have some upside and are hungry for an opportunity to compete for a role on the Jaguars roster moving forward. The Jaguars roster is not entirely new, however, and there are some veteran players still on the roster from the previous regime who need to have a strong 2013 season to prove their worth to the new brain trust running the team.

If there is one thing that Caldwell has shown when making personnel decisions this offseason, it is that he does not care about what you have done in the past or how much the fan base identifies with a particular player. It is the reason the Jaguars have let players like Derek Cox and Terrance Knighton walk in free agency and while fan favorites like Daryl Smith, Greg Jones and Rashean Mathis were not brought back despite their years of service to the franchise.

With that knowledge, here is a look at five Jaguars players who need to perform in 2013 if they want to be on board with the franchise moving forward.

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Blaine Gabbert

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No Jaguars player is under more pressure to get his act together in 2013 than quarterback Blaine Gabbert. The new Jaguars regime gave him a sort of vote of confidence by not drafting any quarterback in the draft, but the 2014 quarterback class looks to be dynamic. The Jaguars have committed a ton of resources towards giving Gabbert the best chance to succeed, but if the light does not come on this season he will not get another chance.

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Maurice Jones-Drew

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We all know what Maurice Jones-Drew is capable of, but is he over the hill after his foot injury? Jones-Drew missed most of last season and is entering a contract year and the entire NFL world is wondering if he is done or if he can rebound to his 2011 form. A monster 2013 would go a long way towards Jones-Drew cementing the big pay day he was looking for during his holdout last offseason, but anything short of that could be a sign of the end for him.

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Eugene Monroe

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Eugene Monroe has made himself one of the best left tackles in the NFL, but the Jaguars used their second draft pick on a guy who could potentially replace him next season. Monroe is entering a contract year and his performance in 2013 will go a long way towards whether or not he will be in Caldwell’s plan moving forward.

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Justin Blackmon

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Under ordinary circumstances Justin Blackmon would not be in this situation in just his second year in the league, but his circumstance is far from ordinary. Blackmon has had two off of the field incidents since being drafted by the Jaguars last April, the most recent is costing him the first four games of the 2013 season. He has showed that when on the field he is a good player and an important part of a young and promising wide receiver corps, but his battle will be whether or not he can stay clean off of the field.

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Marcedes Lewis

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Marcedes Lewis is one of the high priced veterans that survived Caldwell’s roster purge this offseason because most believe he is still capable of playing the tight end position at an elite level. The problem is that his numbers have not been elite since his breakout season in 2010. This season, however, will provide him the best opportunity to re-establish himself as a premier pass catching tight end as he will be relied on less to stay in and help in pass protection.