5 Questions the Jacksonville Jaguars Must Answer During Training Camp

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5 Questions the Jacksonville Jaguars Must Answer During Training Camp

JAX
Rob Foldy-USA TODAY Sports

The offseason is a time when each NFL franchise holds hope of emerging as Super Bowl champion. Currently one team can only dream of such glory. There have been rough times for the Jacksonville Jaguars recently. This past season finished with a worst ever record of 2-14, but these past few months have allowed for some roster moves focused on improvement.

Offensive firepower has been needed around their young quarterback, and Jacksonville believes they may have indeed taken strides. A new head coach could help improve team culture which became downright awful. Running back is the top position where Pro Bowl talent resides. Their signal caller could also serve as a symbol of their struggles, though making a change on the sidelines hopefully will lead to better results.

Mike Mularkey never seemed to be ready for anything other than an offensive coordinator role. Three seasons, including two with the Buffalo Bills, led to a mark of 16-32. Jacksonville fired Jack Del Rio several years ago after he enjoyed more success. This shows that owner Shad Khan badly wants to turn things around.

Certain fans desperately cheered for their hometown hero to save the day, but Khan chose not to grant them their wish. Some remain angry given their current talent. Trying to correct issues both scoring and stopping an opponent could prove to be difficult with a total defensive ranking of 30th. Jacksonville’s offense also looked anemic finishing 29th out of 32 teams.

Here are five questions that the Jaguars must answer during training camp if they want to improve.

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Will Maurice Jones-Drew Rebound?

MOJO
Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports

There really is one established difference maker for this team. Maurice Jones-Drew has enjoyed a great career as an elite running back. Last year he suffered through injury and poor play rushing for only 414 yards with one touchdown. At 28, Jones-Drew is nearing the point in a ball-carrier’s career where their prime is fading.

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Could New Weapons Make an Impact?

Denard
Phil Sears-USA TODAY Sports

Justin Blackmon is a former first-round selection who registered five touchdown receptions. Jacksonville added Ace Sanders from South Carolina, and he has solid speed which has potential to help. Khan’s team made an interesting decision to select former Michigan quarterback Denard Robinson. Reports say that Robinson is currently listed as an “OW” or offensive weapon. Discussions prior to 2013 NFL Draft said that he would play receiver, but now a role appears less defined. These two can add a spark to this sometimes stagnant unit.

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Can Gus Bradley Change the Culture?

Gus
Rob Foldy -USA TODAY Sports

The defense, as I previously mentioned, finished 29th overall last season. New head coach Gus Bradley helped lead the Seattle Seahawks to fourth in total yards surrendered in 2012. Bradley’s hiring followed a trend of hiring highly regarded coordinators. He obviously faces an uphill battle inheriting a team that has gone 7-25 over the past two years. Selecting tackle Luke Joeckel second overall provides toughness to an offensive line that needed it badly.

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Is 2013 When Blaine Gabbert Steps Up?

Blaine
Rob Foldy-USA TODAY Sports

This man was supposed to be a franchise quarterback. Blaine Gabbert from Missouri has great size and arm strength, yet somehow he has failed to channel these traits into success on the field. I know injuries have not allowed him to play a complete season and he lacks great supporting talent, but if he does not improve then change could come in 2014. Mike Kafka could replace him this year or rookie Matt Scott may take over in the future. Signing Tim Tebow also would not have been a bad idea.

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Who Makes This Team Worth Watching?

Cecil
Melina Vastola-USA TODAY Sports

It sounds harsh, but the Jaguars really struggle to even draw interest from their own fans. Jacksonville suffered while ranking 20th in attendance last season and had some games subjected to local blackouts. Already I have mentioned that Jones-Drew is aging and probably will leave next year. He represents the closest thing that they have to a box office player. Cecil Shorts performed well last year with seven touchdowns, but he must prove not to be a one hit wonder. Justin Blackmon needs to improve on his five scores from last season.


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