Only a few weeks ago the Jacksonville Jaguars were 0-8 and limping into the bye week.
In the past, several teams in a similar circumstance have folded up the tent and mailed in the rest of the season, but the Jaguars didn’t quit on their season. Since the bye, the Jaguars have won three out of four games and are building some positive momentum going into the 2014 offseason.
The fact that the Jaguars haven’t packed it in is a testament to first-year head coach Gus Bradley and his seemingly endless positive message that has taken the locker room by storm. From the jump, Bradley’s message has been to get better every week and the winning will take care of itself. It appears the Jaguars have taken that message to heart as the team is playing significantly better now than it was earlier in the season.
The most encouraging part of the Jaguars turnaround on the field has been the emergence of the young talent that first-year general manager Dave Caldwell brought in this offseason. The overhauled secondary, including rookies Dwayne Gratz, Johnathan Cyprien and Josh Evans, is the best position group on the team. Other low priced free agents like Sen’Derrick Marks and Geno Hayes are starting to emerge as key role players on a defense that has improved drastically since the first week of the season.
There has also been a noticeable improvement in the play on the offensive side of the ball as the Jaguars offensive line has done a better job opening up holes for Maurice Jones-Drew and allowing Chad Henne time to stand in the pocket and deliver the ball down the field. The offensive line has actually improved since losing starting tackles Eugene Monroe and Luke Joeckel, which is hard to believe.
Given how bad the 2013 season started for the Jaguars, since the bye this team is playing about as well as anybody could have hoped for given the limitations of this roster in the first year of a total rebuild. With Bradley in the fold, it appears the franchise has found the coach that can return the winning culture of the Tom Coughlin era back to Jacksonville.
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