The cold hard truth is that the bar isn’t set real high for the Jacksonville Jaguars in 2014. They’re a team that has one main expectation — improve from last year. That’s it. The Jaguars just need to have a slightly better season than they did in 2013 for fans to feel good about the direction of the franchise.
Most people agree that Gus Bradley is indeed the man for the job in Jacksonville. His inaugural season at the helm was up and down, but the Jags managed to squeak out four wins. For 2014 to be a success, Bradley must guide the Jags to at least five wins, and six would certainly make a hungry fan base feel good about the future.
The future was indeed on display in the Jags’ second preseason game Thursday night against the Chicago Bears. The immediate future came in the form of rookie Marquies Lee, who hauled in four passes for 27 yards and a touchdown. The second-round pick looked like a legitimate NFL wide out, and also like a legitimate go-to target for Chad Henne and/or Blake Bortles.
When it comes to the QBs, both Henne and Bortles played well in the preseason loss. They each attempted 17 passes, with Henne completing one more and also one for a TD.
Even though you can make a case for Bortles starting the season under center, it’s still clearly a job for Henne. Jags fans should be very encouraged by Bortles’ ceiling and his play in the preseason thus far, but for now he’s best served to play backup and learn while the veteran starts the season.
Overall, the Jaguars are in a pretty decent place. The defense is going to above average and will only continue to get better under Bradley, and the offense is beginning to take shape with new faces like Toby Gerhart and Lee. It’s going to take a lot of patience and hard work, but there’s no reason Jacksonville can’t compete for second place in the AFC South this season.