2019 NFL Power Rankings:
No. 18 Jacksonville Jaguars
Nice things and Jaguars don’t mix. After making it to the AFC Championship Game behind “Big Balls” Robert Blake Bortles in 2017, a Duval Dynasty appeared on the horizon. Not so fast.. With fewer horses in Bortles’ stable, Jacksonville regressed the following season, embarking on a year marred by turmoil, dysfunction, and incompetence from top to bottom. So how’d team executive vice president Tom Coughlin react? He publically lambasted a couple of players and spent money.
Jacksonville kicked off the 2019 offseason by booting Blake Bortles and his massive contract and investing four years and $88 million in “Big Dick” Nick Foles (pause). In 2013, Foles set an NFL record for touchdown-to-interception ratio. He then fell back to earth, struggling for the next three seasons -- one in St. Louis and another in Kansas City -- before reemerging in Philly, where he took over for the injured Carson Wentz and led the franchise to their first Super Bowl in 2017. In 2018, Foles once again filled in for an injured Wentz, then led the team to a 5-2 record and the postseason.
I want to start with this anecdote. Foles’ success reflects the strengths of Doug Pederson. The only time he played outside of Pederson’s system was during his time in St. Louis, which lasted 11 games. I don’t see Foles as a much better quarterback than Blake Bortles. Quarterbacks need weapons, and outside of Dede Westbrook, Jacksonville was void of artillery in 2018. Foles may not be the answer. A motivated Leonard Fournette, healthy Marqise Lee and improved leading pass-catcher Dede Westbrook and all-world talent D.J Chark, make a massive difference.
Jacksonville’s defense earned its stripes in 2018. What more can you ask from a unit that ranks in the top 10 in total defense and top five against the pass and points allowed? Jalen Ramsey did his job. A.J. Bouye earned his check. Calais Campbell and Yannick Nguaguoke played great football. Those cats are expected to play at a high level. Add Marcel Dareus, rookie pass rusher Josh Allen, new money man Myles Jack and Ronnie Harrison (who I think is going to be a stud) setting the tone, and you have a charismatic bunch bound to beat ass.
Offensive Players to Watch: Nick Foles, Leonard Fournette, Marqise Lee, DJ Chark
Defensive Players to Watch: Ronnie Harrision, Taven Bryan, Josh Allen, Quincy Williams (when healthy)
Fantasy Players to Watch: Leonard Fournette, Dede Westbrook (middle rounds), Marqise Lee (waiver wire), Josh Oliver (later rounds, waiver wire), Jacksonville Defense
Verdict: I’m not a believer that Foles’ schlong is as long as you guys say it is (pause). Therefore, I’m going with 8-8