Football is still one of the major sports in North America and is certainly hugely popular around Jacksonville. Of course, much of this rests on the popularity and fervent local following that the Jacksonville Jaguars have. A proud member of the NFL, they might be one of the youngest franchises around but they have a decent record to look back on, overall. Hitting the playoffs in four of their first five seasons is definitely something to be proud of.
For fans of the Jaguars, though, this might not be much consolation after the most recent 2020/21 NFL season. They continued their barren run of form over recent years and close of season saw them finish bottom of AFC South, with a 1-15 record. But is this a reason to panic – or should fans rather be looking at the long-term picture?
What do the bookies think?
A good way to gauge where the Jaguars sit is by looking at online sportsbooks for the odds given for a 2022 Superbowl run. Sports betting in the USA is becoming very popular, thanks to some states legalizing sports betting, where only daily sports fantasy was legal previously. and the statistics that are available can really give a good idea of what people think about a team’s chances or overall standing. To date, the Jaguars are being given around 75/1 by most online sportsbooks. This seems to confirm that they are not expected to bounce back instantly next year but might instead be in for a period of slow rebuilding.
This is important for Jaguars followers to latch onto. The side is not actually looking for immediate success or quick fixes. Sustainable growth is the only way to rebuild the franchise successfully and plan for long-term success. But for Jaguars’ fans, what might the building blocks be that this approach rests on?
No 1 pick in next NFL draft
The 2021 NFL draft order has been confirmed and shows the Jaguars as having No 1 pick. If used wisely, it should help them tie down an emerging, elite-level talent for the long term, who could well take the whole franchise to the next level. With the Jaguars in need of a talented quarterback to fire up their offense, you would have to assume Clemson’s Trevor Lawrence will be their choice.
It is not just the No 1 draft pick that could help the Jags build for lasting success. They have a massive 11 picks overall in the 2021 draft and five of these are in the top 65. The side is also nearly $100 million under the projected cap for salaries, with ample headroom to negotiate. An influx of new talent coming in may take time to gel but should pay off handsomely as they grow into a top team
Decent players already in roster
Although the 2020/21 season might have made it look otherwise, there are actually some decent players already on the Jaguars’ roster. James Robinson was a monster in offense, for example, and is sure to play a major role next year, now that he has a full season under his belt. Although the defense from last year was pretty dire, there is hope in Myles Jack – he made over 100 tackles in 13 games and shows there is raw talent there to work with. If new coach Urban Meyer can blend the current and incoming talent, it could be the start of a new era for the franchise.
Could the ‘Meyer effect’ help the team grow?
As noted above, the Jaguars made a move for Urban Meyer recently and he is now installed as the side’s head coach. This has been met with a lot of excitement by fans, as he is a real legend in the college game. If he can bring his winning mentality to the Jaguars over the next few years, the only way is up. With new offensive coach Darrell Bevell also on his way, the change in tactics and strategies could also help the team to perform better – once all are bedded in.
Be patient – it could take time
There is no doubt that the future does look promising for the Jaguars, when you dig deeper into their current situation. The vital thing for fans to understand, though, is that it could take time and that owner Shad Khan is building the team for enduring growth, not instant results. This strategy could end up taking the franchise forward into a golden new era of sustainable results.