Fri. Jul 19th, 2024

3 huge questions facing the Jacksonville Jaguars heading into the 2024 NFL season

By meerna Jun25,2024
3 huge questions facing the Jacksonville Jaguars heading into the 2024 NFL season

The Jacksonville Jaguars were one of the most disappointing NFL teams in 2023, going 9-8 and missing the playoffs despite starting 8-3.

It was essentially a reversal of the Jaguars’ 2022 campaign, where they caught fire in the second half and won the AFC South division title.

Many thought that Jacksonville would be a legitimate contender last season, but obviously things didn’t turn out too well.

It’s been an interesting offseason for the Jags, and there’s certainly been no shortage of activity.

Of course, the Jaguars’ most significant move was a five-year, $275 million contract extension with quarterback Trevor Lawrence, making him along with Cincinnati Bengals star Joe Burrow the highest-paid player in NFL history.

But will Jacksonville be able to right the ship in 2024?

Here are the three main questions facing the Jags.

Who will be the No. 1 receiver?

Despite losing Calvin Ridley to the division rival Tennessee Titans in free agency, the Jaguars have managed to assemble a pretty solid receiving corps.

Christian Kirk is a holdover from last year. They signed Gabe Davis and drafted Brian Thomas Jr. in the first round of the NFL Draft.

It’s important to consider that Jacksonville views Thomas as their No. 1 prospect long term, and I suppose it’s possible the LSU standout takes over as the ace at some point in 2024.

However, the chances of the rookie immediately becoming Lawrence’s top pick seem slim.

In all likelihood, Kirk will cement his role as the No. 1 player by default throughout training camp and the preseason. After all, Lawrence has already developed a good rapport with him, and he has 84 receptions for 1,108 yards and eight touchdowns in 2022 (injuries limited him to 12 games last season).

That being said, Kirk has only had one 1,000-yard rushing campaign in his six-year NFL career and isn’t really a true No. 1. He’s more of a high-end No. 2.

Davis is definitely not the best pass catcher either.

Maybe the Jaguars can do just fine given the depth they have at the position, but it would be nice if they had a really good position at the top of the standings.

Is the Jaguars’ secondary up to par?

Jacksonville ranked 26th in pass defense in 2023, which shows how poor its secondary was.

The Jags didn’t make a major defensive overhaul this offseason, although they did sign backup Darnell Savage and cornerback Ronald Darby. They also landed several corners in the NFL Draft, selecting Jarrian Jones in the third round and Deantre Prince in the 5th round.

Savage is not the same fighter and Darby has had great difficulty staying healthy throughout his career. So pass defense could still be an issue for the Jaguars in September.

Having some great pass rushers in Josh Allen and Travon Walker certainly helps, and the free agent signing of Arik Armstead should help solidify the forward seven. This should make things easier for the Jacksonville defenders, but they will still have to cover.

There really isn’t a single reliability lock on aftermarket Jags. Even Andre Cisco, who is arguably the Jaguars’ best defensive back, has some durability concerns.

If Jacksonville High School doesn’t show any signs of significant improvement in 2024, it could be another long year for the Jags defense.

Will Trevor Lawrence show that he is worthy of his contract?

No matter how you spin it, the Jaguars needed to extend Lawrence. They took him with the No. 1 overall pick in 2021, so they basically handed him the keys to their future three years ago.

Lawrence has also shown too much potential for Jacksonville to risk entering 2024 with the Clemson product on a one-year deal.

But here’s the problem: Lawrence actually only had one very good season out of three.

There is no doubt that the 24-year-old has been outstanding in his sophomore campaign, throwing for 4,113 yards, 25 touchdowns and eight interceptions while leading the Jags to a Wild Card playoff victory over the Los Angeles Chargers.

But otherwise? Lawrence was definitely ordinary, if not average.

In his rookie season, he led the league with 17 interceptions and scored only 12 touchdowns. Then, last year, Lawrence totaled 4,016 yards, 21 touchdowns and 14 picks.

Spare me the excuse that he was injured. Yes, I understand that Lawrence has been struggling with various injuries, but everything happened in the second half of 2023. Even before that, he wasn’t playing particularly well.

Lawrence is expected to be a generational talent, although he hasn’t shown it consistently so far.

For Jaguar fans, we hope that 2024 will be the year Lawrence takes things to another level.

By meerna

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