NFL

Can the Jacksonville Jaguars Improve in 2014?

Blake-Bortles-2015-Jaguars.final

During the offseason, the Jacksonville Jaguars were smitten with their recent acquisition of Blake Bortles as the No. 3 pick in the 2014 NFL draft. (And probably his beautiful girlfriend.) But even with Bortles on the team, there is still a lot that needs to be done.

Last season was a rough one for the Jaguars. They finished 2013 at 4-12 and in third place in the AFC South, which meant they obviously didn’t qualify for playoffs. If that doesn’t prove how terrible they were, here are some more numbers to back up my statement.

Out of 32 teams, they ranked 32nd on their total Defense-adjusted Value Over Average. This statistic breaks down every single NFL play and compares a team’s performance to a league baseline based on situation in order to determine total yards and yards towards a first down, while still comparing it to years in the past.

Sounds confusing I know, but the short of it is, while Jacksonville has a -38.2% DVOA, Super Bowl Champions Seattle Seahawks (if it’s not a sore subject yet, remember how Jacksonville could have had Russell Wilson?) have a 40%. And yes, a negative DVOA is a thing, a pathetic thing, but still a thing.

Starting off with the quarterback who will be the number one spot yet again. No, it’s not going to be Bortles. The Jaguars are still going to be sippin’ on the Chad Henne with the 29-year-old starting off in the pocket. Last season Henne threw for 3,241 yards tallying 13 touchdowns and 14 interceptions.

Comparing those numbers to Bortles’: Bortles threw for 3,581 yards in which he ended up with 25 passing touchdowns in 2013 with the UCF Knights. I realize these are college numbers compared to NFL numbers, but you get where I’m coming from.

courtesy of CBS Sports

courtesy of CBS Sports

Having Bortles as a starter would be phenomenal in of itself, but having him as a backup is always special.

Staying on the offense side, the Jaguars have a difficult time moving the ball. According to Frank Schwaub of Yahoo Sports, Jacksonville ranked 30th of 32 in yards per pass attempt, and 31st in yards per run play. Pathetic.

There could be light at the end of the tunnel however. In addition to Bortles, the Jaguars have another guy to be smitten over. Toby Gerhart, The 27 year-old starts his 2014 season with the Jags after being with the Minnesota Vikings since 2010. The running back over his career has 1,305 rushing yards with eight touchdowns. His numbers may not blow you out of the water, but Jacksonville is obsessed with Gerhart’s ability to gain yards after contact as well as his effectiveness on third down. Gerhart’s addition was a definitely plus in the off-season.

courtesy of theffmvp.com

courtesy of theffmvp.com

Wide receiver wise they do have Cecil Shorts as their WR1, but he has been prone to injury. Even lately, he hasn’t been participating in this week’s minicamp. Right now it’s only a hamstring injury which should be easy to come back from, but last season he played most of the time while being hurt.

Speaking of injury, the 61st pick in the draft, Allen Robinson was signed to a four-year $3.510 million contract, just to sit most of the spring with a hamstring injury. Same with Marqise Lee who you can spot at OTA’s sitting around with a boot on his ankle. Great times for the Jaguars. However, between the three wide receivers, they’re supposed to make up the three-wide set. We will just have to wait and see.

Their tight end situation is rather strong. I really like Marcedes Lewis going into the 2014 season. He’s spent his entire career with the Jaguars, so adjusting will not be an issue for him. His veteran status matched up with Bortles can only help the team.

courtesy of Jacksonville.com

courtesy of Jacksonville.com

Last season, the 30-year-old averaged a 32.6 receiving yards per game and scored four touchdowns. Nothing compared to his 2010 season when he tacked on 700 receiving yards and 10 touchdowns, but anything is possible. More importantly, he made my list of Sexiest NFL Players.

When all is said and done, the offense is shaky for the Jaguars. Bortles will probably get a lot more playing time than anticipated, mainly because Henne is not dependable; fantasy wise, or fan wise. There is still a little bit of time left in the offseason, but if most of these guys remain hurt, they need to figure something else out.

Photo: courtesy CBS Sports

About the author

Jessica Kleinschmidt

Jessica Kleinschmidt

Jessica is a sports writer with an obsession for baseball. You can catch her in the stands or in the media booth. She's the one with the big hair. In addition to Sportsnaut, Jessica has been featured on Bleacher Report, Fox Sports, and MLB Nation.