Rebuild In Motion With Caldwell, Bradley Taking Over New-Look Jaguars
The Jacksonville Jaguars are a team in transition in nearly every sense of the word. They have a new general manager in David Caldwell, a new head coach in Gus Bradley, and when they take the field for the 2013 online sports betting season it will be with a new logo and new uniforms. There is still some strong talent on both sides of the ball but with a new regime taking over in the team’s second year under owner Shad Khan, the focus will be on rebuilding as the Jaguars look to become a legitimate playoff contender again.
Jacksonville elected not to go all-in on many high-priced free agents this offseason, with the biggest splash being the selection of a franchise left tackle as the Jaguars took Luke Joeckel with the second-overall pick in the 2013 NFL Draft. This year will be about finding out how many other franchise pieces are in place, with quarterback Blaine Gabbert the biggest concern. Gabbert enters his third season under scrutiny as he has yet to prove that he can be the franchise starter, and now he has competition from Chad Henne for the starting job. The receiver group isn’t terrible with Justin Blackmon and the underrated Cecil Shorts, as well as rookie Ace Sanders and free-agent addition Mohamed Massaquoi. It wasn’t long ago that Maurice Jones-Drew was the league’s leading rusher, and the Jaguars hope he can spark the offense in the final year of his current contract.
Cornerback Marcus Trufant was added to replace Derek Cox, but there will still likely be two rookies that start in the secondary with second-round pick safety Johnathan Cyprien and third-round pick cornerback Dwyane Gratz. The sports betting strength of this unit will be at linebacker with Paul Posluszny still a force in the middle, and he will have free-agent addition Geno Hayes lined up beside him along with Russell Allen. The Jaguars are still waiting on 2010 first-round pick Tyson Alualu to show he can be dominant as he enters his fourth year. Jacksonville rely on Alualu and defensive ends Jason Babin and Jeremy Mincey to generate more pressure up front and take some of the pressure off of the next two levels.
The one area where the Jaguars are sound is the special teams, where they have two of the better kickers in the game in Josh Scobee and punter Bryan Anger. Jacksonville’s special teams units are also among the best in the NFL led by Montell Owens, and both Sanders and former Michigan Wolverines’ quarterback turned wide receiver Denard Robinson should upgrade the return game.
A new GM, new coach, new logo, and new uniforms means this is a team in transition, and the talent level simply isn’t there to compete for a playoff spot this online sportsbook season. Bradley will have his hands all over the defense as a former coordinator in Seattle, but it’s the offensive improvement that will have the biggest impact on how far this team is able to go. It won’t take long before a decision is made on Gabbert, and the hope is that the offense finds its starting quarterback early and gets a big boost from Jones-Drew to avoid another embarrassing season.
2013 PROJECTION: 4-12; 4th in AFC South