AFC South Preview- Jacksonville Jaguars

The Jacksonville Jaguars had high expectations in 2008 after a very good 2007 season. Those expectations were dashed with injuries, and bad personnel moves. With an overhaul of the roster in the offseason, it looks as if the tides are going to be a little rough in the River City, as Jacksonville is sort of in a rebuilding stage. However, if the team does seem to put together some positive team chemistry and can gel from the first week, this could be a team that contends for the wild card. Head coach Jack Del Rio will have to make sure these guys are on the right page.

Offensively, the Jaguars overhauled the roster, long-time running back Fred Taylor was released, along with the often-troubled WR Matt Jones, and Jerry Porter was released after a season that was a big time bust. The Jaguars are now putting the running game in the hands of Maurice Jones-Drew, and he is definitely ready to have a much bigger impact now that he is the feature back of the team. The Jags also signed Torry Holt in the offseason, and he has plenty of game left in him to make a great possession receiver for quarterback David Garrard. If Garrard can move out the pocket and use his mobility to his advantage like he did in 2007, the Jaguars on offense can be tough to beat. The offensive line will have to give him as much protection as they can for Garrard to maximize the special things he does.

The defense received just as much of an overhaul as the offense. Gregg Williams is out of Jacksonville, and the new defensive coordinator Mel Tucker brings a new approach to the team. They will still run a 4-3 defense, but the long-time captain of the team, Mike Peterson, will not be in a Jaguars uniform as the team opted to not re-sign him in the offseason. Tucker emphasizes quicker reaction on defense, and can relate to the players and motivate them to do better. Another leader gone from the defense is Paul Spicer, and they got rid of Drayton Florence, who was supposed to compliment Rashean Mathis at cornerback, but things did not work out as the Jaguars hoped. If Tucker can get the defense to play with passion again, the Jaguars just may have enough to make it to the playoffs.

The Jaguars are renovating, not completely rebuilding. However, Del Rio will have to have a good season of coaching, otherwise his job will be gone and his fate will be sealed. The Jaguars are not as complete of a team anymore like the Titans, Colts, and even the Texans. It will be a long season in the River City.

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