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Jacksonville Jaguars 2013 Outlook: Rebuilding Through The Draft
Kim O'Hara | Posted: February 07, 2013
Welcome to TFG's 2013 Outlook series. We'll be taking a quick glance back at the 2012 season before focusing on what factors will impact each team's chances for success in 2013. Check back regularly to read about your favorite team. Next up: the Jacksonville Jaguars.
2012 record: 2-14, tied for worst in the NFL and the worst record in franchise history
Key Losses: It was looking like just general manager Gene Smith would be getting the ax, as owner Shahid Khan indicated that first year head coach Mike Mularkey would be granted an additional season to sort out the team's myriad problems. But less than 24 hours after Khan found his new general manager, Mularkey was shown the door.
Important Additions: New general manager Dave Caldwell, who served as the Director of College Scouting with Atlanta for four season before assuming the role of Director of Player Personnel with the Falcons last season. Shortly after he was hired, rumors began to swirl that Mularkey would be let go. Sure enough, Caldwell's formal introduction as Jacksonville's general manager included the firing of Mularkey. The Jaguars have since hired Seattle's defensive coordinator Gus Bradley as their head coach. Seattle had one of the NFL's most fearsome defenses under Bradley, and the expertise he will bring to Jacksonville should help capitalize on the existing talent on the Jaguars roster. Another Jacksonville addition that made recent headlines was a sharp new logo (pictured to the right of Jacksonville's old logo above).
Why Jacksonville has hope for 2013: Divisional play in 2012. Half of it, anyway. Jacksonville's two wins game against divisional opponents Indianapolis and Tennessee and the Jags took the Texans into overtime at Houston. Their other divisional losses were by 17, 18 and 20 points. Bradley should bring in a much tougher team mentality, which the Jaguars desperately need. Last season, when Jacksonville was hit in the face, it was rarely able to hit back. If recent Seattle defenses have been any indication, Bradley will have his team administering the strong hits next season.
Why Jacksonville may be doomed for 2013: The Jaguars have one player (possibly two) who could be considered an NFL star: running back Maurice Jones-Drew and possibly linebacker Paul Posluszny. Jones-Drew spent the vast majority of 2012 on the bench coping with a foot injury but led the NFL in rushing the previous season and earned both All-Pro and Pro Bowl honors in 2009, 2010 and 2011. Posluszny posted an NFL eighth-best 139 tackles along with two sacks and three interceptions. He's a significant difference-maker on the defensive side of the football, but he could use some company.
Jacksonville needs more impact players like Paul Posluszny to contend in the AFC South
As with several NFL teams, the Jaguars are in desperate need of a more effective quarterback. They may give Blaine Gabbert his third year to make massive strides he has yet to broach, and backup Chad Henne has proven himself a serviceable second option, but he simply isn't efficient enough to start in the modern era of NFL quarterbacks. The Jaguars will not improve without an influx of talent this offseason, so if Khan, Bradley and Caldwell are discerning in their acquisitions via free agency or the draft (Caldwell recently stated that his primary focus for improvement will be to build through the draft), there is hope. But there are no guarantees, either.
Circle This Game: Seattle Seahawks. With the AFC South playing the NFC West next season, one of the biggest tests in Bradley's first year with Jacksonville will be a matchup against his former employee. If Bradley can guide his team to a close game or even a win against Seattle's stout defense, that will be a terrific sign for the Jaguars' future.
Odds to win Super Bowl XLVIII, According to Bovada: 150-1, the worst odds among all 32 NFL teams