Jacksonville Jaguars Quietly Turning in Impressive ’15 Campaign

December 14, 2015 • Ben Heck • AFC, AFC South, Features, Front Page, Jacksonville Jaguars

I’d just like to point out that the Jacksonville Jaguars, following a 51-16 win over AFC South rival Indianapolis yesterday, are now sitting at 5-8 on the season and second-year quarterback Blake Bortles has over 3,500 passing yards and 30 touchdowns.

If Jacksonville manages to win out, they’ll be able to reach .500 for the season. It doesn’t sound like a big deal, but it sounds more impressive when you consider how young and inexperienced this Jags squad is.

QB Blake Bortles, 24
RB T.J. Yeldon, 22
RB Denard Robinson, 25
WR Allen Robinson, 22
WR Allen Hurns, 24
WR/PR Rashad Greene, 23

TE Julius Thomas, 27
C Stefen Wisniewski, 26
G A.J. Cann, 24
OT Luke Joeckel, 24
LB Telvin Smith, 24
CB Aaron Colvin, 24
CB Davon House, 26
S Jonathan Cyprien, 25
PK Jason Myers, 24

Tight end Marcedes Lewis, 31, is the only offensive starter over the age of 30. The oldest starting offensive lineman, Zane Beadles, is 29 years old. And on defense, veteran linebacker Paul Posluszny, 31, is the only regular starter above the age of 30. There are just four total 30+ year olds on Jacksonville’s active roster (according to Pro-Football Reference), the oldest player on the team being 34-year old Chris Clemons.

It’s ridiculous.

Then add in the fact that five of Jacksonville’s eight losses were decided by a touchdown or less. If Jacksonville had just a few breaks go their way in those games, and maybe they’re sitting at 8-5 and sitting atop the AFC South? Given the weakness of the South division, winning out the final three weeks of the season just might be enough to squeeze out a division title anyways.

Indianapolis and Houston both sit at 6-7, just one game ahead of Jacksonville. Things are getting interesting for these Jaguars, and I believe they’re starting to wake up and realize they could squeeze into the postseason.

Last year’s third overall pick showed glimpses of leadership and franchise quarterback-like traits a season ago––as a rookie. But this year, Bortles is taking it to a new level. And his Allen WR tandem (Allen Robinson and Allen Hurns) have made for a fantastic duo at the receiver position.

Head coach Gus Bradley has unleashed Bortles and let him air it out this season. In 13 starts this year, Bortles has 501 pass attempts. In his 13 starts as a rookie, he threw the ball just 475 times. He’s cut the interceptions down a bit (from 17 last year to 13 this year), and has seen his QB rating sky-rocket.

Then again, it does help having a few weapons around you and more time in the pocket.

But either way, the future is starting to look bright down south. Especially once the defense (30th-ranked in points, 22nd in total yards) gets its 2015 first round pick on the field next year––DE/OLB Dante Fowler Jr. tore his ACL back in May and hasn’t seen any action.

Photo: Sam Greenwood/Getty Images

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