The Jacksonville Jaguars have plenty to work on in the offseason. Finding a defensive coordinator should be at the top of head coach Gus Bradley’s list of “Things to do,” in order to assure he will be on the sidelines in north Florida for the 2017 season.
There is “pitch count” Bradley is on that we know of in terms of wins for the upcoming season, but a better defensive unit will undoubtedly help the team’s chances of posting a winning record and challenging for a playoff berth next season.
Seven or eight wins are needed for this franchise in 2016 or owner Shad Khan and general manager David Caldwell have to take a long, hard look whether Bradley remains with the organization. There could be other factors which determine his fate, but wins are important.
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Expect the Jaguars to be aggressive in free agency, more so than they were last offseason. There are obvious positional needs at pass rusher, linebacker, and a safety. Does one of the prized free agents see the progress this team made last season and jump on board – hoping they can be the solution to the problem?
The lure of playing in warmer weather, the idea of no state income tax and playing for a “players” coach may not be enough to land the big fish, but it might be enough to bring in some big talents and middle-of-the-pack free agents to provide depth.
Just like two seasons ago, the NFL Draft could be the key to this team taking another step towards success rather than mediocrity. There are needs on the offensive side of the ball, with help at left tackle, possibly center and depth at running back a concern. Quarterback Blake Bortles, receivers Allen Robinson and Allen Hurns, and running back TJ Yeldon all figure to be part of the success of this team down the line. Fans will want that success to be sooner rather than later.
If free agency is the first step toward success in 2016, look for Jacksonville to be aggressive like it was in signing Julius Thomas and look secondary help as well. Here are three players this team should look to sign in the offseason.
The Jaguars aren’t the only team that needs help at linebacker and Danny Trevathan figures to get a long look from several suitors. The Denver Broncos will work hard to keep him in the fold of the league’s best defense.
Not only does Trevathan provide depth at the position, but he also pushed fan favorite, Paul Posluszny. Dan Skuta had injury issues last season, and his play could have been better. Trevathan could easily take one of these two starting spots next to Telvin Smith.
It’s odd talking about a player as part of the Los Angeles Rams, but Janoris Jenkins could be a hot commodity in free agency. The Jaguars need help at safety, but Jenkins could be a solid pickup and provide depth in a weak and suspect secondary. The fact Jenkins played his college ball initially at Florida may play into the Jaguars’ favor.
This is a team where no defensive unit is without need. His size at 5’10” might be a concern, but his ability makes him worth a long, hard look.
Olivier Vernon played alongside current Jaguars defensive end Jared Odrick for the Miami Dolphins. Could the two play together again? Vernon can play both inside, where he would be a solid addition to the rotation of Roy Miller and Sen’Derrick Marks, and outside, where he could help stuff the run.
Vernon is certainly a player who should be high on the Jaguars list of “wants” and could be the top player they reach out to when free agency begins. The Jaguars may have to overspend to obtain his services.