Will It Still Be The Jags?



“It was always the Jags!!”

That was the triumphant chant of the upstart team and its fans that bounced back from a five-game losing streak to eventually supplant the AFC South defending champion Tennessee Titans in the last week of the 2022 season for the second time. It captured the essence of a Jacksonville Jaguars squad that no matter the adversity (and regardless whether it was at times self-imposed), the valleys led to a mountain top even in an NFL wildcard playoff game.

It was ironically, in part, thanks to a former Jacksonville quarterback in Chad Henne that the Kansas City Chiefs eventually ended the ride.

Now with training camp underway, the Jags find themselves with expectations for success not seen in 15 years. And there were some flashes of why that excitement was warranted during their morning action.


Getting Rid-ley of Disappointment

The most exciting moments of training camp were provided by wide receiver Calvin Ridley with some fully extended flashy catches. One that he caught from backup quarterback C.J. Beathard got a raucous cheer from the fans. In response, Ridley ran over to the crowd, which continued to rile them up in a showing of support for the new arrival.

After practice concluded, starting quarterback Trevor Lawrence sang praises for the wide receiver and his skills.

Captaining Kirk and Keeping up with Jones

For all the news surrounding Ridley’s offseason escapades and the contract extension of tight end Evan Engram, Jags fans excitement can only rise with these two weapons being combined with wide receivers Christian Kirk and Zay Jones. Jones and Kirk as a duo put up numbers that haven’t been seen in Duval since the days Keenan McCardell and Jimmy Smith were consistently hauling in passes during the franchise’s ascent in its early years.

Lawrence was asked if this group, along with Jamal Agnew and Travis Etienne at the running back position, could match up to any in the NFL. His confidence was evident without hesitation.

What to Watch For as Camp Goes On

While the defense gave up some plays during practice on camp’s opening morning, the Jacksonville coaching staff is hoping that the platitude “iron sharpens iron” holds true as a young group of defensive backs work to find their legs heading into the season.

Also, once the pads come on in the coming days of training camp, both sides of the line will be a focus. With Juwaan Taylor heading to the Chiefs and Cam Robinson facing a suspension, how quickly the offensive line gels and becomes effective will be a determining factor in the Jags’ success. That too holds true for the defensive front. With pass rusher Arden Key now in Tennessee, Jacksonville is putting a lot on the shoulders of star edge rusher Josh Allen and sophomore Travon Walker up to pick up a lot of slack in putting pressure on opposing back fields.

Kyle Nash

Kyle is from Orlando, Florida

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