The Future of the Jaguars
Let’s face it, the NFL is the king of American sports. Even the worst franchise rakes in money and fans. This may not be the case with a franchise that tried to lure fans into the stadium with a “buy a ticket, get a free beer” campaign. Yes, I’m talking about the Jacksonville Jaguars. It has been about six years since this team has been relevant, in fact they have become the laughing stock of the league. Owner Shad Khan has vowed to turn the franchise around, but just what exactly will it take to get the job done?
The Jaguars are in an interesting predicament right now. The new owner cleaned house upon arriving. With that came some pros and cons. For starters, the Jacksonville home game attendance is averaging 59,553 fans per home game which puts them ranked 29th in the league. They do things they think fans want, such as new uniform changes and “buy a ticket, get a free beer” promotions, but that won’t cut it. It doesn’t help that Jacksonville agreed to play one “home” game in London each of the next four seasons. It’s almost like they think they are a minor league baseball team and are using gimmicks to try and draw fans. The bottom line is; to gain fans you have to have a competitive team.
Many things have set this team back for the last few years. The Jags glaring need has centered around the quarterback position. In my opinion, the best quarterbacks of recent history for the team were Byron Leftwich and David Garrard… that’s pretty bad. Many other things have plagued the franchise. Injuries seem to always come in bunches, as well as poor drafting. Trading up to get Blaine Gabbert in 2011 as well as drafting a punter in the third round in 2012 were questionable moves. That’s not to say it’s been all bad though. They did draft gems such as Maurice Jones-Drew, Fred Taylor, Marcus Stroud and Tony Boselli. Adding to the issue is the Jaguars’ current crop of young stars. Players like Justin Blackmon, Cecil Shorts and Jonathan Cyprien. While these players aren’t picture perfect super studs, they are pieces in place to build around.
I predict some big things happening this off season for the Jaguars. First and foremost is the 2014 NFL draft. It’s looking like Jacksonville will have the number one overall pick, and they MUST get their franchise quarterback. If he declares for the draft, Teddy Bridgewater is the leading candidate for that pick. Despite the defense not being the best, I think the Jaguars will go offensive heavy this year, as they have drafted many defensive players over the past few years. They currently have 10 draft picks for 2014 and will most likely make a move or two in free agency. With a franchise quarterback and a few other key positions filled, they can turn this franchise around quickly. Just look what the colts did from 2011(2-14) to 2012(11-5) with one really good draft. THAT is how you build up a fan base.