Can things get any worse in Jacksonville? Well, a 3-13 season could always be worse, but head coach Gus Bradley knows that in his third year, the Jags are going to have to show remarkable improvement. The Jacksonville Jaguars offense was dead last in the NFL in scoring, averaging just 15.6 points per game. The offensive line, a patchwork unit at best, surrendered a league-high 71 sacks. Teams don’t win much when their quarterback is on his back and the offense can’t score. It doesn't look like 2015 will be any better for Jaguar fans with sportsbooks listing Jacksonville as +1600 longshots to win the AFC South, 100/1 to win the AFC Conference and 200/1 underdogs in Super Bowl predictions.
To inject some life into the Jacksonville Jaguars, Bradley and general manager Dave Caldwell hit the free agent market hard picking up at least six players who should become starters. The Jaguars also added a few key draft picks including former Alabama running back T.J. Yeldon, who is predicted to be Jacksonville’s starter come Week 1 of the regular season. The Jags first draft pick, defensive end Dante Fowler out of Florida, will have to sit out the season. In the team’s first rookie mini-camp in early May, Fowler tore an ACL. He’s had surgery and will spend the season and offseason preparing for the 2016 season. Bradley also added several new coaches to his staff, including offensive coordinator Greg Olson, as part of the offseason overhaul.
The Jags brought in former Denver TE Julius Thomas to go with the receiving tandem of Allen Robinson and Marquise Lee. Leading receiver Cecil Shorts is now in Houston. Jacksonville also drafted Florida State WR Rashad Greene, the school’s record holder in career receptions (270). Jacksonville repaired its offensive line by picking up center Stefen Wisniewski and right tackle Jeremy Parnell in free agency and drafting a potential starter in guard A.J. McCann. With more consistent offensive line play, the Jags expect big things from second-year QB Blake Bortles. The former Central Florida star passed for 2,908 yards but threw 17 interceptions compared to just 11 touchdowns.
The defense was equally as bad as the offense last year finishing 27th against the run and 26th in total defense. The foray into the free agent market added DE Jared Odrick, LB Dan Skuta, CB Davon House, and FS Sergio Brown. All four should become starters and instantly upgrade the Jags defense. With Tennessee in the midst of rebuilding, Bradley and the Jaguars just might have what it takes to get themselves out of the 2015 AFC South division basement. A playoff berth is a longshot in NFL odds, but a near .500 record should be enough to keep Bradley around for another year.
Jaguars Update (9/12/15): Jacksonville are now +20000 favorites in Super Bowl predictions, +7500 to win the AFC Conference and +1600 to win the AFC South.