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2017 offseason: Five numbers to watch

Posted Jul 11, 2017

With 2017 Training Camp two weeks away, senior writer John Oehser examines five numbers that could be key for the Jaguars this season …


JACKSONVILLE – Fifteen days.

That’s how long until Jaguars veterans report to EverBank Field for 2017 Training Camp, so that’s as good a way as any to measure how long until the Jaguars’ ‘17 season officially begins.

We could also use eight days, which is how long until rookies and first-year players report. Or how about 10 days? That’s how long until quarterbacks report.

Whatever the number, this much is clear:

The much-anticipated ’17 season – a season of change and the beginning of Doug Marrone’s tenure as head coach – is fast approaching. It’s a season stuffed with obvious storylines, with none as obvious as quarterback Blake Bortles’ development.

And speaking of numbers …

They will prove key this season in many of the team’s storylines. How many interceptions are too many as Bortles seeks to reduce avoidable errors and prove himself as the Jaguars’ franchise quarterback? 

How many yards does running back Leonard Fournette need for the run to be reestablished as a Jaguars offensive strength? Those are key numbers for the Jaguars this season.


With that in mind, here are five numbers to watch for the Jaguars in 2017:

12. Bortles’ interceptions. This number ideally would be in single digits, but that would mean reducing Bortles’ 16 interceptions almost in half. That’s a big ask, but reducing them by 25 percent would get them under control – and go a long way toward accomplishing the next number. 

Plus-something. Turnover margin. The Jaguars haven’t had more takeaways than giveaways since 2011. Their minus-16 ratio last season ranked 30th in the NFL and was an overlooked reason the team finished 3-13. If the Jaguars can get this number to even it will have a huge impact on the outcome of games.

55. Penalty yards per game. The Jaguars averaged 74.2 penalty yards per game last season. That was the NFL’s second-highest total behind Oakland. They were penalized for 45 and 54 yards in the final two games of last season – the two games Marrone served as interim head coach – and that’s about where they need to be in 2017.

30/two. Sacks allowed/lost fumbles by quarterback. The Jaguars allowed just 34 sacks last season, a dramatic improvement after allowing 71 and 51 the two seasons before that. Allowing 30 a little less than two a game – would probably get them into the Top 10. The second number here might be just as important. Bortles has lost 11 fumbles over the last two seasons, the most in the league over that span. Pocket awareness is key, and lost fumbles by the quarterback create huge opportunities for the opponent.

1,200. Fournette’s rushing yards. Fournette’s total yardage is less important in the big picture than the Jaguars’ overall ability to run the ball. But the rushing offense figures to go as Fournette goes. If he goes for 1,200, that likely will put him in the Top 5-to-7 – and would reestablish the running game as a Jaguars strength.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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