JACKSONVILLE – Nine Jaguars experts – Rick Ballou, Bucky Brooks, Frank Frangie, Jeff Lageman, Brent Martineau, John Oehser, Brian Sexton, J.P. Shadrick and Ashlyn Sullivan – are breaking down the Jaguars as the 2021 NFL season approaches; today's topic: the primary issue to watch for the Jaguars in '21…
Rick Ballou, Jaguars sideline reporter
Primary issue to watch for the Jaguars in '21: The defense. The Jaguars allowed a franchise-record 30-plus points a game in 2020. How many points better can you expect them to be in a year? Players have a new staff, a new scheme. The Jaguars only had 18 sacks in 2021 and couldn't stop the run. This will be difficult to fix in just one year.
Bucky Brooks, NFL Media and Jaguars Media analyst
Primary issue to watch for the Jaguars in '21: The combination of the Jaguars' young roster and Urban Meyer's inexperience as an NFL coach could lead to a shaky start. As one of the league's youngest teams, the Jaguars could fall victim to penalties and miscues due to youth and inexperience. In addition, Meyer must adjust to a new game after 20-plus seasons coaching in the collegiate ranks. He will need to master the situational element of the game with the overwhelming majority of NFL games decided by eight points or fewer. In addition, Meyer must adapt to game-day roster management with fewer players available to play. From the substitution patterns to kicking-game adjustments, the first-time NFL coach must quickly adjust to a completely different game than the one that he mastered at the collegiate level.
Frank Frangie, Radio Voice of the Jaguars
Primary issue to watch for the Jaguars in '21: There is a lot of newness. I think Meyer and rookie quarterback Trevor Lawrence will be very good. But there are many new players who must step up — tons on defense. And there is tons of youth. There are many players playing together for the first time. Chemistry is so critical; how quickly does it arrive?
Jeff Lageman, Jaguars analyst and former Jaguars defensive end
Primary issue to watch for the Jaguars in '21: I worry about the Jaguars in 2021 only slightly. I am very confident that this organization is going to turn the corner and find its way to success. But successive rarely happens in a quick fashion, so patience must be present in an organization that has committed to so much change.
Brent Martineau, Action Sports Jax Sports Director
Primary issue to watch for the Jaguars in '21: I worry about the Jaguars in 2021 because of the schedule after the bye week. I think the team can play pretty good football and still get beat with the teams they play from late October to early December. If the team doesn't win, it could be a tough road.
John Oehser, jaguars.com senior writer
Primary issue to watch for the Jaguars in '21: Youth, along with chemistry. Remember: The Jaguars figure to rely heavily on not only a rookie quarterback in 2021 – but also on players from large 2020 and 2021 NFL Draft classes. A lot of the big names that will bode well for this team's future – Lawrence, Travis Etienne, Laviska Shenault Jr., etc. – are talented, but they also are rookies or second-year players. This is not only a new regime, it's one that has brought in a lot of new veterans to go along with the aforementioned youth. There's a lot of talent. The Jaguars are moving in the right direction. But considering the number of new veterans and rookies, it's fair to wonder if they can reach the level of success Meyer wants as quickly as he wants it.
Brian Sexton, jaguars.com senior correspondent
Primary issue to watch for the Jaguars in '21: I don't worry about the Jaguars this season. This season is about change. I have no concern that they'll go 1-15 again and my sense is that six or seven victories would be about as good as it would get for Meyer's first team in Jacksonville. I think they'll be much better against the run – and as Lawrence gets better, you'll notice the offensive line playing at a much higher level thanks to consistent quarterback play. This is going to be a much-improved team in 2021 but no one will mistake the Jaguars for Kansas City or Buffalo atop the AFC – nor should they. We can save that conversation for 2022.
J.P. Shadrick, jaguars.com reporter/editor
Primary issue to watch for the Jaguars in '21: The defense. The Jaguars have addressed the defensive line, revamped the secondary and added key pieces at linebacker. But it's so new that no one knows what it will look and feel like until they're playing. "Worry" is too strong a word here; it's just an unknown.
Ashlyn Sullivan, Digital reporter and host
Primary issue to watch for the Jaguars in '21: Even with all the hope and promise that the No. 1 overall selection and a flashy head coach bring, this team was still 1-15 last season. Six victories would be a dramatic improvement, but no wants to put a ceiling on what this team can do just yet. I worry there is still work to do on this roster to fill the holes of 2020 – tight end and run defense come to mind. This team must dramatically improvement from last season for it to be a "good" year.