JACKSONVILLE – Eight Jaguars experts – Rick Ballou, Frank Frangie, Jeff Lageman, Brent Martineau, John Oehser, Brian Sexton, J.P. Shadrick and Ashlyn Sullivan – are breaking down the Jaguars as the 2020 NFL season approaches; today's topic: the Jaguars' position group that must improve the most…
Rick Ballou, Jaguars sideline reporter
Jaguars position group that must improve the most: I'll go with run defense. With all the talk being about quarterback and more production on offense, the Jaguars will never win consistently until they can stop the run. The addition of free agents such as defensive tackles Al Woods and Rodney Gunter should help. Also: draft picks K'Lavon Chaisson and DaVon Hamilton are expected to provide an immediate impact.
Frank Frangie, Radio Voice of the Jaguars
Jaguars position group that must improve the most: Defensive tackle. There are other areas where the Jags will be improved, but defensive tackle is a big one for me. This team must play the run better; it must be more physical defensively at the line of scrimmage. Of all the things that went wrong last year, the biggest culprit was the inability to stop the run. I'm encouraged about the difference Woods and Hamilton can make with size and strength alone. I also think Gunter will help the cause and I think Taven Bryan will be better. But this team must be better when the other team runs right at them, and the defensive tackles must be sturdy.
Jeff Lageman, Jaguars analyst and former Jaguars defensive end
Jaguars position group that must improve the most: The offensive line must improve to allow the Jaguars to perform at their best. The Jaguars had significant losses on defense, added a new offensive coordinator and have a second-year quarterback ... the offensive line can take pressure off all those areas Running effectively keeps opposing offenses on the sideline, helping a Jags defense; new offensive coordinator Jay Gruden can have an easier time play-calling when a line functions at a higher level – and the cleaner and healthier the line keeps quarterback Gardner Minshew II, the easier it will be to play hardest position in sports. You must have the talent in the room to accomplish improvement; I believe the offensive line has it.
Brent Martineau, Action Sports Jax Sports Director
Jaguars position group that must improve the most: Linebacker, where the Jags are well-suited to make improvements. If you can't stop the run and can't line up on defense, you have problems. The Jags had too many problems a year ago in that regard. The addition of Joe Schobert in the middle and moving Myles Jack to the weak side – where he can just go play – should make an instant impact from a fundamental perspective in 2020.
John Oehser, jaguars.com senior writer
Jaguars position group that must improve the most: Tight ends. Make no mistake: Multiple position groups – including offensive and defensive line – must improve for the Jaguars in 2020. But tight end has for too long has been a deficient position, with the team not having a reliable receiving option at the position since early in the 2010s – when Marcedes Lewis was in his prime. This group has a chance to improve because of the addition of free-agent Tyler Eifert and return to health of second-year veteran Josh Oliver. If those players reach their potential, this could be the Jaguars' most-productive tight end group in recent memory. The Jaguars need that to be the case. The position is too important in today's NFL to get so little productivity.
Brian Sexton, jaguars.com senior correspondent
Jaguars position group that must improve the most: The defensive line, especially the defensive tackles, must show significant gains in 2020. This unit's inability to hold the point of attack last November crushed the Jaguars ability to stay in the AFC South race and helped force quarterbacks Nick Foles and Minshew to play from behind for most of the second half of the season. The run defense also erased the threat of the Jaguars' pass rush, which had been its calling card and helped set up extra possessions and better field position for an offense that was finding its way. If this group isn't better, it's hard to see how the Jaguars season will be either.
J.P. Shadrick, jaguars.com reporter/editor
Jaguars position group that must improve the most: Linebacker. The defense struggled against the run last season. We heard about and saw gap-accountability issues on defense all season; if one person is out of position, then the seam can run wide open for a running back – especially when another defender overcompensates for someone else's mistake. The Jaguars acquired Schobert in free agency and are moving Jack to the weak side. Issues stopping the run will plague this defense until the Jaguars become consistently gap sound across the entire front seven – but certainly at linebacker.
Ashlyn Sullivan, Digital reporter and host
Jaguars position group that must improve the most: No brainer… this has to be tight end. The Jaguars have been attempting to find production with this group ever since the departure of Lewis; they haven't figured it out yet. Eifert should add leadership to a group with potential with James O'Shaughnessy and Oliver. The key for the entire tight end room is staying healthy, something they struggled greatly with last season.