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GM David Caldwell: "We have a chance"


JACKSONVILLE – David Caldwell isn't thinking about a specific number.

But the Jaguars' general manager likes what he sees when he looks at the team entering the 2016 regular season – and he feels good about what could happen.

"That's the biggest thing: we have a chance," Caldwell said Wednesday. "If you guys would like a headline, that would be the biggest headline – that we have a chance."

Caldwell on Wednesday sat down with multiple media members four days before the 2016 regular-season opener against Green Bay at EverBank Field Sunday. He discussed a variety of subjects, and said he didn't disagree with Owner Shad Khan's statement from early this offseason that a winning record this season is a "reasonable expectation."

"That's a reasonable expectation," Caldwell said, adding that that doesn't imply that changes must be made if that goal is not reached. "I think he [Khan] is going to make a decision after 16 games that this is going in a direction I like or this is not going in a direction I like."

Caldwell added, "It's our healthiest, it's our best, roster. That can all change very quickly, but we can match up with virtually almost anybody. Guys just have to perform to a high level."

Caldwell said while he likes the talent level it's difficult to know how he ultimately will feel about the team.

"It's hard to say," Caldwell said. "I probably won't know for a couple of weeks. I feel good about the work our coaching staff and our players have done. I feel good that we're relatively healthy – knock on wood. It's a strange game and games can go one of two ways quickly.

"The previous years [of his tenure], I felt like we had to be perfect to be in a game late in the game. Now, we can overcome a bad play, a fumble, a backed-up situation, a deficit. We can score quickly and defensively we can hold the fort down."

Caldwell also addressed the notion that the team is building for 2017, saying "We are building for 2017, but we've built for 2016. We'll continue to want to get better next year than we are this year, but this is a big year for us."

"Our pressure is always from within," he added. "We've always put pressure on ourselves to do the best we can. You're never going to be satisfied unless you win the Super Bowl."

Caldwell on Wednesday also covered several other topics including:

*Myles Jack. The rookie second-round selection isn't expected to start Sunday – and Caldwell said he considers that a positive. Jack is expected to open the season backing up middle linebacker Paul Posluszny and weak-side linebacker Telvin Smith. "To be honest with you, I'm encouraged by it," Caldwell said of Jack's backup status. "The idea of taking a second-round round pick who doesn't have to be an impact player right away is a good thing for this organization." …

*Posluszny. "Let's make no mistake about this: Poz is a top player in this league," Caldwell said. "When he's on that field, he makes a difference. You talk to visiting offensive coordinators, I would guess as teams are practicing, they have someone on their scout team with a 51 [Posluszny] jersey." Caldwell also addressed Posluszny as a coverage linebacker. "He has a really good understanding of passing lanes and angles," Caldwell said. "He has made plays. I don't know that he matches up against a guy like [Jaguars tight end] Julius Thomas, but not many middle linebackers in the league would, either.

*Kelvin Beachum. Caldwell said he's unworried about the veteran's conditioning or preparedness for Sunday. Beachum, who will start at left tackle Sunday, missed the first two preseason games while rehabilitating a torn anterior cruciate ligament sustained last season with Pittsburgh. "He won't be perfect, but I think he'll be able to play some winning football," Caldwell said. …

*Luke Joeckel. Caldwell said he is confident Joeckel will fare well at left guard. The No. 2 overall selection in the 2016 NFL Draft, Joeckel moved to guard following Preseason Week 3 after starting the last two seasons at left tackle. "I don't know exactly what the public perception is on him," Caldwell said. "I think he's a good starting NFL offensive lineman who's still growing. He has as much talent as anyone along the offensive line. This will be a little bit of a transition for him. He's played some very good football for us. He's had moments that haven't been as good, either, but Luke Joeckel can take us where we need to go." …

*The offensive line. Caldwell said he expects the unit "to have some physicality to it. These guys are maturing. I've noticed it in the preseason where I see them a lot more physical and a lot more aggressive."

*Prince Amukamara. Caldwell said while the team hasn't been surprised with the veteran cornerback since he signed as an unrestricted free agent from the Giants in March, "from the time he got here until now he has been one of our most improved guys." …

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