Exactly zero national outlets have picked the Jacksonville Jaguars to make the playoffs in 2015.
After winning just nine games over the past three seasons, and just 14 over the past four seasons, that's more than understandable.
Playing in one of the weakest divisions in the NFL, the Jaguars have the schedule for a potential turnaround, as does everyone else in the AFC South.
For that turnaround to happen, we will spotlight the five players who need to step up in 2015.
This is the obvious one. An NFL team is only as good as its quarterback and Blake Bortles was highly inconsistent as a rookie in 2014. Bortles has done plenty to improve his mechanics in the offseason, and that should help him make at least a small jump in his second season.
"I’ve got to continue to work on it, continue to improve it but it’s definitely night and day from this time last year,” Bortles said of his mechanics.
With former offensive coordinator Jedd Fisch jettisoned, Bortles will have to learn a completely new offense under Greg Olsen.
“Yeah I think it’s hard," the former third-overall pick explained. "It’s definitely hard to compare this year and last year. It’s definitely a different mindset even though you’re learning two offenses again over. It’s different because I’ve had a year in the NFL. I think I’ve learned some and have a lot more to learn and still have a lot more physically as well.”
With the additional weapons on the offensive side of the football, Bortles will have more options and should start to live up to his draft status.
So far, general manager Dave Caldwell's worst draft pick in terms of value has been Luke Joeckel. Joeckel has been one of the worst offensive tackles in football, and that needs to change this season if Blake Bortles and the Jaguars are going to have any offensive success.
The early returns have been good regarding Joeckel's improvement.
“I see great progress, I really do," said Jaguars associate head coach/offense Doug Marrone. "Not just out of him but out of everyone. He’s put on some extra weight which has been good weight, some lean muscle mass. Obviously it’s a challenge for all of us learning a new system, but I see him progressing and getting better each day. I’m excited with the direction that he’s going. Again, I think he feels the same way. There’s a confidence that you see out there. There’s still a level of inconsistency but we understand that right now. Again, it’s progressing in the right direction.”
If Joeckel has another poor season, he will have a difficult time shedding the "bust" label and an even tougher time holding on to his starting job.
The Jaguars middle linebacker and captain of the defense missed half of last season with a torn pectoral. Prior to the injury, Poz struggled mightily in coverage and was a defensive liability.
Amid rumors that he wouldn't be back in 2015, Posluszny re-worked his contract to make it more "team friendly" and he'll get another chance to become the tackling machine he was signed to be.
With the team still suffering from a major lack of depth at most positions, Poz needs to play well in 2015, not only for the Jaguars to improve upon 2014's 3-13 record, but to stay in the NFL.
Allen Robinson didn't have a bad rookie season, but his foot injury prevented him from ascending to being a legitimate No. 1 target.
A-Rob looked like the Jaguars most well-rounded wide receiver and he was beginning to find a rhythm with quarterback Blake Bortles prior to his injury as he averaged nearly six receptions per game over the final eight games of his season.
Although Marqise Lee was selected earlier than Robinson, it's Robinson who can be the possession type of receiver that Bortles so desperately needs.
Sen'Derrick Marks had a great season in 2014 and probably should have made the Pro Bowl. With that said, he tore his ACL in the team's final game and it might be a lot to ask but he needs to come back near 100 percent.
Although the Jaguars signed Jared Odrick in free agency, the team is left pretty thin on the defensive line and Marks was the team's best player last year.
The team needs Marks to be a dominant player sooner rather than later, and that might be a little too much to ask considering the timing of his injury.
5 Jaguars Who Need To Step Up In 2015
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