This time last year there were many doubts circling about the wide receiver corps for the Jacksonville Jaguars. However, entering 2020, the group has an identity and is led by wide receiver coach Keenan McCardell. There are three reasons why the Jaguars receivers group has the tools to be one of the most productive wide receiver corps in the league.
Three Reasons Why Jacksonville Jaguars Receivers Will Be Productive in 2020
After last season, the team now has a true number one option with explosive Pro Bowler D.J. Chark on the outside. He is perhaps the first number one receiver entering a season since Allen Robinson II. Complementing Chark is a pair of veterans in Chris Conley and Dede Westbrook. Additionally, the Jaguars saw the need to expand the group and added talent in this year’s draft with Laviska Shenault Jr. and Collin Johnson.
It certainly seems as though the cupboard is full for new offensive coordinator Jay Gruden. That is certainly a new notion in Jacksonville. Speed, height, and leadership are the skills the group possesses. Due to the lack of preparation time this off-season, it will be up to the coaching staff to get the group ready to navigate a new offense. Nevertheless, the talent is there and the passion to succeed among the group is also present.
Despite some of the recent rule changes in the league, there is still one constant. The game is played with one football at a time. Each receiver wants his share of targets and time on the field. There will be a competition for the second through the fifth spot of the rotation. Competition grows a desire to achieve excellence.
After a career season, Conley appears to be the front-runner for the second slot. However, he will need to improve on his consistency. Westbrook will look to rebound from a disappointing 2019 season and be in the mix for more targets. But they are not alone.
The wildcard will be rookie Shenault and his natural gifts. He brings a unique blend of speed and strength that has offensive coaches excited in Jacksonville. Shenault will compete with Westbrook on the underneath routes and with Conley for the targets over the top of the defense.
Gardner Minshew Free Reign
This off-season, the Jaguars decided to roll with second-year quarterback Gardner Minshew II. This declaration from the front office removed the restraints for Minshew. Despite going 6-6 as a rookie last season, Minshew was hindered by conservative play-calling at different points in the year. Too often the staff did not allow him to be creative and make a play in close games, particularly against the Houston Texans and New Orleans Saints.
Since the early part of 2020, Minshew has a new mindset as the starting quarterback. He is a starter for an NFL franchise and with that comes the spotlight. The coaching staff also changed their mindset and is giving the offense to Minshew. This will create more opportunities for all of the receivers both down the field and underneath. With an off-season to review the entire playbook, Minshew will have the confidence of the staff and his receivers to make plays.
Last Word on Jaguars Receivers
The Jaguars receivers come into 2020 flying under the radar. However, that should not be the case. The group has more talent than previous years and they will compete for targets on a weekly basis. With a confident Minshew at quarterback, the group will turn some heads this season, which is exactly what is needed to convert third downs and red zone opportunities for Jacksonville.