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The Jacksonville Jaguars 12 Gifts of Christmas

The Jacksonville Jaguars 2021 season is coming to a close and Christmas is upon us. Here are 12 gifts to improve the team for next season.
Jacksonville Jaguars

The Jacksonville Jaguars 2021 season is coming to a close. The team currently sits at 2-12 with three games left. Christmas is upon us and while Jaguars fans might not be feeling cheery about the team, there are some things Shad Khan and company can do to improve for the future. From a better front office, better coaching staff, and upgrades to the roster below are the 12 gifts of Christmas for the team. If the Jaguars can make changes similar to the ones below, fans will be happier next December.

The Jacksonville Jaguars 12 Gifts of Christmas

A New Front Office and Coaching Staff

1. Khan Should Hire an Executive Vice President of Football Operations (EVP)

Khan recently celebrated 10 years as owner of the Jags. There have been some ups, but mostly downs as it relates to the football aspect of owning the team. It’s obvious Khan needs someone with high football acumen to help run the operation in Jacksonville. He should hire someone such as Tony Dungy or Jim Caldwell to run the football operations for the team. He probably doesn’t have time to do this before hiring the next coach. However, Khan would do well to consult with Dungy or Caldwell for the hiring process.

2. Fire Trent Baalke and Hire a New General Manager

This one should be obvious, but Khan is a patient man. Baalke is a retread GM who had issues in his previous stint with the San Francisco 49ers. Baalke was an assistant under Dave Caldwell (the previous Jaguars GM) and hasn’t proven he can field a good roster in his short time with the team. Though the Jaguars had many draft picks in 2021, most have been limited this season and have made very little impact on the team. It’s time for a clean slate.

3. Hire the Right Head Coach

Hiring the right head coach will be hard. Khan hasn’t employed a head coach with the ability to succeed yet. Mike Mularkey, Gus Bradley, Doug Marrone, and Urban Meyer all failed for different reasons. You can’t blame Khan for trying different strategies. Mularkey was an offensive coordinator and one-time head coach. Bradley was a young defensive coordinator. Marrone was a previous head coach. Lastly, Meyer was one of the winningest head coaches in collegiate history. But they all failed.

Khan must consult with a great football mind to get this hire right. The franchise’s future depends on it. Trevor Lawrence needs a coach who can develop him into the top-tier passer that he has the potential to be. If Khan gets this hire wrong, it could ruin Lawrence and set the team back years.

4. Hire a Better Offensive Coaching Staff

This duty will fall on the new head coach. Moreover, it will be one of the most significant decisions the next head coach will make. According to TeamRankings, the Jags are averaging 14 points per game this season, which is last in the league. They need a spark on offense. The receivers have too many drops this season. Lawrence needs a good quarterbacks coach. The list goes on. While the defense could be a bright spot, the offense needs a complete overhaul.

The Jacksonville Jaguars Should be Active in Free Agency

The Jacksonville Jaguars must be active in free agency this offseason. As of this writing, the Jags will have over $71 million to use in cap space next year. They’ll have the third-most cap space in the league.

5. Sign Terron Armstead

Terron Armstead is an offensive tackle for the New Orleans Saints. He will be 31 at the start of the 2022 season, but he’s been in the Pro Bowl each of the last three seasons. Armstead would be an instant upgrade on the offensive line and would allow the team to trade or release the struggling Jawaan Taylor. Signing Armstead would allow Little the time to grow into his role on the line and the team could either retain Cam Robinson and slide him to right tackle, or let him go in free agency.

6. Sign Chander Jones

Chandler Jones is a defensive end for the Arizona Cardinals. He’ll be 32 at the start of next season, but like Armstead, is still playing at a high level. Jones was selected to the Pro Bowl for his efforts this season. Through week 15, Jones has 9.5 sacks. Adding Jones would help strengthen the Jags defense and perhaps help Josh Allen get to the quarterback more often.

7. Sign Michael Gallup

To be clear, the Jaguars should write a blank check to Davante Adams this off-season. However, signing Adams is a bit unrealistic for Jacksonville. Michael Gallup would be a great addition to the team. He’ll be 26 at the start of the 2022 season, and would instantly be the second-best receiver on the team, assuming the Jags re-sign DJ Chark. Gallup is a talented receiver, but he’ll likely be looking for a new team next year as he’s below Amari Cooper and CeeDee Lamb on the Dallas Cowboys depth chart.

8. Sign Marcus Williams

Marcus Williams is the second Saints player on this list. He’s also the third player on this list who’s on PFF’s 2022 Top 75 Free Agents List. The Jaguars have the ability to take two talented players from the Saints, as they are projected to be over $60 million over the cap next year. Williams would be the best safety on the Jags and push younger players such as Andre Cisco and Daniel Thomas to reach their potential.

Draft Players to Protect and Help Lawrence

9. Draft Evan Neal

In this scenario, the Jaguars added Jones in free agency would not be in the market for either of the top two defensive ends. While they’ve also added Armstead in free agency, protecting Lawrence should be priority number one for Jacksonville. Neal is one of the top offensive tackles in the 2022 draft class. The 6’7″ 351 pounder plays for Alabama and hails from Okeechobee, FL. He’s versatile, as he’s played at both tackle spots on the line and has experience at left guard.

10. Draft Drake London

London is a 6’5″ 210 lb. wide receiver out of USC. He suffered a season-ending ankle injury but is one of the top pass catchers in the upcoming draft. He had 88 receptions for 1088 yards and seven scores in eight games for the Trojans this year. Besides a lineman to protect him, Lawrence also needs talent at the wideout position to help him succeed. London looks to be an athlete who can do that.

Improve Offensively

Offensive Improvement starts with better coaches. Once the Jaguars get better coaches and add pieces in free agency and the draft, they should do two things. Develop Lawrence and commit to the run game.

11. Develop Trevor Lawrence

Through 14 games, Lawrence has thrown for 2,945 yards, nine touchdowns, and 14 interceptions. He’s completed 58.1 percent of his passes. For comparison, Lawrence never completed less than 65 percent of his passes in college. He completed 69.2 percent of his passes in his junior season. He’s playing against better competition in the NFL now. The young quarterback needs some mentors to mold him into what he can be. The quarterback coach, the offensive coordinator, and the head coach must all work to develop Lawrence into the “generational” talent that he was thought to be coming into the league.

12. Commit to the run Game

The Jaguars must commit to the run game in the 2022 season. This season has been a weird one thanks to Meyer. The team drafted Clemson standout Travis Etienne even though they already had James Robinson, who had an amazing rookie season as an undrafted free agent. Though Etienne was hurt, the team did not feature Robinson the way it could have. They opted to play Carlos Hyde while benching Robinson at times. Frankly, some of this was likely favoritism on Meyer’s part. Hyde played at Ohio State, after all. At any rate, the team can fix this mistake next season.

The Jaguars can commit to the run game by employing Robinson and Etienne similar to the way the Saints used Mark Ingram and Alvin Kamara. Etienne could provide a spark to the offense when he finally sees the field. He’s fast and should provide some comfort to Lawrence, his former college teammate. Robinson is more of a workhorse back and will get good yardage when called upon. Fully committing to the run game will be good for the offense overall and should also take some pressure off of Lawrence.

The Jacksonville Jaguars Must Capitalize on the Off-Season

The above 12 “gifts” would be a step in the right direction for a franchise that has been looking for direction for some time. Granted, the Jags will likely choose different options in free agency and the draft. However, the sentiment is this: With the right front office and coaching changes, the team can make moves to improve and set themselves up for future success. Jaguars fans must hope Khan makes some good decisions. If he does, perhaps the Jaguars will be in playoff contention sooner than later.

Main Photo: Embed from Getty Images


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