Marcedes Lewis (David Zalubowski/AP)
Before any team starts a season, there are always a handful of questions to answer. How will the quarterback play be? Will your top players stay injury free? Does your team have enough depth to overcome injuries?
There is seemingly an endless list of questions that coaches, fans and journalists alike will have about every team before a season begins. Usually, the more times you say “yes” the better. What really instills confidence though is when there aren’t even questions to answer.
There’s an old saying I like to refer to this team a year; “The less questions you have about a team, the better they will probably be,” or something like that. Of course, there are always teams that answer those questions (a la the 2007 Giants, who went from a mediocre team to Super Bowl champs). While there are teams that will rise from the ashes, it’s usually a safe bet to believe in a team that doesn’t have any huge questions regarding key personnel, injuries and experience.
With all that in mind, the Jacksonville Jaguars have a lot of questions and “ifs” that must be worked out. They absolutely should not be ruled of contention before the season even begins, but a position-by-position breakdown reveals that there’s an abundance of “ifs” an questions floating around out there. To further analyze how confidence fans should be of the team, we’ll take a look at each position’s positives, lingering questions and how the position should perform. We will follow this with an overall confidence level, running from 0-10, 10 being the highest.
Pressing Question: Can Marcedes Lewis take the next step from a very good tight end to an elite one?
Breakdown: When the Jaguars selected Marcedes Lewis with the 28th overall selection in 2006, he was expected to make an immediate contribution as a red zone target. His rookie campaign was hampered by a high-ankle sprain but when he returned to full health the following year, he emerged as one of the NFL’s best blocking tight ends. Lewis had some head-scratching drops last year but he also improved his production and could be on the verge of breaking out this year. He has two solid backups in Richard Angulo and Greg Estandia. Rookie Zach Miller has good size and athleticism but will make a transition from quarterback.
The Big If: If Lewis becomes a more integral part of Jacksonville’s offense and proves he can consistently catch the football, he could be a top five tight end.
Our Call: With solid depth at tight end, the Jaguars have some nice options to work with. Estandia has the potential to stretch the field down the seam and Angulo has the size to be a good blocker. Lewis should build on last season’s 489 yard performance, but he needs to become more consistent before he can be tagged as a potential Pro Bowler.
Confidence Rating: 7