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I bounced five questions off of staff writer Ryan Day of Big Cat Country about the Detroit Lions' next preseason opponent, the Jacksonville Jaguars. Check out his answers below:
1. As a Michigan alumni, I am compelled to ask: How is Denard Robinson doing this year? Will he have a significant role with the Jaguars offense?
Denard Robinson's doing well, especially considering he ended last year with an injury and the Jaguars took a top-40 running back in T.J. Yeldon. New offensive coordinator Greg Olson is tailoring his scheme to fit many players really well, and Denard is one of those guys. He won't have the kind of role he had last year when the team leaned on him to be the starter, but he'll contribute in the committee approach the Jaguars are building with Yeldon, Denard, Toby Gerhart, and Bernard Pierce. Don't look for him to have 200 touches this season, but do look for him to contribute to more Jaguars wins this year.
2. Which rookie do you expect to have the biggest impact with the Jaguars in their first year?
Dante Fowler. No, I'm serious. If the Jaguars don't go nuclear and try to sign or trade for a pass rusher before the regular season starts, the pass rush will be this team's Achilles heel. Both head coach Gus Bradley and general manager Dave Caldwell knew pass rusher was their biggest need, which is why they took Fowler with the No. 3 overall pick, but right now we don't have anyone who can be "the guy" when it comes to sacking the quarterback. Defensive coordinator Bob Babich has been masterful at getting sacks, but the Jaguars are the worst in the league at getting consistent pressure on the quarterback. Fowler's absence means losses and his presence would mean wins... that's how bad the edge rusher position is for the Jaguars.
3. Are there any other young players poised to have a breakout year?
I'll go with Blake Bortles. His throwing mechanics look greatly improved, his offensive line is giving him more than enough time to throw the football, and his receiving corps is a year older. I don't think Bortles gets to a Pro Bowl level, but I do think he stops losing games for us and actually puts the team on his back in close situations this season.
4. What are your realistic expectations for the Jaguars this year? Also, what is one unrealistic expectation?
I think reasonable expectations are a functional offense that averages at least 6-8 more points per game than they did last year. In 2014, they were scoring 15.5 points per game. That's not even close to good enough. With the development of Bortles, as well as a stronger offensive line and Julius Thomas at tight end, realistic expectations would be a higher plays per drive average, more points per game, and a better than 31.9% third-down conversion ratio.
Unrealistic expectations, however, would be getting anywhere close to a .500 season. This is a team that, in my opinion, has a seven-win ceiling, and a good probability of 5-6 wins by season's end. If you're expecting the playoffs, you're going to be disappointed.
5. What is one thing people get constantly get wrong about the Jaguars or Jaguars fandom?
There are a lot of the stereotypical answers -- attendance, relocation, etc... -- but I think the one thing a lot of people miss is that we don't have rose-colored glasses on when it comes to our own coaches and players. We're extremely passionate, and our love for head coach Gus Bradley is clear to see, but we're not happy with where we are. And we're critical of Bradley, as well as some of the choices general manager Dave Caldwell has made in his three years with the team. We're very encouraged with the direction that Bradley, Caldwell, and owner Shad Khan have taken this franchise, but this fanbase has had some serious disagreements with the front office, including taking Luke Joeckel at No. 2 overall, not starting Blake Bortles right away, drafting Dante Fowler last year, and more.