Better, worse or same? Jaguars' offense could be entertaining

Jawaan Taylor reels in 400-pound grouper (2:19)

Jaguars OT Jawaan Taylor battles a 400-pound fish, eventually reeling in the massive grouper. (2:19)

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The Jacksonville Jaguars were, at times, a horror show on offense in 2019.

They were also pretty entertaining and effective at times, too.

If they’re going to have any chance at all of competing for the AFC South title in 2020, they’re going to have to figure out how to be more of the latter with pretty much the same personnel, plus a couple key additions in tight end Tyler Eifert and running back Chris Thompson.

There’s a new coordinator in Jay Gruden, who brings a West Coast-style attack. He’ll be the team’s fifth coordinator since 2015 and the fourth in the past three seasons. Maybe he’ll be able to generate more than the 18.8 points per game the Jaguars averaged last season.

So is the Jaguars' offense going to be better, worse or the same as it was in 2019? Here’s a position-by-position breakdown of the unit:


Additions: Mike Glennon (free agent), Jake Luton (draft)

Losses: Nick Foles

Returners: Gardner Minshew, Josh Dobbs

Better, worse or the same? Same

The Jaguars didn’t draft a quarterback until the sixth round, though there were rumors the team wanted to trade up into the top five. They passed on Jameis Winston and Cam Newton, and didn’t sign a veteran to replace Foles until May 8, so it’s clearly Minshew’s team. He went 6-6 as a starter and had the highest passer rating and fewest INTs among all qualifying rookie QBs last season. The feeling is he’ll be a good fit in Gruden’s offense. This is his chance to prove he can be the team’s long-term starter.

Running back

Additions: Nathan Cottrell (undrafted free agent), Connor Slomka (undrafted free agent), Tavien Feaster (undrafted free agent), James Robinson (undrafted free agent), Chris Thompson (free agent)

Losses: Jeremy McNichols

Returners: Ryquell Armstead, Leonard Fournette, Devine Ozigbo

Better, worse, or the same? Better

Fournette had a bounce-back season in 2019, compiling 1,674 yards from scrimmage and leading the Jaguars in rushing and receptions. He only scored three TDs and struggled in the red zone, and the Jaguars need him back to his rookie form in that area (10 TDs). Thompson should help significantly as a third-down back, which should take some of that burden off Fournette. Armstead and Ozigbo flashed in the 2019 season finale when Fournette was out, which was encouraging.

Wide receiver

Additions: Laviska Shenault (draft), Collin Johnson (draft), Josh Hammond (undrafted free agent), Marvelle Ross (undrafted free agent), Terry Godwin (free agent)

Losses: None

Returners: C.J. Board, DJ Chark, Keelan Cole, Chris Conley, Michael Walker, Dede Westbrook

Better, worse or the same? Same

Chark had a breakout season and made the Pro Bowl, Conley set a career high with 47 catches last season and Westbrook caught 66 passes despite playing the season with a bad shoulder. That’s a good nucleus. Cole came on at the end of the year after not getting much time early, and he gives the Jaguars four reliable, experienced targets. It will be interesting to see what the team does with Shenault, their second-round pick. Coach Doug Marrone wants to use him as a running back, receiver, tight end and Wildcat quarterback, but that will depend on how well Shenault assimilates to the new offense despite having only a virtual offseason. It might be best to temper expectations for Shenault and all rookies because of that.

Tight end

Additions: Tyler Eifert (free agent), Tyler Davis (draft), Ben Ellefson (undrafted free agent)

Losses: Ben Koyack, Seth DeValve, Nick O’Leary

Returners: James O’Shaughnessy, Josh Oliver, Charles Jones

Better, worse or the same:? Better

Eifert played a full season in 2019 for the first time in his career (he played 15 games as a rookie in 2013 but missed 52 games from 2014-18). If he stays healthy, the Jaguars will have a legitimate threat at the position for the first time since Julius Thomas caught 46 passes in 2015. O’Shaughnessy had emerged as the top tight end early last season but suffered a torn ACL in Week 5. The team was really high on Oliver as a rookie last season but hamstring and back injuries limited him to just four games. He has a lot to prove. There's better depth at the position than the Jaguars have had in a long time.

Offensive line

Additions: Ben Bartch (draft), Steven Nielsen (undrafted free agent), Tre’Vour Wallace-Sims (undrafted free agent)

Losses: Cedric Ogbuehi

Returners: A.J. Cann, Tyler Gauthier, Blake Hance, Brandon Linder, KC McDermott, Andrew Norwell, Ryan Pope, Will Richardson, Cam Robinson, Tyler Shatley, Jawaan Taylor

Better, worse or the same? Same

The Jaguars believe their offensive line is one of the team’s strengths. but there isn’t a single Pro Bowl player in the bunch. Norwell was All-Pro in 2017 but hasn’t come close to matching that performance or living up to the enormous contract the Jaguars gave him; his $12 million salary in 2020 is third-highest on the team. Taylor showed a lot of promise as a rookie right tackle last season but he also tied for the NFL lead with 15 penalties. Robinson got better as the season progressed and he returned from a torn ACL. Richardson, who split time with Cann at right guard last season, has been moved to left tackle to compete with Robinson. Bartch is an intriguing prospect out of St. John’s University in Minnesota who can play tackle and guard, but he’s likely a year away from pushing for a starting job.