In an ongoing offseason series, experts from The 33rd Team offer three things each team can do to improve in 2023.
AFC: BAL | BUF | CIN | CLE | HOU | IND | KC | LAC | LV | MIA | NE | NYJ | PIT | TEN
NFC: ATL | CAR | DAL | DET | GB | LAR | MIN | NYG | PHI | SEA | SF | TB
Here is my list of three things that would improve the Jacksonville Jaguars.
3 Ways to Improve Jaguars
1. Trevor Lawrence Must Level Up
Trevor Lawrence needs to play his way into the top tier of NFL quarterbacks, and that doesn’t happen overnight. Nearly all of the league’s best young quarterbacks have already taken their teams to the Super Bowl — Patrick Mahomes, Joe Burrow, Jalen Hurts. They’re putting pressure on these younger quarterbacks like Lawrence.
So the bar has been raised, and he needs to show that talent he showed at Clemson. Pair that with the talent they’ve placed around him, and he can get the job done. It’s going to be tough. AFC teams have a tough path to make it to the Super Bowl.
But this is what Lawrence is going to have to do. His legacy has been that of one of the better quarterbacks in college football. Now he’s got to take it to that level in the NFL.
2. Time for ‘Big Three’ Receivers to Emerge
Calvin Ridley, Christian Kirk, and Zay Jones need to become the big three of that offense. They need to give defenses hell on a weekly basis. Kirk and Jones flashed consistently last season. Ridley was one of the better route runners in the league with the Atlanta Falcons. He had to sit out last year due to a suspension for gambling.
I’m not sure what’s going to happen with tight end Evan Engram, so I won’t include him right now. But as long as they have those three dogs at wide receiver, I think the Jags’ offense will put a lot of stress on opposing defenses. They could become the dominant team in the AFC South.
3. Defense Must Generate Splash Plays
They need more splash plays on defense. They had the seventh-fewest sacks in the league last year. They’re middle of the pack in interceptions. The defense showed flashes down the stretch. Safety Rayshawn Jenkins made a bunch of great plays, starting with the overtime win against the Dallas Cowboys in Week 15, and they carried on through the playoffs. But they need that consistency every week.
If you look at the Houston Texans and the Indianapolis Colts, more than likely, they’re going to have young quarterbacks starting in 2023. I’m not sure what the Tennessee Titans are going to do with Ryan Tannehill. Maybe they’ll go with Malik Willis or try to adjust their quarterback situation another way. But the Titans’ quarterbacks didn’t compete at the level they were expected to in 2022.
So if the defense balls out, and Lawrence and those receivers take it to the next level, the Jaguars are set up for running the AFC South again.