When you’re the Jacksonville Jaguars and you log one puny victory over the course of an entire campaign, you’re bound to annoy people.
The fans are irked. The players feel a drifting sense of meaninglessness. The children of Jaguars coaches are nonplussed to switch schools for the fourth time in seven years after the entire staff is ejector-seated out of town come January.
Nobody wins — except for the guys who replace the guys.
Urban Meyer isn’t required to answer burning questions about last year’s 1-15 sewage spill. The college coaching icon’s résumé speaks for itself and he isn’t aiming for a five-year rebuild, announcing when he took the job: “I’m not going to jump into a situation where I don’t believe we can win.”
Meyer will learn firsthand about the rugged and unforgiving nature of the NFL, but he has more going for him than your average newbie. Trevor Lawrence, the first overall pick, is the most celebrated signal-calling prospect since Andrew Luck — with more than a few intriguing pieces around him. Marvin Jones, D.J. Chark and Laviska Shenault Jr. form a solid gaggle of pass catchers. 2020 breakout star James Robinson and rookie Travis Etienne loom as a spicy backfield duo, with the latter reportedly “uncoverable” catching passes in camp as a multi-position chess piece with home run potential.
The Jaguars finished 1-6 in one-score games last season and live inside a division with the melting Texans and a Colts team down on its luck. I wouldn’t be shocked to see Jacksonville win eight games, but more immediately, there’s this: The Jaguars are one of August’s most fascinating new-look operations.
Last year’s annoyance has morphed into hope. Lofty anticipation built around a surfer-haired star under center and a big-name coach determined to show he belongs. The Meyer-Lawrence journey begins Saturday evening at home (7 p.m. ET on NFL Network) against a surging Browns team that knows how quickly 1-15 can turn into something more attractive.