The Bolles Bugle

The Bolles Bugle

The Bolles Bugle

The Jacksonville Jaguars are contenders, not pretenders

I know, I know. The loss to San Francisco recently was bad… really bad. I was straight up embarrassed to wear my Trevor Lawrence jersey that day. However, as bad as it was, the massacre that happened didn’t even crack the top ten worst losses of all time in Jaguars history. But losses of this caliber shouldn’t feel new to any true Jaguar fan. We know loss. We know humiliation. In fact, the only things that we Jaguar fans are familiar with winning are top picks in the draft. As a lifelong Jaguar fan whose first words were “Duuuuval,” I’ ve long stood strong with the team, through the good, bad, and the ugly. I hung with this team during the sad Gus Bradley era, the gloomy Doug Marrone era, and the horrid, short lived Urban Meyer era. 


I’ve always found excuses to distract me from the reality of our sad football team. “Jaguars vs. Refs!” “Refs got paid off!” “Next season is our season!” But this season… is this actually our season? Something this year is different. We’re a little over halfway through the season, and instead of fighting for the #1 overall pick in the draft, we are fighting for the #1 seed in the AFC. Currently the Jaguars have a 8-3 record, sit atop the AFC South, and have a respectable spot in the playoffs. So, should Jaguar fans buy into this hype, or should we lower our expectations so we aren’t let down like we have been many times in the past?  


I think we should buy into this hype and expect us to keep performing at the elite level we are playing at right now, and here’s why:


Adversity has always been present in Jacksonville. In recent memory, it has seemed that dealing with adversity is our biggest struggle. What makes coach Doug Pederson is so special because he has experience with it in his past. During his tenure coaching the Philadelphia Eagles, he took on a struggling team and won a Super Bowl ring doing it. When Coach Pederson arrived in Jacksonville, he preached three things to his players in his meetings: effort, adversity, and winning. And for the first time in a while, winning is what we did.


After the brutal 34-3 loss to San Francisco, the media quickly overreacted and changed their projection for Jaguars from Super Bowl contenders to Super Bowl pretenders. Everyone jumped to the conclusion that the Jaguars aren’t as good as their record indicates. Sports expert Craig Carton said, “With all due respect to the Jacksonville Jaguars… they are not one of the elite teams in the AFC.”


Why not? They are tied for the third best record in football. This team is top twelve in points per game, touchdowns, defensive takeaways, and points allowed. Also, the Jaguars are the last team in the NFL to be undefeated on the road. 


The Jaguars are one of the elite teams in the AFC, yet people are still not taking them seriously. 


Unlike in the past, the Jaguars have handled this recent adversity very well. In the past two weeks, the Jaguar’s balled out posting a +23 point differential, +1 turnover differential, and most importantly winning both hard earned games vs. the Tennessee Titans and the Houston Texans. QB Trevor Lawrence also has taken the media’s criticism well, posting career numbers in the past two games, throwing for a combined 626 yards, 3 passing touchdowns, and three rushing touchdowns. After the 34-14 victory over the Titans, Trevor tweeted “Y’all keep your opinions and we’ll keep finding ways to win.” 


Now looking ahead, the Jaguars only have six more games left in the regular season. The combined record of the remaining teams is 30-37. The Jags play a backup, two rookies, and a rookie backup. In those six remaining games, our toughest matchup (Ravens) is at the bank on Sunday Night Football. The last time the Jaguars played the Ravens, the Jags prevailed in an overtime thriller that sparked a lot of momentum during crunch time of our playoff push.


Am I saying that I am confident the Jaguars will finish the season 6-0 and win the Super Bowl? No, but, I really wouldn’t be shocked if we did. We know what this team is capable of, and we know we can compete with any of the other 31 teams in this league. 


Legendary FSU coach Bobby Bowden once said, “First you lose big. Then you lose close. Then you win close. Then you win big.” I think that sums up the state of the Jaguars currently. Right now is the time for the Jaguars, and the media isn’t ready to admit it.


So Jags fans, please don’t expect us to continue with our old ways, because it was always (and still is) the Jags!

About the Contributor
Jack Laufer, Contributing Writer
Jack Laufer is a freshman and first-year staffer. In his free time Jack enjoys playing and assistant coaching baseball, participating in Speech and Debate, and playing guitar. Jack hopes to gain strength in his writing and stay in touch with the news this year. Jack collects all types of sports jerseys and hopes to become a broadcaster in the future.