In part three of three part season recap, I will give out my team awards and discuss areas that the Jaguars need accomplish.
End of Season Awards
Offensive Rookie of the Year: None.
6th round pick, QB Brandon Allen did not play at all. He was the only offensive player drafted in the 2016 class. Also none of the undrafted rookies who were signed made any significant contributions.
Offensive Player of the Year: Marqise Lee.
He did just about everything accept punt and kick field goals.
Lee was second in receiving yards (851) and had 3 touchdowns.
Marqise was 1 for 1 for 20 yards and a touchdown as a passer.
Lee had an exciting 100 yard kickoff return for a touchdown.
Defensive Rookie of the Year: Yannick Ngakoue.
Yep that’s right I went against the grain, and all the Jaguar fans who are also FSU fans who wanted Jalen Ramsey. This was a tough choice and no one could go wrong with either one of these young players who will be the foundation of the defense, along with Myles Jack, another rookie.
Named to the Pro Football Writers Association’s 2016 All-Rookie Team
I gave the nod to Yannick because he led the team in forced fumbles (4), and sacks (8). He set the franchise record for sacks by a rookie. He also had 1 interception, 20 tackles and assisted on 3 others.
Defensive Player of the Year: Jalen Ramsey.
To me, the last two games of the regular season defined the REAL Jalen Ramsey. Whereas, Gus Bradley, held back the aggressiveness of the former FSU standout, Doug Marrone let him be the player he is.
Ramsey usually covered the best opposing team wide receiver. He was tied for first in interceptions with 2 (tied with Telvin Smith) one of which was returned for a touchdown, was 4th in tackles and was the clear cut leader in passes deflected.
Named to the Pro Football Writers Association’s 2016 All-Rookie Team.
Ramsey will be the best player from the draft of 2016.
Most Valuable Player: Allen Robinson.
Being doubled team, and having the best defensive back up against you, grabbing and holding you, is not easy, as was evident by the drop off in his stats from last year. Okay, Bortles erratic passing didn’t help, yet, he still led the team in receiving yards (883) and touchdown (6).
Areas that need improvement
I’ll will start with the quarterback Blake Bortles. 2016 was a nightmare for the YOUNGSTER. I will admit I was for benching Blake after week 5. He played like there was no competition on the team, and that might be true. But, not giving Henne a chance because he hasn’t played all year is a lame excuse. Just remember the Jaguars were up 20-8 and Brock Osweiler threw his second interception of the game and on the next Houston series the Texans benched him. Then Houston comes back to beat the Jaguars 21-20.
For Blake Bortles, there has to be some hope that he will turn it around and have a great career with the Jaguars. He does have the size and the arm strength, He even can run with the ball.
After the season Bortles announced that he played this season with two shoulder separations and wrist tendonitis. Please, his play suffered and it hurt the team. If the team new about these injuries then he should have sat out.
16 interception were tied for the 4 most this year (Manning and Osweiler).
Upgrading the Offensive Line:
It is hard to justify the need to upgrade the line when this unit dramatically reduced the number of sacks Blake Bortles had. It also increased the rushing game by 10 yards per game. Yet it might be more about having the unit play all 16 games together. Just take a look at the number of games missed by the unit not just this year but last year too. Depth needs to be addressed.
Upgrading the Pass Rush
How many times do Jaguar fans need to hear this? 36 sacks in 2015 and 33 sacks in 2016. These totals are in the bottom half of the NFL.
The 2015 Jacksonville selected Dante Fowler Jr, Michael Bennett in the draft, and Eric Crume was an undrafted player in camp. 2016 seen the Jaguars draft Yannick Ngakoue, Sheldon Day and Johnathan Woodard. Also, the Jaguars signed undrafted rookie Pearce Slater.
Ngakoue easily out played Fowler and the rest of the group. Day has promise. Bennett and Woodard did not see any action due to injuries. Slater and Crume never made the roster.
Malik Jackson improved as the season progressed, Alualu a steady player, nothing flashy. Sen’Derrick Marks fits in as a rotational DT, while Abry Jones while playing 16 games did not do anything to embarrass himself on the field.
Tom Coughlin likes to win the battle of the trenches, if that is the case then the team might go after a defensive lineman or end.
Change Donte Fowler Jr position
How would Fowler look at LB? He should have no problem covering the TE or running back. Can you see the linebackers being Dante Fowler Jr. and Telvin Smith at outside linebacker, and Myles Jack at inside linebacker? It could happen. Then Poslusky and Pullard rotate in as needed.
Shut Down Safety
If the Jaguars sign Cyprien do they really need another safety? This was Johnathan’s best season as a Jaguar.