Five things Jaguars fans should watch for in Week One

Zach Yearwood, Sports Reporter

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The Jaguars will kick off their season Sunday at home against the Kansas City Chiefs. The Chiefs won the last matchup 30-14 last season. Here are five things to look out for on Sunday:

 

Nick Foles’ performance 

At the end of the 2018 season, Jaguars’ general manager Tom Coughlin and company decided to pull the trigger on quarterback Nick Foles, giving him a four year $88M deal, with the possibility to make up to $102M with additional incentives. Coughlin and head coach Doug Marrone have their guy. Can Foles step up and lead the team like he did with the Philadelphia Eagles on their way to Super Bowl LIV?

Jalen Ramsey vs Tyreek Hil

Last week, Jaguars defensive coordinator, Todd Wash, said that the team’s star cornerback, Jalen Ramsey, will shadow Tyreek Hill in the season opener. A year ago, Ramsey called Hill a ‘return specialist’ in a press conference where he trash-talked several players around the league.

In their previous matchup, Hill was only able to get two catches over Ramsey for about 40 yards. One of those catches was a 36-yard reception where Hill was able to show off his speed.

 Ramsey is one of the top cornerbacks in the NFL, playing in the Pro Bowl twice in his first three seasons and he was also named All-Pro one year. Tyreek Hill is a tier one wide receiver, who had 1,479 receiving yards last year with 12 scores last season. The matchup on Sunday should be interesting to watch.

Young Jaguars’ receiving corps

 

 

After weeks of training camp and preseason, the number one receiver for the Jags is still anyone’s position to claim. Nick Foles and Chris Conley have had a connection at practice. The former Chiefs teammates could look make an impact in Sunday’s game. 

Dede Westbrook could also play a crucial role for the Jaguars on Sunday. The third-year receiver from Oklahoma put up 717 yards on 66 receptions last season.

Other players fighting in the position battle include Marqise Lee, DJ Chark and Keelan Cole.

Despite injuries, the tight end battle is one to watch as well. There are currently only two tight ends on the Jaguars’ depth chart – Geoff Swaim and rookie Josh Oliver. Swaim currently has the starting spot but the competition between the two could heat up as the season progresses.

 

Offensive line

 

In front of the new quarterback is the now healthy offensive line. Last season, the Jaguars’ line was devastated by injuries. By the end of the season there was only one starter from Week 1 playing: right guard A.J. Cann. Left tackle, Cam Robinson went down in Week 2 with a torn ACL; center Brandon Linder also went on injured reserve in week 9 with a knee injury and missed the rest of the season. To make matters worse, left guard Andrew Norwell missed five games with a foot injury. 

The addition of former Florida Gator Jawaan Taylor at right tackle should make the line more well-rounded and should help establish a better running game.

If the offensive line stays healthy this season, the Jaguars have the potential to make a deep run into the playoffs.

 

Leonard Fournette

 

After a disappointing 2018 campaign, the Jaguars’ young running back expects to bounce back in 2019. 

Last season, Fournette played in only eight games and rushed for a meager 439 yards on 3.3 yards per carry. He was suspended one game because of a sideline altercation that took place against the Buffalo Bills and missed seven due to injury.

The Jaguars and Fournette are optimistic about the upcoming season. The team hired a new offensive coordinator to call plays and Fournette reportedly showed up to training camp at the lowest weight he’s been since high school.

Very few running backs get taken within the first five picks of an NFL draft. Leonard Fournette is on a small list of active running backs in that category which includes Ezekiel Elliott and Saquon Barkley. The former LSU star needs to step up this season for the Jaguars to be successful and he will look to show his improvement in Week One. .

Kickoff is scheduled for Sunday at 1:00 PM EST.

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