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Making Even More of a Case to Jump on the Bandwagon


After hearing from folks around the country, I’ve come to realize that the Jaguars are poised to have more fans jumping on the bandwagon than at the start of any other season in franchise history. And while the bandwagon often carries with it a negative connotation (SEE fair-weather fans) for this team it can only be a good thing. With rumors swirling of the franchise’s uncertain future in Jacksonville, fan and media attention is more important than ever. Training camp begins today so for all the undecided, here are three reasons you should seriously consider joining the Teal and Black Bus. After I’ve convinced you, next week I’ll offer three reasons you may be in for a bumpy ride.

WINNING: First of all, you should hop on board now cause this train just might go all the way to the Super Bowl. By definition, bandwagons follow a winner and this team is going to be just that. In 2007, the Jaguars displayed a winning mentality. The offense struggled at times while the defense was porous at others, yet they found a way to win on most weekends. Believe it or not, the inconsistent Jags won the games they were supposed to win, showing poise that they’d lacked from the turn of the century. In David Garrard, the team found their first legitimate star quarterback since the peak of Mark Brunell’s career. Last January they nearly challenged the Pats for AFC supremacy, and might have pulled the upset if not for a couple dropped “touchdown” passes and an inability to get in Tom Brady’s zip code. Heading into this season, it looks like they’ve only gotten better.

EXCITEMENT: Bandwagoners are attracted by exciting teams, and while the bottom line is to win, it helps to do it in an exciting way. The receiving corps received a boost of speed with the acquisition of Jerry Porter from Oakland and Troy Williamson from Minnesota. While Porter will miss all of the pre-season to recover from hamstring surgery, if either he or fellow wideout Mike Walker (knee) can successfully rehabilitate and live up to expectations, the Jaguars will see an immediate improvement in the passing game. Speedsters Williamson and John Broussard also have the ability to stretch any defense. If the Jags’ can produce a legitimate passing attack, that will only facilitate the running game; a very scary thought indeed. Fred Taylor and Maurice Jones-Drew still have the ability to score on every touch and Garrard is certainly one of the most exciting quarterbacks to watch working with his feet. On defense this team brought in the aggressive Gregg Williams to direct the unit and he should have enough weapons to suit his attacking style of play. Explosive rookie ends Derrick Harvey and Quentin Groves were drafted with one job: get to the quarterback. That’s quite a burden on their young shoulders, but they should be aided by second-year players Reggie Nelson and Justin Durant, who figure to factor often in WIlliams’ schemes to get pressure on the passer. This team should be fun to watch on both sides of the ball.

COLLEGE AFFILIATION: If you’re part of the Gator Nation it’s hard not to be a Jaguar fan right now. Stars Fred Taylor and Mike Peterson both spent their college years playing in the Swamp, as did Nelson and Harvey. A fifth Gator, DE Jeremy Mincey, will be hoping for a roster spot as he sits out training camp on the PUP list. On top of that, this team has a decidedly Floridian flavor with RB Greg Jones, WR Mike Walker, and CBs Trae Williams and Rashean Mathis representing FSU, UCF, USF, and Bethune-Cookman respectively. Add DBs Jamaal Fudge and Drayton Florence to the list that grew up in Florida and you truly have Florida’s team. College fans out in LA might want to keep an eye on the little stat-machine, Jones-Drew, as well as his Bruin counterpart TE Marcedes Lewis, who figures to play an even more prominent role this season. And their cross-town rivals will be interested in following the two USC products picked up by the Jags in the later rounds of this year’s draft. Trojans LB Thomas Williams and RB Chauncey Washington will be battling to impress head coach, and fellow USC-alum, Jack Del Rio to secure a place on the team.

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