Colts Season Preview: Weeks 1-4
By Evan Reller
Aug 14, 2015; Jacksonville, FL, USA; Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback Blake Bortles (5) calls a play at the line during the first half of a preseason NFL football game against the Pittsburgh Steelers at EverBank Field. Mandatory Credit: Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports
The Jags head into year two of the Blake Bortles project. While his rookie campaign wasn’t that great, he should show signs of improvement as the game slows down in his sophomore season. It also helps that they have a new offensive coordinator and some new toys for Bortles to play with (as well as a few receivers returning from injury). So much of this season hinges on the development of Bortles, and I’d be extremely worried about the “dead arm” he was reportedly suffering from in the last few weeks of 2014.
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The Jaguars improved the offensive line and added a real running back to the mix by drafting T.J. Yeldon (not a QB turned RB like Denard Robinson). Tight end Julius Thomas was signed in free agency, but it remains to be seen if he is good or just a product of Peyton Manning‘s greatness. Bortles will also have three second-year wideouts to throw the ball to as the Jags hope to build around that 2014 draft class.
The Jags defense, which wasn’t exactly stout last season, doesn’t look to be much improved in 2015. First round pick Dante Fowler is out for the year, and would have been a perfect fit for their defense. The Jags have a mid- to lower-half of the league defense but that will keep them in games as long as the offense makes its expected improvement.
With a tough opening slate of games, the Jags could be desperate for a win at this point. This becomes a classic trap game as the Colts have to head to Houston the following Thursday. That said, it is still a home game for the Colts and one they should win easily.
Last season, the Colts had the Jags and Titans in back-to-back weeks. They won both games by a combined 85-34 with Andrew Luck tossing eight touchdowns. Both of those teams have improved, but so have the Colts and Luck. The Jags and Titans are fighting up a hill that keeps getting taller and this will be a tough game for the Jags to come away with a win.