Calais Campbell: Jags have 'every piece to the puzzle'
“I knew there was a lot of talent here, but I was surprised how talented these guys were,” Campbell said, via the team’s official website.
He added: “I truly believe this team has every piece to the puzzle. We don’t need anything else.”
Campbell is correct. When you look at the Jags on paper they appear stacked.
The defense could be the stingiest unit in the NFL. The secondary boasts two lockdown corners in Jalen Ramsey and A.J. Bouye. Tashaun Gipson and Barry Church provide rangy experience at safety. The linebacking corps of Telvin Smith, Paul Posluszny and Myles Jack owns sideline-to-sideline playmaking ability. The defensive tackle tandem of Campbell and Malik Jackson will destroy interior offensive lines. And young edge rushers Dante Fowler and Yannick Ngakoue both bring promise and athleticism. That’s just the starting group.
On offense, Allen Robinson, Allen Hurns and Marqise Lee are a dynamic receiving trio. The offensive line is solid, and could be upgraded if Branden Albert ever reports. First-round running back Leonard Fournette brings a bulldozing, workhorse back to Jacksonville, who should be able to balance out the offense immediately.
The only question that remains is quarterback Blake Bortles.
Ay, there is the rub. The Jags biggest question mark is at the most important position in sports. Bortles has the chance to redeem his career this season. He could also sink what is otherwise a playoff roster.
For Campbell, the Jags’ depth of talent will make the difference.
“I knew the team was very talented, but getting here and working with the guys and seeing the drills we do and how athletic the team is … this team is very athletic,” he said. “You just look at the depth. There’s a competition factor, bringing in guys competing for starting roles. And I wouldn’t say I was surprised by it, but the team is young. I knew that coming in, but the team is young. There are a lot of guys in that fourth or fifth year. There aren’t a lot of guys in that seven-plus range.”
Sunny articles in May about Jacksonville is nothing new. For the umpteenth year, the Jags feel like a team that can make a move toward a playoff spot. On paper, quarterback appears to be their only weakness. Football games have never been played on paper.