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Cyprien: Jaguars will be a problem for opponents

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Jacksonville lost to a slightly better Falcons team fighting to keep their playoff hopes alive on Sunday. Yet, the Jags were once again treated like the hapless franchise they were four years ago, with no recognition of how far they've really come.

In the Florida Times-Union, it was a piece about how the Jaguars are what their record says, a 5-9 football team. It hinges on some old Bill Parcells quotes and the same eye-rolling here we go again language that unfortunately contributes to the culture of rapid-firing coaches and executives we have in this league.

But in the piece, safety Johnathan Cyprien said what many around the football world are thinking. This team went from fortunate schedule stop to legitimately tough opponent. They could finish the season at 6-10 or 7-9, giving the franchise its most wins in a year since 2010.

"We have to get better as we get older," said Cyprien. "I promise you, we're going to be a problem for somebody in the future."

In Jacksonville, it's probably easy to get caught up in the slog of a regime change. Each one promises it will be better than the last, but in reality, Tom Coughlin isn't walking through that door again.

However, they need to start looking at the bigger picture. After Maurice Jones-Drew, the franchise's most popular players were punters, kickers and mascots. When new general manager Dave Caldwell arrived, he inherited a roster so historically bereft of talent that he nearly turned over all 53 spots.

And in that time, Blake Bortles has risen to become the sixth-most productive quarterback in football. He is fifth in touchdowns. Allen Robinson and Allen Hurns are both top 25 receivers, and Robinson is tied with Odell Beckham and Doug Baldwin for the NFL's lead in receiving touchdowns.

If all of this is not proof that the Jaguars are far better, or at least more encouraging than a 5-9 football team, then maybe those complaining are just too soured on the past.

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