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Jaguars GM Dave Caldwell rebuts tanking talk: 'Don't count these players out'

Jacksonville's busy offseason created a public perception not shared by those within the organization.

The consensus opinion regarding the flurry of moves that sent away players once believed to be in the team's future plans suggests that the team is tanking the 2020 season. Gardner Minshew flatly addressed and promptly dismissed the notion on Thursday but, as the season draws near, that conversation will only get louder, even moreso if the Jaguars get off to a bad start.

As of Saturday's cutdown deadline, Jacksonville now boasts the youngest roster in the NFL, a distinction that will come with an additional set of growing pains on top of building on-field chemistry in the midst of an unusual season. General manager Dave Caldwell wants to see how all the turnover translates on the football field before conceding mediocrity.

"Before we decide where we are or where we stand, let us play some games and let's see where we are," Caldwell told reporters Saturday. "Let's see how these young guys are and I know the 53 players in this locker room are excited to be here and are excited for their ability to go out there and put a good brand of football out there."

In less than 12 months, the team has traded veterans Jalen Ramsey, A.J. Bouye, Nick Foles, Calais Campbell and Yannick Ngakoue, before releasing Leonard Fournette last week. The remaining Jags will be tested immediately. Their first two games are against the Colts and Titans, a pair of AFC South teams expected to make playoff pushes. Caldwell, interestingly, believes he's put together a roster that can win now as well.

"We do and like I said before, let us play the season and don't count these players out," he said. "I love this team. I love the energy this team brings. I love some of the veteran leadership we brought in with Joe Schobert [and] Tyler Eifert. We're not that young on offense. You have a guy like Chris Conley. The offensive line has all played a lot of games together. Keelan Cole, Dede Westbrook, we have guys. D.J. Chark Jr. So, don't count this team out yet and I think they'll tell you the same thing. We can't afford a rebuilding year and that's not our mindset. Our mindset is to put the best team out there to play, to compete, and to win.

"We feel like these guys, the guys in this locker room, nobody has seen them play together. Nobody has seen them play a game so, like I said, we're going to know where we measure up."

The opening kickoff is less than a week away.

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