Jaguars season preview: All on Bortles' shoulders

Around The NFL's season preview goes to the AFC South.

Change we can believe in

Blake Bortles looked great this preseason and even if he's without Julius Thomas for the first quarter of the season, finding ways to move the ball without him made Bortles a better quarterback. While we're not suggesting some of the mechanical mishaps of last season are gone entirely, we are saying that he is closer to fitting the mold -- think rookie year Ben Roethlisberger with twice the passing attempts -- than ever before.

According to Pro Football Focus, Bortles has dropped back more than any other regular slated starter in the NFL this year and managed to connect on 65 percent of his passes. His new position coach, Nathaniel Hackett, is a next-gen offensive pioneer skilled at helping young passers slow the game down and the feel down south is that he's starting to legitimize a pick that scared many a year ago.

Is this something tangible Jaguars fans can believe in? They have no choice.

Biggest concern

This team needs to start winning games. Period. The Jaguars are entering a dangerous cycle where they are overpaying for free agents without the structure in place to utilize them properly. This is not general manager Dave Caldwell's fault, of course. He was left with a decade's worth of awful first-round picks to try and build a foundation.

But if they cannot show players signs of progress, they will never find the top-tier complementary pieces they need.

Training camp surprise

It wasn't a welcome one. Dante Fowler, the No. 3 overall pick in the NFL Draft, went down with a torn ACL before training camp even started. This was a major piece of Gus Bradley's defense that evaporated before the team even had a chance to test him out.

What we'll be saying in February

Gus Bradley finally delivers on the growing hype. The Jaguars won't finish in the playoff hunt but they won't be worried about making the No. 1 pick again this year.

Predicted finish: Last place in AFC South, No. 13 in the AFC, No. 27 overall in Around The NFL's Power Poll.

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