Not too long ago, I wrote a story predicting the top stat leaders for the Jacksonville Jaguars for the 2012 season.
I went through both sides of the ball and gave my educated opinion about who would the lead the team in certain categories.
For the purpose of this story, though, we're going to delve a little deeper. For this one, we're going to stick to strictly the offensive side of the ball and give estimations as to what the key offensive players will amass in 2012.
How much will quarterback Blaine Gabbert improve upon his numbers from 2011? Will he improve at all?
If Maurice Jones-Drew comes back, will he creep up to 2,000 yards?
I will attempt to answer those questions and others.
2011: 2,214 yards, 12 touchdowns, 11 interceptions, 50.8%,
2012 Prediction: 3,000-plus yards, 20-plus touchdowns, 15 interceptions, 58%
Now some may look at 3,000 yards and 20 touchdowns as lofty expectations for Gabbert, but in order for him to progress, he will have to put up numbers like this.
By today's standards, 3,000 yards and 20 touchdowns are average numbers. It will not be asking a whole lot from him to reach them.
Twenty quarterbacks threw for 3,000 yards in 2011, including Tavaris Jackson and Rex Grossman
Throwing for 3,000 yards isn't what it used to be, and Gabbert playing a full 16 games should easily get to that plateau.
As far as the number of touchdowns thrown, 13 quarterbacks threw at least 20 touchdowns in 2011.
Both of those numbers are down from 2010 when 22 quarterbacks threw for at least 3,000 yards and 17 quarterbacks threw at least 20 touchdown passes.
I expect the interceptions to slightly go up simply because he'll have more chances to throw the ball, which will mean more chances to make mistakes. He's only in his second season after all.
I don't expect Gabbert to top either 4,000 yards or even 25 touchdowns, but with a full offseason to learn Mike Mularkey's more pass-friendly offense, I expect Gabbert to take an overall step forward from 2011.
2011: 343 carries., 1,606 yards, 8 rushing touchdowns, 43 receptions, 374 yards, 3 receiving touchdowns
2012 Prediction: 300 carries, 1,400 yards, 12 rushing touchdowns, 50 receptions, 400 yards, 5 receiving touchdowns
I am under the belief that Maurice Jones-Drew and the Jaguars will eventually settle the ongoing contract squabble, and that he'll be on the field for 2012.
When he does get back on the field, I expect some things to change.
I think that Jones-Drew's carries will drop for a variety of reasons. For one, the Jaguars want to keep him healthy for the long haul and not wear him out too quickly. Second, I believe the Jaguars will pass the ball more under Mike Mularkey.
Since his carries will go down, his yards will go down as well. That does not mean Jones-Drew will not get his share of carries because he will. And he should.
I do think the Jaguars will look to get Jones-Drew the ball a lot—but in a different capacity.
Expect to see Jones-Drew play an even bigger role in the passing game and his receptions to go up, as a result.
2011: 39 receptions, 460 yards, 0 touchdowns
2012 Prediction: 50 receptions, 500 yards, 5 touchdowns
Last season for Marcedes Lewis was a huge step back from his Pro Bowl season of 2010.
For whatever reason—himself, Blaine Gabbert or playcalling—Lewis did not look like the first-round talent he appeared to be early in his career.
I don't expect Lewis this seasonto set the world on fire and earn his second trip to the Pro Bowl, but if the Jaguars pass the ball more in 2012 than they did last year, I do expect Lewis' numbers to increase, at least slightly.
Fifty receptions, 500 yards and his first touchdown in two years shouldn't be too much to ask from your No. 1 tight end.
2011: 54 receptions, 858, 11 touchdowns
2012 Prediction: 70 receptions, 1,000 yards, 10 touchdowns
Since Robinson was not the primary target for Tony Romo in Dallas—but he will be No. 1 option for Gabbert—he should post bigger numbers in receptions and yardage. He already showed with the Cowboys that he had a nose for the end zone.
There's no reason why that should change in 2012.
Now these numbers are what people could consider lofty and they will directly linked to the progression of Gabbert. As a rookie, Gabbert didn't have receivers with the ability of Robinson, thus he struggled to move the ball.
So, Gabbert's development will be tied to the playmaking ability of Robinson.
At the end of the day, they have to make each other better.
For the sake of Jaguars fans, let's hope we get to hear Gabbert to Robinson quite a bit in 2012.
2011 (at Oklahoma State): 122 receptions, 1,522 yards, 18 touchdowns
2012: 50 receptions, 700 yards, 8 touchdowns
I think it's safe to say that Justin Blackmon will not put up the type of numbers he amassed during his time at Oklahoma State.
I expect the Jaguars to pass the ball more—but nowhere near the level of Oklahoma State. So for that reason alone, Blackmon will not post numbers approaching what he put up in college (let alone against the higher level of talent found in the NFL).
I believe Blackmon has the talent to be a productive NFL wide receiver, however, and I expect him to have to have solid rookie campaign—maybe not to the extent of Randy Moss in 1998 or Anquan Boldin in 2003 but a good season nonetheless.
Since Blackmon will probably start out as the No. 2 receiver, he will not lead the Jaguars in receptions, yards or receiving touchdowns. But we can expect that he will be in contention for Offensive Rookie of the Year because he will still be a major piece of the Jaguars offense.
Hopefully, his head is on straight, so he can help the Jaguars win some games this season.