Today's NFL is all about a team's ability to throw the ball and stop the pass. The Jacksonville Jaguars defense is well equipped to shut down some of the most potent offensive units in the NFL. No one is questioning Jacksonville's ability to play great defense.
On the offensive side of the ball, there's no shortage of questions. Last season, Maurice Jones-Drew led the league in rushing yards, but the Jaguars were rarely able to extend drives through the air.
While the defense will play an integral role in the Jaguars' success, the offensive performance will determine whether the Jaguars are able to rise above expectations in 2012.
It's easy to pile most of last year's failings on quarterback Blaine Gabbert. There's no dodging the simple truth that Gabbert wasn't ready to be an NFL starter in 2011. Still, others will have to step up to turn the NFL's worst offense around.
The passing game always starts with the quarterback, but it ends with the receivers. The addition of Laurent Robinson, Lee Evans and Justin Blackmon should create mismatches in the Jaguars' favor. With receivers creating space, Gabbert should be able to make plays that simply weren't available to him a season ago.
The offensive line will also have to pick up some of the slack. The line may not have been responsible for all of Blaine Gabbert's 40 sacks in 2011, but they certainly missed opportunities to help their young quarterback out of tough positions. The Jaguars are hoping that Eben Britton's return to the right tackle position will provide the stability the offensive line needs to gel as a unit.
There's no denying that the Jaguars defense will play an enormous role in 2012, but the fate of the Jaguars is set squarely on the offense's shoulders.
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