Local College Sports

Jaguars head into offseason with more hope than heartache

Jaguars head into offseason with more hope than heartache
Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback Blake Bortles celebrates a touchdown run by running back Leonard Fournette during the first half of the AFC championship NFL football game against the New England Patriots, Sunday, Jan. 21, 2018, in Foxborough, Mass. (AP Photo/Steven Senne)

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (AP) The Jacksonville Jaguars won’t shock anyone next season.

A day after a disappointing loss to New England in the AFC championship game, players packed up their belongings and headed into the offseason. They carried with them more hope than heartache.

The Jaguars were one of the NFL’s biggest surprises in 2017. They ended a six-year run with double-digit losses by winning the AFC South for the first time in franchise history.

They hosted a playoff game for the first time in 18 years, stunned Pittsburgh in the divisional round and had a 10-point lead on Tom Brady and the Patriots in the fourth quarter.

It was far from a fluke. With young and still-emerging talent on both sides of the ball, the Jaguars look poised to be a postseason participant for at least the next few years.

”Going forward, we know that this team is going to be a true contender and we’re going to go out there and earn it,” All-Pro defensive end Calais Campbell said Monday.

Campbell was quick to point out that meeting higher expectations will only happen if they take the same approach to next season.

”You don’t get nowhere off of what you did last year,” he said. ”It’s only what have you done for me lately. I’ve been a part of a team that went to the NFC championship and the next year we missed the playoffs. It happens quite a bit. This team is definitely, I feel like, we should be able to go out there and be a great team next year, but we’re going to have to put the work in.”

Before the next phase begins, the Jaguars will have to get over a stinging loss at New England.

They surely will be haunted by four plays that were as much a part of the outcome as Brady:

-The league’s best pass defense gave up a 21-gain on a third-and-18 play early in…

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