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ESPN ranks off seasons of Bucs Dolphins and Jaguars

Florida Football Insiders

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Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports

It’s always subjective to grade the off seasons of NFL teams and the true test won’t come until this fall and what players/teams do or don’t do, to make impact. However, on Tuesday Morning ESPN put out a list out of all 32 NFL teams and ranked their off seasons with explanations.

We are obviously most concerned with the Bucs, the Dolphins and the Jaguars and what those covering those clubs believe they did well, or not.

Here is the complete list starting with elite ranking, then above-average, and then, average.

It is interesting to ESPN thought that the Jaguars and the Dolphins both had “above-average: off-seasons, but that can also be attributed to both “making a splash move,” involving quarterbacks. Jacksonville having ponied up over $50 million guaranteed to sign Nick Foles away from the Philadelphia Eagles and the Dolphins acquiring former top 10 pick, now second-year quarterback, Josh Rosen, in a draft weekend trade with the Arizona Cardinals.

Here is what each beat reporter for ESPN wrote in breakdown.

First, here’s part of what Mike DiRocco of Jacksonville on the Jags moves:

The Jaguars had to fix an offense that scored two touchdowns in the final five games of 2018 by upgrading at quarterback. Nick Foles, who won a Super Bowl MVP with Philadelphia after the 2017 season, was the best free-agent quarterback available. The Jaguars signed him to a four-year deal worth $91 million, with a franchise-record $50.125 million guaranteed. Is he an elite quarterback? No, but he’s a major upgrade over Blake Bortles. In his 13 starts (including postseason) with the Eagles, Foles completed 67% of his passes with 21 TDs and 11 INTs. No Jaguars starter has completed more than 64.5% of their passes over a season…..

Then, ESPN Dolphins reporter Cameron Wolfe had this in part on the Fins:

It has been a two-step goal: 1. Say goodbye to an era mired in mediocrity, Band-Aid fixes and a risky win-now vision with moves such as getting rid of coach Adam Gase, GM Mike Tannenbaum and QB Ryan Tannehill, along with largely sitting out the free-agent period. 2. Exercise patience for an impending rebuild and make moves to set up the organization for long-term success starting in 2020 with moves such as hiring coach Brian Flores with a five-year guaranteed deal, collecting a bounty of 2020 draft picks and making Xavien Howard the highest-paid cornerback….

Then, Jenna Laine, who covers Tampa Bay for the “Worldwide Leader in Sports,” wrote about the “average” designation that the Bucs received and here’s some of her analysis on the defensive side:

Jason Pierre-Paul contributed one-third of the defense’s sacks last season (32.9%) and nearly half of its defensive pressures (43.8%), according to NFL Next Gen Stats. Best-case scenario for his neck fracture is five to six months of recovery, and that’s if he is able to return at all this season. Can outside linebackers Shaquil Barrett and Noah Spence and DE Carl Nassib step up to fill that void along with first-round LB Devin White?…

Again, much of this is educated conjecture until the teams report to camps, and we see what they look like in preseason. And in the case of the Buccaneers and the Dolphins, you are dealing with new coaching staffs, too.

Still, it’s always interesting to see varying informed opinions on what has or hasn’t gone right for teams to this point.

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