JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Paul Posluszny gets excited for the beginning of training camp every year, but it’s a little bit different this time.
"I would definitely say so," Posluszny said Wednesday. "Especially with depth, the group that we have here is the most talented since I’ve been in Jacksonville for sure. It’s exciting because you say, ‘Hey, we have guys that can be elite players at multiple positions.’
"It’s been a long time since we’ve had that."
A very long time. The last time the Jaguars had elite players at multiple positions was … 2005? Fred Taylor, Jimmy Smith, Marcus Stroud and John Henderson were certainly elite, and Mike Peterson, Daryl Smith and Rashean Mathis were a notch below. That team went 12-4 and the Jaguars have had just one winning season since.
Now, however, Posluszny believes the Jaguars are stockpiling talent, especially on defense. The addition of defensive tackle Malik Jackson, free safety Tashaun Gipson and cornerback Prince Amukamara in free agency and the selection of cornerback Jalen Ramsey and linebacker Myles Jack in the first two rounds of the draft added some much-needed speed and playmaking ability to the defense.
The Jaguars had one of the league’s worst defenses the past three seasons, giving up an average of 375.0 yards and 27.3 points per game and had a league-low 26 interceptions. Head coach Gus Bradley fired defensive coordinator Bob Babich and promoted defensive line coach Todd Wash, and players say he has brought a greater attention to detail and a higher level of accountability.
The offense made a significant leap in 2015 behind quarterback Blake Bortles (who threw for a franchise-record 4,428 yards and 35 touchdowns) and receivers Allen Robinson (1,400 yards receiving and a team-record 14 TD catches) and Allen Hurns (10 TD catches). If the offense continues to progress and the defense becomes an average unit, Posluszny – who has never played for a team that finished better than 7-9 (Buffalo in 2007 and 2008) – could be talking about his first winning season in December.
"When you look at who we have, who we brought in, and just the overall level of expectation from us as players, we can all kind of feel it to say, ‘Hey, we have some great talent now. Let’s bring it together, play at a consistent level, and see where this team can go,’" Posluszny said. "Personally and as a group, I know we’re really excited about starting this."