The Jacksonville Jaguars, who weren’t expected to do much when the 2022 NFL season began, ended the regular season with a five-game winning streak after starting 4-8 and ended up finishing first in the AFC South.
They then pulled off a remarkable comeback in the Wld Card round, overcoming a 27-0 deficit to defeat the Los Angeles Chargers on a last-second field goal by Riley Patterson before falling in the next round to the eventual Super Bowl champion Kansas City Chiefs.
The Jaguars could be even stronger next season thanks to the addition of wide receiver Calvin Ridley.
He missed all of 2022 after being suspended by the league due to gambling, but quarterback Trevor Lawrence says he looks like a “freak” on the field, and Ridley says he loves Lawrence after the two worked out with each other.
Trevor Lawrence says Calvin Ridley looks like a “freak” on the field. Ridley says he loves his QB. Jaguars planting early seeds for what could be a dominant duo in 2023.
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— Cameron Wolfe (@CameronWolfe) April 19, 2023
It’s easy to forget what a stud Ridley looked like very recently.
As a rookie in 2018, he had 821 yards and 10 touchdowns, and in 2020, his last full season, he elevated his game with 1,374 yards and nine touchdowns.
Jacksonville already has a solid No. 1 wide receiver in Christian Kirk, who put up 1,108 yards and eight touchdowns last season, but if Ridley is the same player he was two years ago, he could displace Kirk as Lawrence’s top option in the passing game.
Ridley was previously a member of the Atlanta Falcons, a team that never made the playoffs with him, and they also never had a running back like Travis Etienne to open things up for him.
The Jaguars may not be ready for true Super Bowl contention, but they may be ready to upset one of the top dogs in the AFC come playoff time next season.