Super Bowl or bust. Those are the realistic expectations for the Jacksonville Jaguars going into the 2018 season. A year after falling short in the AFC Championship game, getting one step further is on the mind of every player and coach as training camp begins on Thursday.
“You can only set the bar to high when you don’t believe it yourself,” said Jaguars linebacker Telvin Smith. “I think this team is full of confidence, full of talent, full of hard work and dedication. The bar is as high as we set it. It’s not where can we go, it’s where do we want to go.”
On paper Jacksonville has the talent to reach February’s Super Bowl in Atlanta. The feeling was far different at this point a year ago. The Jaguars were an afterthought around the NFL. Doug Marrone was entering his first full season as head coach and the team hadn’t made the playoffs in a decade.
Now the challenge for the Jaguars is to live up to all of the preseason hype.
“We expect big things from ourselves,” said defensive end Calais Campbell. “We’re going to come into camp and work hard. Now it’s right around the corner which feels good. You don’t usually look forward to going to camp. But when you have a team as good as ours, you can’t help but look forward to it.”
“Every great defense has won it all,” is what Smith said when asked what his expectations are for next season. “I think we’re the best team in the league. It’s not that I’m knocking anybody. There are some talented teams out there. If I don’t lock in right now and believe whole heartedly that my team will be the last team standing, I don’t think you’re really ready for the fight that’s about to come.”