For now, at least.
There is still the possibility that Brady and the NFLPA will go to federal court to try and get a judge to intervene on their behalf and reduce or eliminate the suspension. Until that happens, Brady will miss the first four games of the 2015 season -- including the game against the Jaguars at Gillette Stadium in Week 3.
Jaguars defensive players will tell you they’d rather face the New England Patriots with Brady and that makes sense. True competitors always want their opponent to be at their best when they play. For the good of the franchise, however, it’s obviously better to face a Patriots offense led by Jimmy Garoppolo, a second-year player who threw five interceptions during one organized team activities session in the spring.
The Jaguars desperately need to get off to a good start in 2015, not only for fan morale but for coach Gus Bradley’s job security. That’s something the Jaguars haven’t done over the past four seasons, winning just four games in September and October from 2011-14.
A Brady-less Patriots team certainly increases the chances the Jaguars could do so in 2015. They open with the Carolina Panthers, who made the playoffs in 2014. However, they did it by winning the worst division in football with a 7-8-1 record. They also got a playoff victory over an Arizona Cardinals team that was down to its fourth quarterback and didn’t have its best running back.
The Jaguars then play host to a Miami team that scored just 13 points on offense against the Jaguars in Week 8 last season. The Dolphins got two interception returns for touchdowns in their 27-13 victory.
The road trip to New England is next, and not having to face Brady is a huge break. Remember, this is also a team that lost its top two cornerbacks (Darrelle Revis and Brandon Browner), longtime defensive stalwart Vince Wilfork, and versatile running back Shane Vereen in free agency and saw veteran offensive lineman Dan Connolly retire. Brady is still so talented that he can make up for a lot of problems but without him the Patriots will rely on Garoppolo, who threw 27 passes in limited action as a rookie.
That means the Jaguars’ first three games are winnable, provided, of course, that the offensive line and quarterback Blake Bortles make the progress that those within the organization expect. If not, then it won’t matter if Brady’s in the huddle or his living room.