JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- The Jacksonville Jaguars only won five games in 2015, but the team is clearly making progress.
The ESPN NFL Nation All-AFC South team -- which was determined by voting among myself, Texans reporter Tania Ganguli, Titans reporter Paul Kuharsky, and Colts reporter Mike Wells -- is evidence of that.
Eight Jaguars made the squad: Quarterback Blake Bortles, running back T.J. Yeldon, wide receiver Allen Robinson, right guard A.J. Cann, right tackle Jermey Parnell, nose tackle Roy Miller, cornerback Davon House and punt returner Rashad Greene.
That's more than any other team (the Texans had seven) and a significant improvement from last year, when the Jaguars had just one player on the team: defensive tackle Sen’Derrick Marks.
It’s not a surprise that five offensive players were selected, because the Jaguars had the best offense in the division. They were tops in passing yards per game, total yards per game, points per game and yards per play. They had the leading passer and punt returner, the second-leading rusher, and a receiver that tied for the NFL lead in touchdown catches.
Of the five offensive players, four were in their first or second year in the league. This was also the Jaguars' first season under offensive coordinator Greg Olson, which means the future looks bright on that side of the ball.
"We’ll look at what we did well and what we think we need to do better to emphasize the things that we can expand upon, our strengths that we can expand upon," Olson said. "Let’s try to eliminate most of the weaknesses we had this year. We are not consistent enough so we’ll look at why we we were not consistent. We feel like we’ve been able to move the football [on] just about everybody throughout the season but there have been times, lapses where we have not shown that consistency."
Bortles set single-season franchise records in passing yards (4,428) and touchdown passes (35), and finished second in the league in TD passes to Tom Brady. Robinson caught 80 passes for 1,400 yards and a franchise-record 14 touchdowns and was the lone Jaguars player to make the Pro Bowl.
Yeldon ran for 740 yards and two touchdowns, and caught 36 passes for 279 yards and another touchdown. He was second in rushing in the division behind Frank Gore (967 yards). Parnell had a solid season in his first year as a full-time starter, and Cann stepped in for the injured Brandon Linder (shoulder) and the team says he didn’t allow a sack in 13 starts.
Miller anchored the Jaguars’ run defense and disrupted plays by getting consistent penetration. He also had four sacks, which is a high number for a nose tackle. House made four interceptions and had 23 pass breakups, which was three more than he had in his previous two seasons combined.
Greene averaged 16.7 yards per punt return -- and his 63-yarder late in the fourth quarter of a Thursday night game against the Titans set up the Jaguars’ game-winning touchdown. He was the only player in the division to return a punt for a touchdown, and his average would have led the NFL had he had enough returns to qualify.