The Jacksonville Jaguars ended 2018 as one of the most banged-up teams in the NFL, with most of their offensive line and skill players being lost at one point or another to injury. The hope was that through a different approach, 2019 would end up differently.
Unfortunately for the Jaguars, they still finished last year as one of the league's most injured teams. According to The Football Database, the Jaguars ended 2019 with 19 players on the injured reserve list, which was tied for the second-most in the league.
The Jaguars were tied with the Seattle Seahawks, with each of them falling behind Washington and the New York Jets, who each had 20 players end the season on injured reserve.
The following players ended last season on injured reserve for Jacksonville: LB DJ Alexander, DT Marcell Dareus, LB Najee Goode, OL Donnell Greene, OL Benjamin Ijalana, LB Myles Jack, WR Marqise Lee, RB Devante Mays, LB Lerentee McCray, OL K.C. McDermott, RB Taj McGowan, TE James O'Shaughnessy, TE Josh Oliver, LB James Onwualu, LB Jake Ryan, TE Geoff Swaim, OG Brandon Thompson, WR Michael Walker, and LB Quincy Williams.
A number of these players were starters, such as Jack, Quincy Williams, Dareus, O'Shaughnessy, and Swaim while other players were expected to be leaned on such as Josh Oliver, Jake Ryan, and Marqise Lee.
Add in injuries to Walker, the starting kick returner, and a number of key backup linebackers and the Jaguars were put through the wringer on more than one occasion when it came to injuries. And this list doesn't even factor in the early season injured reserve designation for quarterback Nick Foles.
This was all despite the Jaguars taking a cautious approach to the 2019 preseason, sitting the starters and key reserve players for much of the exhibition games. Head coach Doug Marrone noted last August that this was a big change from how he did things in the past, but a change he deemed necessary.
“It’s been really different. But it’s a difference where when you look at things of what’s gone on in the past, and what happens to the team, and you take all of this information that—January, February, March, April, before the players come, you’re going to get all of this information and you’re going to say to yourself, ‘OK, what’s the best way to prepare this football team,'" Marrone said in August.
"So, I went back and again, science, research, all that crap, and you look at it and say, ‘OK, where are we at?’ If we go through the season, and stay healthy and play well, you’re going to look back and say, ‘That was a great thing, that was smart to do.’ If you have the same amount of injuries, then you know it wasn’t the right way, but at least it’s not the same of what you did before and you have those injuries where you come out and you say, ‘Well I was just hoping that we’d do better just by circumstance, just because it is.’ And I think that was my thought process going into it."
Marrone made the point that the Jaguars didn't work any less hard, they just worked smarter and wanted to ensure the health of their players moving forward. If the Jaguars approach 2020 the same way they approached 2019 remains to be seen after another injury-filled year, but expect for the team to look at all options once again.