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Last season’s collapse is fueling the Jaguars for 2024

The Jaguars’ 2023 season was a tale of two seasons. They began the campaign 8-3 and a contender for the No. 1 seed in the AFC.

Jacksonville finished 1-5 and out of the postseason as the Texans won the AFC South.

“It’s going to burn for a long time until we get to meaningful games again and start playing in September,” Jaguars coach Doug Pederson told NFL Media on Wednesday. “But I think that’s the same fuel and the motivating factor for our players that the way we ended is not us and no matter what you go through as a football team, everybody goes through adversity. There’s always going to be injuries, but you can’t make excuses. You’ve got to go play football. So for us, we got to learn from that, roll up our sleeves during training camp, work hard and just play it one game at a time.”

Now, after last season’s meltdown, Pederson is under pressure to win now.

The Jaguars improved their roster this offseason, signing receiver Gabe Davis and defensive lineman Arik Armstead and drafting receiver Brian Thomas Jr. They signed quarterback Trevor Lawrence and edge rusher Josh Hines-Allen to long-term extensions.

“Well, I think that’s what we saw in Gabe Davis in Buffalo what he did, how he could kind of stretch the field,” Pederson said of the Jacksonville’s offseason. “He was a big, tall receiver that could go over the middle, he was physical and could block. I would say that’s a piece that we missed a little bit last year. Zay [Jones] was a little beat up. We missed Christian [Braswell] at the end of the season. We get Christian [Kirk] back healthy. We lost Calvin Ridley, but now we get Gabe and Brian and Brian’s got the speed element that we probably lost with Calvin.”

The Jaguars have made the playoffs only twice the past 16 years, but they have the team to do it again this season.