2021 will be about more than making the most of a clean slate for the Jaguars.
After finishing 1-15 last season, Jacksonville enters the upcoming campaign with a new coach, franchise quarterback and outlook for its future following the worst year in franchise history.
During an interview on Friday’s edition of NFL Total Access, fourth-year receiver D.J. Chark spoke on the team’s expectations as it kicks off a new era under coach Urban Meyer.
“Just to go out there and compete, be better than what we were last year,” Chark told NFL Network’s Omar Ruiz. “The 1-15 season is somewhere that we don’t want to go back. Everyone that’s here understands that. The guys that came in came from a lot of winning programs so we’re trying to develop that winning culture and just that comradery here and I think we’re going to do really good. I think we’re gonna shock a lot of people. I’m not one of the people that’s huge on setting record goals or anything like that, or saying how many wins or losses we’re gonna have but we’re gonna be an exciting football team, for sure.”
Despite having never coached in the NFL, Meyer qualifies as a new addition to the club that comes from a background full of success. Also in that number, No. 1 pick Trevor Lawrence, the man Chark, veteran wideout Marvin Jones and 2020 second-rounder Laviska Shenault Jr. will need to be on one accord with in order to help the Jags get back on track.
Aside from the hope that better days are ahead, perhaps the arrival of Meyer and Lawrence will also amount to a bounce-back year for Chark, a 2019 Pro Bowler whose production dipped in 2020 amid his team’s struggles.
His emergence as the No. 1 WR will be crucial to the offense and Lawrence’s development, even with the experienced Jones joining the fray.
“We take a lot of responsibility and accountability when it comes to the passing game,” he shared. “Marvin coming in, [he’s] a dynamic player. Laviska being young and so dynamic, me still trying to reach new heights. I think we have a lot to prove but I think it’s gonna come together real smooth. And definitely being able to have Trevor back there, it’s crazy how that he’s so young and so talented. So, the sky is the limit, really, with us right now. We don’t know how great we can be but we know we can be great, for sure.”
At just 24, Chark is the longest-tenured member of the receiving corps following the offseason departures of Keelan Cole and Dede Westbrook. Having led the team in receiving yards the past two seasons, he’ll have a chance to play in a big part in bringing his proclamation to fruition this fall.
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