In 2017, the Jacksonville Jaguars went 10-6 and made it all the way to the AFC title game before falling to Tom Brady and the Patriots. Buccaneers RB Leonard Fournette, a rookie on that Jaguars’ team in 2017, has not been back to the playoffs since that season.
In the 2017 AFC title game, Jacksonville was up 20-10 in the fourth quarter, but Brady would hit Danny Amendola late in the game to secure a 24-20 victory for the Patriots.
According to Fournette, there are some similarities between the 2017 Jaguars and the 2020 Buccaneers. Fortunately for the fourth-year running back, Brady will be on his side when he returns to the playoffs.
“Similar. The talent [aspect] is off the charts,” Fournette recently said. “This time around, I’m not going against Tom Brady – he’s on my team – so that’s a good thing. Second of all, I just think a lot of guys on our team have been to the playoffs, and we know what it takes. You have to lock in. Not saying it’s not possible, but you have to be perfect in practices now. The little things usually you get by with during the season, you can’t really do that. You have to run your routes at depth [and] block your guys. Everything is on the line. It’s just doing everything right and helping out my guys in my room and also other players on the team just to get better as a whole. I know we’re going to need everyone – all hands in – to go to the Super Bowl.”
The 2017 Jaguars had more talent on the defensive side of the ball than this version of the Buccaneers. On defense, Jacksonville was led by Jalen Ramsey, Myles Jack, and Calais Campbell, while the 2020 Buccaneers have a lot more talent on offensive side of the ball, and of course, they have Brady.
However, the expectations are different. No one expected the Blake Bortles led Jaguars to make a long playoff run. In contrast, this Buccaneers team was put together to win right now, and anything short of that would be a disappointment.
Hopefully, for Fournette, Brady and the Buccaneers can do what he did for the Patriots in 2017 and lead Tampa Bay to the Super Bowl for the first time since the 2002 season.