The saying goes, “home is where the heart is.” Well, apparently the Jaguars have no heart to go along with no offense when they’re at Everbank Field. The frustration that is the 2012 Jaguars season continued on Thursday night against the Indianapolis Colts. As we’ve come to expect at this point, the Jaguars were thoroughly embarrassed at home, this time in front of a national audience. Since, assumingly, most people watching Thursday night football aren’t masochistic, most of the people tuning in were hoping to check out Andrew Luck and not the dumpster fire that has become the Jacksonville Jaguars.
The highlight of Thursday night’s game.
Look, it’s really, really easy to write a negative article about the Jaguars right now. I’m at the point where I assume most fans are – I just want to ride this season out and hopefully enjoy some kind of satisfaction as fleeting as it might be.
Rather than my usual fact or fiction predictions, I’m going to take a look at some overall issues and questions surrounding the team. In all honestly, before the season started I did not think I would be asking these questions after nine games.
Gene Smith makes it through the 2012 season as the general manager: FACT
At 1-8 with almost nothing positive to point to, Gene Smith’s tenure is likely coming to an end after this season. But if how the season has gone so far isn’t enough to fire Smith midseason, there’s almost nothing that can happen in the final seven games that would prompt Shahid Khan to suddenly fire him. On Jaguars All Access this past Monday, Khan laid out his stance on dealing with football operations and basically said he would leave the roster evaluation to more capable hands. He went on to say that he would wait until the end of the season to evaluate the organization, specifically the general manager on down. It seems an inevitability at this point, but we’ll likely have to wait until the end of the season to see Gene Smith let go.
Blaine Gabbert will not be on the Jaguars roster next year: FICTION
The lazy thing to do when a team is 1-8 and features the worst offense in professional football is to point at the quarterback. By no means has Blaine Gabbert been “good” this season, but he’s markedly better than last year and is not the sole reason the Jaguars are arguably the worst team in the league. The problem fans have to understand is that Gabbert isn’t good enough to carry a bad team. Great quarterbacks (Tom Brady, Peyton Manning, Aaron Rodgers, Drew Brees) can push bad teams to overachieve but a young quarterback who’s struggling just can’t do that. Unless he completely implodes down the stretch, Gabbert will be a Jaguar in 2013.
He’ll be on the roster as long as he survives the beating he’s taking this season.
The Jaguars will draft a quarterback in the 2013 NFL Draft: FACT
While Blaine Gabbert will assuredly be a Jaguar next year, he probably won’t be guaranteed the starting quarterback position. With a new GM in place, Mike Mularkey will also likely be gone as will most of the coaching staff. New regimes tend to want to draft their “guy” at the QB position. While it’s still early, next year’s draft class doesn’t seem to have any elite, generational prospects like Andrew Luck. Instead, I expect the Jaguars to maybe take a flyer on a guy in the 2nd round or try to maneuver around for someone like Geno Smith. With two young QBs on the roster, you can give Gabbert a chance to compete for the position and if he doesn’t take the job, he’s a capable backup.
The Jaguars will lose the rest of their remaining games: FICTION
Do I think there are any sure-fire wins left on the Jaguars’ schedule? Absolutely not. With the entire AFC East (ahem, New England) left on the schedule, it wouldn’t be surprising if the Jags suffered another home blowout or two. This is the NFL however and wins seemingly come out of nowhere. The Jags owe their fans at least one home win.
Generally, it’s never as good as it looks and it’s never as bad as it seems. In the case of Jacksonville, it’s starting to actually be as bad as it seems. The team looks outclassed in nearly every position group regardless of who they play. Positives are getting harder and harder to find. But by golly I’ll be here again next week, and I’ll squeeze out at least one ounce deluded hope from the Texans game. Seven more games guys.
– Daniel Lago