What’s Next? Jaguars Look to Replicate 2013
The Jacksonville Jaguars will be doing some serious assessment during the bye week as they look at how they can be more successful with the final six games of the season.
For head coach Gus Bradley, this is a key time to see how well his team has progressed and whether they are closer to reaching their goals than the 1-9 record would suggest.
For outsiders, this is a chance to speculate on what the Jaguars’ front office thinks is going on and how they may react to the current direction. For many of us, 1-9 is not where we expected the Jaguars to be after a much stronger 4-4 finish to the season in 2013.
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After the bye week in 2013, the 0-8 Jaguars roared to life, stringing together four wins over five games and proving to the NFL that Gus Bradley’s “keep getting better” approach was working. It also showed that the Jaguars could be effective after a week off to reassess the situation.
After another loss, this bye week is a godsend. Gus Bradley and company will hope to have the Jaguars looking more like the post-bye 2013 version than like the pre-bye 2014 version. So far this season the Jaguars have seemed flat when compared to their post-bye ending of last year.
The most obvious points of concern for the Jaguars to address will be the secondary play and the play of rookie quarterback Blake Bortles and his young receivers in the passing game. Bortles has some weapons, but players like Allen Hurns haven’t shown they can be productive consistently. With the season-ending stress fracture to his most reliable target, rookie receiver Allen Robinson, the passing game may become lackluster.
The secondary and the passing game are not the only concerns on the team. Special teams has been proving costly for the Jaguars all season long and they need to buckle down there as well. The offensive line is once again out of whack. The linebackers feel like a constantly churning entity since Paul Posluszny was declared out of the season.
Yet there is hope.
Heading into the bye week last year the Jaguars had been outmatched all season. 0-8 felt like a cement block tied to the team’s feet following a franchise worst 2-14 season under Mike Mularkey. Yet the team persevered and put together some solid wins (albeit against bad teams).
Gus Bradley proved he could turn it around in 2013.
Can he do it again?
I certainly hope so. I have faith that Gus Bradley has the team headed in the right direction. Oftentimes this season has looked like the team is just a few mistakes away from being much, much better in the win-loss columns. I certainly hope they will be able to replicate 2013.