Gus Bradley, like his general manager partner Dave Caldwell, has a tough job. Turning the sinking Jacksonville Jaguars into a winner was a tough task when they took it on two seasons ago and the 7-25 record since then is indicative of that.
From the quarterback to the offensive line to pretty much any role on the sideline, the Jaguars have been overhauled. The team is on its second offensive coordinator in three years, it now has three drafts of players to look back on fondly, and the Jaguars may finally be on the cusp of achieving something (and not setting poor records again).
For Gus Bradley, it’s finally time to prove why he was chosen as the coach of the Jaguars.
There’s a lot that goes into selecting an NFL head coach and Bradley was chosen in part because of his ability to motivate players and in part to organize them well. The “Gus Bradley Defense” got all the attention when he was first hired, but his biggest contribution may be herding young players, pointing them in the right direction, and finding a way to succeed with them. As evidenced by the Jaguars’ record recently, the success has been lacking.
Of those three things (herding, common goal/direction, and success) he has done a good job of the first two. Now, 2015 is time for the third to come.
I’m not talking about demanding eight wins this season. The Jaguars don’t even need to compete for second place in the division. The team does need to show progress, though, and that is easily measured through wins. Seven wins over two years is incredibly poor. It’d be great to see the Jaguars rebound from a 3-13 season to 6-10 or even 5-11. Both those marks would be improvements and both of them would prove the Jaguars are getting better.
I’m not sure I see them getting that high. I like to think that 8-8 is possible or even 9-7, but the Jags are more likely to continue hovering near 4-12. Does that mean Gus Bradley has failed? I don’t think so. I do believe that after three seasons it is time to start judging him, though.
For some coaches, three seasons is enough to prove they are building a powerhouse. For others, it’s three strikes and you’re out. Bradley obviously isn’t the former and I hope he isn’t the latter, but if we had to pick one or the other it’s pretty clear he’s leaning toward “out” right now. At the end of the 2015 season we will have a clearer picture and be able to say he’s actually making progress or floundering.
Bradley has gotten a pass the first two years, but after his third it will be time to start passing judgment.
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