Jacksonville Jaguars: Can Gus Bradley beat the Buccaneers?


Gua Bradley has been getting a lot of flack lately because of how poorly the Jacksonville Jaguars have been performing during his tenure with the team.

Entering Week 5 of the 2015 season, Bradley is a combined 8-28 through 2.25 seasons. It’s not a pretty record and it isn’t making him very popular with fans of the Jaguars. The 16-13 loss to the Indianapolis Colts was a particularly bitter pill to swallow, especially due to the penalties given up, star quarterback Andrew Luck not playing for the other side, and the offense stalling again.

While I personally believe that at the end of the season the most important games to judge Bradley on will be his division games, the Week 5 matchup against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers is also incredibly important.

Last season, the Bucs were decidedly the worst team in the NFL. The Jaguars weren’t far behind them either.

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Nobody was necessarily

saying that head coaches Lovie Smith and Gus Bradley were failures because their teams were playing poorly

, and both coaches had trust built up around them as they struggled to rebuild franchises.

Bradley and the Jaguars should be a step ahead of Smith and the Bucs. Rookie quarterback Jameis Winston should be a step behind second-year QB Blake Bortles. The Jags offense should be more complete than the Bucs’ struggling unit.

In short, this is a game the Jaguars should win.

It would be a demonstrable effort that Gus Bradley can point to, showing that the team is ahead of another weaker, rebuilding team. It is a measuring stick of sorts that, while not as important as division games, allows fans and analysts to look back on and go, “Yes, the Jaguars are moving ahead of those other teams that have struggled with them.”

Now, can Bradley and the Jaguars do it?

Honestly, it is a bit depressing to look at a game like this and have to ask. The Buccaneers have won just one less game than the Jaguars since 2013 and had a regime change in 2014. The Jaguars should have at least a clear advantage, being a year ahead in the rebuild process.

I’m not certain I see a definitive advantage like that coming into this game. That makes me nervous.

The Jaguars should win this game. They should come in and stomp the Buccaneers. Yet in the back of my mind I worry that they won’t be able to do it and we’ll see this game be a measuring stick for futility, like so many games before it.

I hope I’m wrong and I hope this is a game that Gus Bradley and his Jaguars team can look on and proud of. If it isn’t, then the Jaguars will have to seriously consider a shift in the future.

Next: What is fact and what is fiction heading into Week 5?

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