Recent comments by former quarterback David Carr support the widely held notion of the Jacksonville Jaguars as an underachieving squad.
Before the 2016 regular season began, you would have been hard pressed to find anyone that expected the Jacksonville Jaguars to be sitting here in early December with a 2-10 record. Even the most critical national analysts had the Jaguars pegged somewhere around 6-10 for the year. The Jaguars would have to sweep their last 4 games to match what were seemingly the lowest of expectations.
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With such a deep well of disappointment to draw from, there’s plenty of blame to go around and almost no one is exempt. Coaching has continued to be historically bad and individual players have regressed, despite some occasional flashes of what made people so excited only a few months ago.
That said, there’s a monumental difference between the 2012 Jaguars and the 2016 Jaguars that are going to finish with a comparable record to the maligned Mike Mularkey team – there’s plenty of talent on this iteration of the Jaguars.
Yes, there are still areas that could be upgraded and players performing at a replacement level, but there are enough above average guys to feel encouraged. In 2012, the Jaguars were full of players who had no business playing meaningful snaps in the NFL.
We’ve discussed how coaching is making the evaluation of the roster a near impossible task, but it’s worth revisiting since Gus Bradley’s dismissal at the end of the season is just a formality at this point. National analysts are starting to pick up on it as well, even more so with recent rumors of Tom Coughlin making a return to Jacksonville.
David Carr spoke with Yahoo Sports and discussed how Tom Coughlin would fit with the Jaguars to some extent, but he also shared a fascinating sentiment about the roster:
"“I’m talking to [Carr’s brother and Oakland Raiders quarterback] Derek, I am talking to guys around the league, and everyone says it: This is a talented group,” Carr said. “How are we going to match up here? You don’t find a lot of scenarios where you are just going to take advantage of their [lack of talent]. But you go down there and they just struggle. They don’t have that … that whatever that is that I think [Coughlin] brings. They need that. Do I think Tom would be perfect for Jacksonville? Yeah. I think he’d be great for that team.”"
While some lazy folks only focus on the struggles of Blake Bortles, more nuanced writers and analysts note the surprising amount of talent on the team compared to past seasons. Defensively, the Jaguars boast a young corp comprised of Malik Jackson, Jalen Ramsey, Myles Jack, Yannick Ngakoue, Abry Jones, Dante Fowler, and Telvin Smith. Whoever coaches the team in 2017 has to be excited about the pieces he has on defense.
Even with a down year, there are some redeeming players on the offensive side of the ball (Allen Robinson, Allen Hurns, Brandon Linder, Marqise Lee). Obviously the big question is what to do with Blake Bortles, but the cupboard certainly isn’t bare.
We’ll talk more about Tom Coughlin after the regular season if these rumors persist or come true, but for now let’s take solace in knowing the Jaguars aren’t as talent-deprived as they were in 2012.