Jacksonville Jaguars: When will the Gus Bradley nightmare end?
Jacksonville Jaguars head coach Gus Bradley has miraculously held on for the majority of four seasons with the team despite being the worst head coach in modern NFL history. When will the Jags move on?
Jacksonville Jaguars starting quarterback Blake Bortles recently called the 2016 season “the biggest nightmare possible” when describing how badly things have gone for the team. It’s an apt comparison, especially considering the high expectations the team entering the season.
ESPN’s Michael DiRocco highlighted it following Bortles’ worst game of his career, writing:
"Bortles played one of the worst games of his career Sunday. He completed 19-of-42 for 181 yards with two interceptions, one of which was returned for a touchdown. He ran for a touchdown but also lost a fumble late in the game that the Broncos turned into a field goal."
But it wasn’t just on Bortles. And, indeed, it isn’t just on one player. Bortles is an important component (arguably the most important component) but the common denominator over the last four seasons – probably the worst in Jags history – is the head coach Gus Bradley is still in charge. He’s a likable man, a genuine optimist, but his team simply doesn’t win.
Perhaps the best indication is that the mistakes are prevalent regardless of who is on the field. Chad Henne looked like a shell of himself when he was the starter for the Jags, Blaine Gabbert had his worst stretch as a pro (which is downright terrible) under Bradley, Bortles continues to fail to develop, the special teams unit repeatedly makes mistakes – sometimes directly losing games – and the defense simply hasn’t ever been as good as Bradley’s in Seattle.
This nightmare goes beyond the quarterback. This nightmare clings to every aspect of the organization, spreading like a fast-growing mold over even the best talent on the team. And the Jaguars are simply sitting in it, letting it fester, going deeper and deeper into the darkness.
Some thought Bradley would be gone by the bye week. Some thought he couldn’t survive after .500 was out of reach. Yet he perseveres.
Owner Shad Khan will have to come down strongly on Bradley (and maybe general manager Dave Caldwell?) to make a clean break for the team and set up a possible transition to relevance.
This nightmare has to stop. It simply can’t get any worse at this point, going from one two-win season in 2012, which led to Bradley’s hiring, to another two-win season four years later. This is no longer a rebuild, this is a bad dream we simply can’t wake from.