Jeff Fisher’s perpetual mediocrity can be a lesson for the Jacksonville Jaguars in their pursuit of better coaching.
Can it get any worse?
For the Jacksonville Jaguars, it literally cannot. Gus Bradley’s 14-47 record as head coach is the worst in the modern history of the NFL and the worst among coaches with at least 60 games coached. Somehow, he still clings on, prompting us to ask “when will this nightmare end?”
But will the Jaguars jump from one nightmare to another? Jeff Fisher, one of the most respected coaches in the NFL despite his mediocrity, is a cautious lesson for the Jaguars as they pursue better coaching. Perpetual mediocrity, while a significant step forward from Bradley’s inept mess, is hardly much better.
Fisher’s longevity, in fact, should give everyone pause. Why can a coach who has done no better than 7-9 since 2010 somehow find gainful employment as a head coach? Why can a coach with just six double-digit winning seasons in a 22-season career still be employable?
Fisher’s firing wasn’t shocking – he was mediocre after all – but it would be equally unsurprising if he caught on with another team.
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Frankly, the head coaching pool is incredibly slim. There are few coaches with the competency and capacity to babysit 53 players and numerous coaching staff through much of the year. It’s a thankless job and there are far more Gus Bradley-type coaches out there than there are Bill Belichicks.
For that reason, mediocrity can be appealing. At worst, a team falls to 6-10 (the then-St. Louis Rams did so in 2014) but at best there may be a few big-win seasons over a 25-year career. It’s a step above absolutely horrendous performance (like that of Bradley) that teams usually move away from quickly.
With the dismissal of Bradley expected at some point in the near future (Black Monday, perhaps?) it’s worth noting that the next guy to don the headset is no guarantee to be a Mike McCarthy or Bill Belichick. It’s quite possible the Jags could end up with someone like Fisher who has the demonstrated capacity and competency to be a head coach but doesn’t quite do well enough.
It may be a downer to mention now, but it’s worth mentioning up amid the calls for Bradley’s job that persist. It’s no excuse to move on, but it should give us Jags fans pause.