Jacksonville Jaguars: Stability for the sake of stability? Rebuild continues


The Jacksonville Jaguars have been unstable since excusing Jack Del Rio as head coach back in 2011, but they’re working on becoming more stable by continuing the work started in 2013’s rebuild.

The 2013 rebuild that never quite delivered was helmed by general manager Dave Caldwell. He was expected to bring in the right talent for head coach Gus Bradley’s team and ensure the Jacksonville Jaguars could be competitive in a few years’ time.

That time never truly came. The Jags were supposedly “built” before 2015 but fell flat on their faces, posting a 5-11 record. It was far from a competitive season and the team clearly needed more time before the rebuild could be called complete.

The rebuild was never completed – at least not under then-head coach Gus Bradley. After posting the worst record among modern NFL coaches in history, Bradley was rightly excused. The talent is seemingly there so Caldwell remains on staff, albeit underneath new executive vice president Tom Coughlin.

The rebuild continues.

Surprisingly, the rebuild looks an awful lot like a continuation of the one started in 2013. Bradley may be gone but offensive line coach Doug Marrone is now head coach, defensive coordinator Todd Wash is sticking around, and the Jags are still betting on struggling quarterback Blake Bortles. These are not the sweeping changes an organization needs after failing to win more than five games since 2010.

Rivers McCown over at Vice Sports wisely noted this as well. The Jags see progress where the rest of the NFL sees futility. Stability is a luxury for teams that do well, not for teams that struggle. Writes McCown:

"Stability is an admirable goal for an NFL franchise, and it’s easy to see why when you look at how some of the best in the sport—New England and Pittsburgh immediately come to mind—keep the same figures around year after year.But that kind of stability comes from winning. Stability for the sake of stability, on the other hand? That doesn’t end well very often."

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Tweaking a defense with Wash or bringing a legend back to the team aren’t moves that make a splash

and they aren’t moves that mark a clear departure from the past. Bradley’s tenure was miserable in the only statistic that matters: wins. Somehow much of the unit that got the Jags in that situation are sticking around.

I wrote after the Marrone hire that the Jags must be seeing something internally that has them optimistic about retaining people from the past regime. That may be accurate or it may be a massive disconnect from reality.

For a team that is giving Coughlin “final say” over decisions, this still looks much like Caldwell’s old rebuild. It is a continuation of the futility that came during the Bradley era. As an incubator for success, Bradley was terrible. Betting on some key components from his time to suddenly yield a different result may be a foolhardy mistake for a young franchise still struggling to establish itself.