After four years of a culture that condoned losing under Gus Bradley, head coach Doug Marrone and VP of Football Operations Tom Coughlin have a tough task ahead of them.
For the first two years of his regime, former Jacksonville Jaguars head coach Gus Bradley was given every benefit of the doubt. Getting 4 wins in 2013 with one of the worst rosters in recent NFL history seemed like a modern miracle, and even the 3 wins they managed in 2014 didn’t seem so bad.
Fans and analysts became a little less patient with Bradley after he went 5-11 in 2015 despite a huge improvement on offense thanks to the growth of several individual players (Blake Bortles, Allen Robinson, Allen Hurns). Many were hesitant about bringing Bradley back for a fourth year, but he was a nice guy and the players appeared to really like him.
Unfortunately, the players loved him because he never held them accountable. Bradley repeatedly touted “just getting better” every day. He thought focusing on improvement alone would bring wins. He never established a sense of urgency or the need to perform to keep your job. This all came to a head when the Jaguars were absolutely eviscerated in a Thursday night matchup against the Tennessee Titans. It was an embarrassing loss that should have spelled the end of Bradley as the team’s head coach.
Somehow, Bradley kept the job for several more weeks before mercifully being let go in week 15. Doug Marrone took over as the interim head coach and the team all of sudden became respectable.
Since then, it has come out via multiple players that the team was too comfortable and there was no mandate to win games.
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These aren’t the only two guys –
, and others have made public comments intimating a huge culture problem stemming from the Bradley era.
The majority of the ire directed at the hiring of Doug Marrone as the full-time head coach is because he was there during Bradley’s tenure. While he didn’t instill the losing culture, he participated in it. His first and most important task needs to be immediately changing to the culture. Tom Coughlin’s presence should help, but this really falls on the shoulders of Marrone.
We won’t know whether he’ll be successful until the games start, but Marrone can begin in earnest with some big moves this offseason.