The Jacksonville Jaguars have some talent, but Michael Lombardi thinks they are in the same spot as the 2016 San Francisco 49ers.
If you are less than thrilled with what the Jacksonville Jaguars have done since the end of the 2016 regular season, you certainly aren’t alone. Count me among the many who are lukewarm about the hiring of Doug Marrone to the permanent head coach position and the decision to keep the same offensive and defensive coordinators.
While things should be different under new vice president of football operations Tom Coughlin, we have to wait and see what happens in free agency and the draft before making any real conclusions.
Perhaps the biggest point of contention moving forward is the status of quarterback Blake Bortles. The young signal caller had his fair share of both fans and detractors after a breakout 2015 season, but there are considerably less people in his corner after a disastrous 2016 campaign.
Well-known analyst Michael Lombardi, formerly of the New England Patriots and now part of the Ringer, has never really bought into Bortles. He hasn’t been a proponent of Jaguars quarterbacks in a while (he famously got roasted by Blaine Gabbert back in the day), but in general Lombardi has good contacts in the league and knows what he’s talking about.
In a recent column discussing how to approach free agency, Lombardi juxtaposes this upcoming iteration of the Jaguars with the San Francisco 49ers after they hired Chip Kelly.
"The 2016 Niners might as well be the 2017 Jags: new coach (Doug Marrone), new personnel decision-maker (Tom Coughlin), same pulsating problem at QB (Blake Bortles). Will they emulate the old Jags regime by praying that Blake Bortles will suddenly become good, despite overwhelming evidence that it’s never happening? Or will they address their most pressing need? Despite all their recent praise of Bortles, my sense is that Coughlin’s brain trust already has studied enough film to realize they need another quarterback. But you never know. They might spend the spring crawling around in Lucy’s living room."
First off, I’m not sure what Lombardi means by ‘new personnel decision-maker’ since Trent Baalke was the 49ers general manager through the entirety of the 2016 season. I assume it’s an error/oversight on his part, one I’m more than willing to point out before moving on.
Erroneous comparison aside, the spirit of Lombardi’s comment here is that the Jaguars would be foolish to believe in Blake Bortles. That’s not exactly a hot take, and quite frankly it’s a bit lazy and farcical to try and relay this into a comparison with last year’s 49ers.
The Jaguars have issues at quarterback, but they have a modicum of continuity with their coaching staff, a respectable amount of young talent on defense (and a few guys on offense worth keeping for now), and are coming off an era where they employed LITERALLY the worst head coach in the history of the NFL for the better part of 4 years.
The 49ers had just underwent a mass exodus of talent on both sides of the ball and were still reeling after the dumb move to let Jim Harbaugh leave.
The Jaguars most definitely are not a competitive team right now, but it’s silly to compare them to the 49ers.