The Jacksonville Jaguars have lost so much recently that it’s tough to gauge what winning will even look like.
Michael DiRocco’s recent article on Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback Blake Bortles and his incredibly few touchdowns when leading (five total – in his career) pointed toward an article by Michael Lombardi for The Ringer.
That article, titled “I don’t hate Blake Bortles, but…” focused primarily on Bortles but also pointed to a potentially huge problem for the Jaguars as an organization. The Jaguars simply don’t know what success looks like.
Extrapolating that the problems with Bortles are simply a part of the overarching problem, it’s tough not to come away from a critical piece by Lombardi wondering if the Jaguars truly don’t know what success is. Take this excerpt from the article:
"Bortles has sponsorship from the front office — they are fully invested in his play. They are willing to overlook warts, make endless excuses, and convince themselves that time and improved fundamentals will make the problems go away."
Substitute “The team” for Bortles and it looks all too familiar. It feel like an analysis that is reflective of the Gus Bradley era. While a team should certainly have its support and sponsorship of the front office, it should also be critical and deliberate in its moves.
And from an outside perspective like Lombardi’s, it makes sense to assume that nothing has changed. Doug Marrone went from interim head coach to head coach, Nathaniel Hackett and Todd Wash both remain as offensive and defensive coordinators. Dave Caldwell – who is sold on pretty much any player that comes to Jacksonville – remains as general manager.
The only key difference is Tom Coughlin, the newly minted executive vice president of football operations. He, and his discipline, are expected to right the ship through sheer will.
That, frankly, is a tall task.
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While the talk sounds like the Jaguars are improving and recognize that they aren’t good, there is no guarantee that Coughlin’s influence has truly snapped everyone’s eyes back into focus (if they ever were). Marrone sounds and looks the part of Coughlin’s co-disciplinarian and someone who will hold the team accountable, but he was attached to the same Bradley regime that looked completely devoid of ability.
That stigma of being a part of the worst head coaching tenure in modern NFL history is going to be tough to disassociate with. It will be difficult to wash that stink off.
And until the Jaguars actually win on the field, it is well within reason to expect people to be skeptical. As fans, that is at least partly our job.
While I believe in Coughlin and think Marrone may be the right guy for the job, not everyone does – and not everyone should. Until proven otherwise, the past is all we have to inform our opinions.
The past, at least for the Jacksonville Jaguars, is far from pretty.