The Jacksonville Jaguars have not hit .500 since 2010 and need to rebound after years of incompetence. Will .500 be enough in 2017?
An 8-8 record has been the goal for the Jacksonville Jaguars the last two seasons. Instead, the team stumbled to an 8-24 mark over those two years, a far cry from .500.
Since firing Jack Del Rio as head coach in 2011, the Jaguars have not managed to even dream of being a positive team. .500 remains the goal year after year as Jags fans desperately cling to the idea of the playoffs because something went right the year before.
In 2016, it was the electric, big-play offense that was supposed to get the team to .500. In 2017 it is supposed to be the deceptively good defense with its key additions.
The hope springs eternal for Jags fans at least in part because each offseason the team seems to get it right. Winning on paper, the Jaguars bring in the right players and put those players in the right positions to succeed. The NFL draft yields promising young players that can be immediate contributors and free agency has been filled with big names.
It simply hasn’t translated to success.
In talking about winning the offseason, ESPN’s Michael DiRocco mentions that he’ll be believe in the Jaguars when the results on the field are positive. He quietly slips in that he is not expecting the Jags to reach .500 in 2017.
The Jaguars were open about aiming for .500 in 2016 and it was a clear measurement by which the team could be judged. Things are more murky now, but if the internal goal is still just .500 then nothing much has changed. That, or the Jags are tempering their expectations.
Perhaps more importantly, with low expectations, the Jaguars may not see a shakeup at the top unless things completely fall apart. General manager Dave Caldwell appears to be the best candidate to be the odd man out if that does happen, but if the Jags are content with aiming for .500 it doesn’t seem likely he’ll be shown the door if the team gets close but falls short.
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This is not speculation that many Jags fans may want to hear. Most fans were willing to blow everything up and start from scratch in 2017, but that didn’t happen. Another losing season would only make those feelings grow as fans’ frustration boils over with another year of futility.
Personally, I hope .500 isn’t the goal. I hope that internally the Jags are aiming for the playoffs and will hold themselves to that standard. Head coach Doug Marrone is all about winning and he won’t settle for .500, even if the team is making progress.
Hopefully he won’t have to settle for long.