If the Jaguars were to make a midseason coaching change, there will never be a better time than four weeks ago, entering their bye week. (They screwed that up by winning that last game before the break, their first win of the season.) There will never be a second-better time than right now, after a truly putrid Thursday defeat, giving them 10 days before their next game and their next loss. But owner Shad Khan says Gus Bradley’s job is safe. For now.
The Florida Times-Union reports that Khan said after the game Bradley will not be fired, though the paper does not report the exact words he used, which is a bummer; parsing the dreaded vote of confidence and looking for an out is a time-honored tradition. Because if we’re being honest here, there are only otwo possibilities: fire Bradley on Jan. 2, or fire him sooner.
The Jaguars were bad, bad, bad in their 36-22 loss to the Titans, missing tackles, taking penalties, and seeming either unprepared to play or uncaring of how they played. Tennessee is certainly no great shakes on offense, yet they gained 354 yards in the first half last night, tops in the NFL in any half this season.
This might have been aberrational for how ugly it was, but the loss part is familiar enough. In his three-plus seasons as Jaguars head coach, Bradley is 14-41, a winning percentage of .255. That’s the worst mark for a coach with at least 50 games since World War II. That’s the second-worst mark for a coach with at least 50 games in NFL history, and the guy who’s first on the list only kept his job because he owned the team too.
And here are some fun facts, composed before wins against the Colts and Bears this year.
Bradley has never beaten a team that finished above .500? How is that even possible? (And yet at the same time, how is it so obvious?)
The question, as always, is how to separate a poorly constructed roster from a coaching staff that’s not getting the most out of what is there. The players, predictably, took the loss on themselves. But ... Blake Bortles, be careful what you wish for:
“I know I’m 100 percent behind Gus,” Bortles said. “I believe in him 100 percent and what we’re trying to do here. Gus isn’t the one committing dumb penalties. Gus isn’t the one turning the ball over. Gus isn’t the one not making plays. That’s on us as a locker room and as players.
“Gus has been my head coach since I’ve been in the NFL, and I would love to play my NFL career for Gus Bradley.”
Bradley is a convenient scapegoat for a team that doesn’t appear good enough to even regress to the mean. The Jaguars have been so bad in so many ways for so long, that a mere coaching change doesn’t come close to addressing the franchise-deep problems. But it’d be a start, and if it’s an inevitability, why wait?