Some people are fans of the Jacksonville Jaguars. But many, many more people are NOT fans of the Jacksonville Jaguars. This 2014 Deadspin NFL team preview is for those in the latter group.
Your team: Jacksonville Jaguars
Your 2013 record: 4-12, but with a scorching hot 4-4 finish, people. MOMENTUM. Combined record for the Jags over the past three years: 11-37. The Jaguars also had the worst point differential in football last season, making them the token team I use for any and all "could the best college team beat the shittiest NFL team?" hypotheticals. Could Florida State beat the Jaguars? SURE. Why not? Who gives a shit at this point, really?
I know the Texans had a worse record last season, but that felt like some kind of tragic accident. When the Jaguars are shitty, they put intense preparation and care into it. Their shittiness is the residue of design.
Your coach: Bart Hunkley. No, wait. Darv Mandley. No, wait. Vern Monkey. No, wait. Mike Mularkeybarkey. No, wait. Garb Boney. No, that's not quite right. Gus Bradley! That's it! Gus Bradley sounds like a computer-created coach in Madden's franchise mode.
Your quarterback: AAC mack daddy Blake Bortles. Yes, while the rest of the NFL carefully deduced that this year's QB crop was wildly overvalued, the Jaguars struck a courageous blow for irrational exuberance and reached desperately for Bortles at No. 3. Why draft Bortles so high? Well, because he looks like a quarterback, doesn't he? He's so tall! And white! And … uh … tall! He's like Warren G. Harding in quarterback form.
(Is there some sort of law that every YouTube highlight reel has to include horrible music?)
Anyway, you can hardly blame the Jaguars for throwing themselves on the first quarterback to walk into the bar. They just spent three years with Yo Gabba Gabbert. Spend that much time with Gabbert and you'll hump the first guy on the street who's over six feet tall and can complete a 15-yard out route. Bortles isn't Gabbert! By order of natural law, ANYTHING NOT GABBERT MUST BE BETTER THAN GABBERT.
"It's Chad," coach Gus Bradley said emphatically after the team's first practice last week. "We feel really good about him."
Sure you do, fella. Sure you do. I like the "emphatically" there. I want my coach 100 percent behind Chad Henne or not at all. NFL teams always do this. They draft someone high, and then they make a big show of declaring the dipshit journeyman who's already there to be the "firmly entrenched" starter, so that the coach can create some kind of illusion of being competitive right now. Then the rookie takes over in Week 3 and the process of going 4-12 is complete. Does it really help Bortles to go through all this nonsense? "You're gonna be a star here, kid. But first, you must defeat HENNE. If you can beat out Henne, you can beat out the world!" Don't patronize us, Jaguars.
Also, kudos to Bortles for replacing Brody Croyle as the quarterback who gets the most "DURRRR HIS GIRLFRIEND IS A SMOKESHOW I WOULDN'T KICK HER OUTTTA BED" mentions on Twitter.
What's new that sucks: Gone are the days when you drafted Maurice Jones-Drew in your fantasy league and prayed that he cobble together 1,200 yards and 10 touchdowns using little more than a discarded fountain pen and some baling wire. MJD is gone and bell-cow duties have been turned over to … Toby Gerhart? AHAHAHAHA ARE YOU FUCKING JOKING? You could compile a fumble reel of Gerhart that would last longer than shooting schedule for Boyhood. Gerhart is the kind of back who will fumble, pick up the fumble, and then fumble that fumble again. He's a fumbling master. In one game, I saw him fumble three times in a single quarter. So have fun with that, Jacksonville. Toby Gerhart. Christ.
What has always sucked: As always, it is an exercise in existential pretzel-knotting to summon any kind of feeling about the Jaguars. Apart from Bortles coming on board and the two second-round wideouts the team drafted to help him out, not much has changed with this team from a season ago. It's still owned by an Indiana Jones villain. Justin Blackmon is still suspended forever. Paul Pusluzynyzyewskizyzzyzzaxxon is still around to hurt himself. Luke Joeckel will probably get hurt just before we're all ready to officially declare him a bust. The team still sucks at drafting. Even Marcedes Lewis is still on the team because the Jaguars signed him to the worst contract ever gifted to a tight end. The new helmets still look like an alien's receding hairline. The most noticeable difference is that we have now learned that playing for the Jags will give you a stroke. As of right now, the Jaguars' main goal is to reach the competence level of the Falcons, which is so, so sad.
It wasn't always this way. The Jaguars have had their moments, man. This is the team that ended the careers of both Dan Marino and Jimmy Johnson in one fell swoop, for which I am eternally grateful. Silky Garrard once dumped the Steelers in the playoffs in front of all their shrieking dickhead fans. And their divisional playoff win over the Broncos back in 1996 was one of the coolest upsets ever. Loogit how happy all the trashy Jiggywire fans are!
This was back when Mark Brunell was their best player (technically, he still would be if he were on the roster). FUN FACTS: Brunell has an entire section of his Wikipedia page titled "Christian Life," and, sadly, he represents the peak of the franchise's existence. Since the age of two, it's pretty much been a downward progression for Jacksonville. Unlike their expansion siblings in Carolina, which has the requisite Super Bowl appearance and suitbully owner to qualify as a legitimate NFL franchise, the Jaguars don't really feel like they belong here. They feel like an af2 team that got promoted to the NFL by accident. They are the old storefront in your neighborhood that is BEGGING to be torn down. You drive by it and you're like, "When are they gonna tear that place down and put in a Chick-fil-A"? You know it's a matter of time, but the permits haven't been approved yet.
Get yourself a star quarterback and a handful of playoff appearances and you can make any NFL city feel relevant. Even a city as pointless as Jacksonville. Here is a photo of the town's historic Great Ditch!
This city's only purpose is to stage the Georgia-Florida game. It is a temporary fairground that people decided to live in for some reason. But it COULD have a decent NFL team if the Jaguars ever managed to get their shit together, which will probably never happen. They are installing swimming pools at the stadium, which is the universal signal for "we know you're not here to watch the game." At some point, the Jags will be forced to play in the parking lot while the team sets up a miniature Ferris Wheel on the main field to get people to show up.
What might not suck: If everything goes right and Bortles turns out to be decent and Marquis Lee turns out to be a dangerous receiving threat who WON'T drink a bottle of Robitussin and go out to play mailbox baseball in a convertible, the Jags could be a playoff team sometime around 2017. So yay!
Hear it from Jaguars fans!
If a head coach lost to the Jaguars in 2013, that coach was fired.
There aren't even any jaguars in Jacksonville. It doesn't make any sense.
1. Blaine Gabbert
2. Blaine Gabbert
3. Byron Leftwich
4. Blaine Gabbert
5. Before the draft this year, a friend asked me who had the most "Gabbert Potential". I responded with Blake Bortles.
The ownership, past or present, has never believed in us. The proof is in the money. We're consistently #1 in cap space — as of right now we're $5 million ahead of the Browns — and as a result, the team feels like a minor league squad. It's not that they suck; it's just that it feels like they don't even belong in the NFL. When you're "locking up" players like Ziggy Hood and Toby Gerhart (and giving the latter an immediate starting role), you give the impression that you simply don't have the same standard as other teams.
The players don't believe in us. Aaron Ross used us for a free one-year vacation to Florida (and some paid leave to go see his wife in the Olympics). Maurice Jones-Drew — arguably our best player for five years — constantly belittled his own team (at one point calling himself a "decoy"), and then he held out of training camp in 2012 with TWO YEARS left on his mega-bucks contract. Two years!
The fans and analysts don't believe in us. When we drafted Blake Bortles as the first QB overall, people pretended to not even know who he is, and they called it a reach, even when all the mock drafts had him going Top 5. And it probably WILL end up being a reach, because it's the Jaguars. If the Saints or Patriots had traded up for Bortles, you know that everyone would be crowning him. But it's the Jaguars. We drafted Blaine Gabbert, Byron Leftwich, Derrick Harvey, Matt Jones, R. Jay Soward, Reggie Williams, Tyson Alualu, Justin Blackmon...we are an elephant graveyard for first round picks.
And we value "speed" in our receivers if you know what I mean. Jones, Blackmon, Soward, Williams...all first-round wideouts, all out of the league for drugs.
The stadium will probably have the second-rate Red Zone Channel without Andrew Siciliano. Jacksonville cannot have nice things.
- Our wide receivers are either in rehab or rehabbing their hammies on the sidelines.
- Everyone who wants the team to pull a Russell Wilson with Bortles is afraid of pulling a Russell Wilson with Bortles because look what happened when Gabbert did it.
- We don't know who's playing center and opening day is slightly over a month away.
- Third-round punter (previous administration blunder)
We last made the playoffs in 2007 and it hasn't even been close since then.
Our list of WR drug-related offenses is so utterly consistent and tragic that I would think it's funny if I didn't have to watch the losers and undrafted free agents that we play in their stead. Seriously, did you see who got starts at WR last year???? Kerry Taylor was our leading receiver in week 17 last year and I have no idea who that is. His NFL.com photo has what looks like a Packers uniform, so I suspect we stole him from their practice squad and started him.
Similarly, our list of failed pass-rushers these past 8 years is also completely hilarious. Derrick Harvey, Quentin Groves, Tyson Alualu...we haven't had a competent pass rush since Favre was still a Packer.
Andddddddddddddd the quarterbacks. Dear God, the quarterbacks. We paid David Garrard a ton of money based on one lucky-ass season cause WHY THE HELL NOT? Then we drafted Blaine Gabbert (over getting JJ Watt). The fact that Chad Henne is the most competent QB we've trotted out in like 3 years is a bad, bad sign. Good luck, Bortles.
We drafted a goddamned punter 5 spots before Russell Wilson. We're never, ever living that shit down.
Let's go with how this fanbase might be the most overly defensive, arrogant jackasses out of all NFL fanbases. They've embraced their smallness to the point where they yell out DUVALLLLL (the county Jacksonville is in) in proud unison as if this sign of solidarity isn't the dumbest fan chant since people realized they could chant "bullshit" at referees. Make a crack on Twitter about the team and all 20 fans will rush to tell you how you're an idiot and no nothing about their pathetic excuse of a team.
I chose to become a fan of this team when I was six. Six year old me was a dick.
Remember Crystal Pepsi? The 2014 Jacksonville Jaguars are the Crystal Pepsi of the NFL. It's the team no one likes, now in a fresh new look! You've never seen a team like this! Cue the Van Halen.
Every decision is like some calculated corporate marketing plan on how to better sell this product to a dwindling fan base that has grown increasingly disillusioned from years of ineptitude. Last year it was new uniforms, a new coaching staff, and new GM – you know, all of the clichéd excitement of the "new era" that all bad teams go through every 3-5 years. When have the Patriots or the Packers ever celebrated a "new era?" Answer: they don't. They just keep right on pissing excellence, while the bottom-dwellers like the Jags have to manufacture fan excitement through not-even-thinly-veiled marketing ploys like getting new uniforms.
This year's draft was a blatant attempt to grow the fan base in Orlando by drafting Bortles (from UCF) with the #3 pick, even though that was a consensus reach who is not even close to being ready for prime time. They've already committed to having him ride the pine all year behind Chad Henne of all people. Now they've added swimming pools and giant jumbotrons (jumbo-jumbotrons!) to the stadium, all to improve the "fan experience." Hey, you know what really improves the fan experience? Winning football games.
Nothing changes the fact that the actual product on the field will stumble, stutter, and fart its way to a 4-12 record. This is the team that replaced the only good offensive skill position player, MJD, with Toby Freaking Gerhart. This is the team that signed a bunch of Seahawk retreads and a Seahawks defensive coordinator (gee, their defense was pretty good this past year without him), and have the audacity to call themselves "Seattle South." This is a team that willingly agreed to play four "home" games in London, then claimed it was an effort to "grow the franchise internationally" and "sell Jacksonville to the world," and not a transparent attempt to grease the skids to one day move the team there permanently. Seriously, read this article and try not to vomit.
This is the team that waited until the year after the Luck/RGIII sweepstakes to have the worst record in football. This is the team that passed on Dez Bryant due to character issues, and then drafted Justin Blackmon two years later. I could go on. And that's just in the past 5 years.
It's all smoke and mirrors. Pay no attention to the team on the field! Take a refreshing dip in the swimming pool! Laugh at the man with the silly mustache! This team could be a case study in manipulating public perception. Big Coal and Phillip Morris should take notes from these guys.
And the worse part – it's working. People are buying it, and not just in Jacksonville. If I read one more article calling the Jags the next surprise playoff team, I'm going to call the fraud hotline.
Because drafting a punter in the third fucking round was somehow only the second stupidest idea to come out of Jacksonville in 2012.
I am loathe to bring up my allegiance with non fans as it will STILL inevitably lead to the diarrhea of TIM TEBOW WOULD PUT BUTTS IN SEATS.
I give you the lowest-rated teams in Madden 15:
Jacksonville Jaguars – 73
Oakland Raiders – 72
How bad is it when your team not only sucks in real life, but in a video game as well? You can't even escape into a fantasy world, because your team is terrible there as well.
"They should have gotten Tebow!" Hearing people constantly tell you that your talent-starved team needed to pick up one of the worst QBs in recent memory as some sort of miracle-worker has to be the most frustrating thing ever. Oh well, once Irsay has to sell Andrew Luck for bail money, the division should be ours.
All our receivers apparently sit around getting high together like the basement scenes on That 70s Show.
The Jacksonville Jaguars best player, Justin Blackmon, is a raging alcoholic who's suspended for the season. Our second best player is the fucking punter who was drafted in the third round, five spots ahead of Russell Wilson. The Jaguars drafted Blake Bortles third overall with the expectation that he sit behind Chad Henne — of the Not Peyton Manning Hennes.
The Jaguars finished tied for dead ass last in sacks last year despite DOUBLING their sack total from 2012. I guess the front office is a "glass half full" group, because the Jaguars didn't draft a pass rusher until the fifth round of this year's draft. Not that a pass rusher is really needed by a team who plays Andrew Luck twice every year.
So, no offense, no defense, the Jaguars are going to suck in 2014. I miss David Garrard.
I'm from London, and I don't want anything to do with them.