Some people are fans of the Jacksonville Jaguars. But many, many more people are NOT fans of the Jacksonville Jaguars. This 2018 Deadspin NFL team preview is for those in the latter group. Read all the previews so far here.
Your team: Jacksonville Jaguars.
Your 2017 record: 10-6. You had one job, Jacksonville. One fucking job. You had a 10-point lead against the Patriots in the fourth quarter of the AFC title game. Gronk was out. Blake Bortles was, miraculously, playing like an actual professional quarterback. Myles Jack stripped Dion Lewis for the ball. All you had to do to beat the Patriots was NOT do what you did.
Jesus fucking Christ. Even the Atlanta Falcons have shrewder halftime adjustments than you people. Was there a single soul out there who thought the Jaguars would wrap up that win instead of withering in a haze of shitty playcalling, tentative defense, and horrendous clock management? Reader, there was not. Of course they blew it. They’re the Jaguars. I trust this team in vital moments about as much as I trust Blake Bortles with his own wallet. Sometimes it feels as if the rest of the NFL exists to do Tom Brady favors, and the Jaguars are no exception. Painfully shitting away the AFC title to the Patriots is the best it’s ever, ever going to get for this franchise.
Frankly, I’m glad they choked in that game, because there’s no clearer sign that the league as a whole is ailing than when the Jacksonville Jaguars achieve any level of prominence. Their victories exist as a condemnation of both the teams they’ve beaten AND the NFL itself. They are the Eli Manning of teams. “We lost to Jacksonville?!?!?!?!” When this team wins, we all lose. Why do you think the refs jobbed them in that game so hard? They were just following standard procedures any time there’s a localized outbreak of Jaguar prosperity. NFL Films has already burned the master of their playoff “win” against Buffalo. All that remains for video posterity are cheap Duval imitations of the #BillsMafia.
By the way, even though last season was a “success,” the Jags still managed to lose to Blaine Gabbert, and to the Jets because of a taunting penalty. That is the true essence of this franchise. It’ll never go away completely.
Your coach: The widely respected Doug Marrone, who is here to kick ass and eat bologna sandwiches. And he’s ALL OUT OF ASSES TO KICK:
“If someone said I was going to be executed and what my last meal was, I’m going to have a bologna and cheese sandwich… I always like bologna because bologna, you never have to throw it out. In other words, if it’s in the refrigerator and you get a little film on it, then you just fry it and it tastes just as good.”
There are so many different metaphors for the Jaguars tucked into just that single quote. You get a sense of the playcalling, the quarterback, and the team’s general reputation whenever you read it. DELICIOUS. Anyway, the Jaguars reached the AFC title game last year after Marrone adopted Tom Coughlin’s working policy of Tough Hate, and so he doubled down on his commitment and ran down his players even MORE over the summer:
“I like a little grumbling, to be honest with you. If there’s not a little bit of grumbling, then you’re probably not doing the right thing. That goes back to being a little uncomfortable.”
I’m sure that went over splendidly with the mild-mannered, reserved players on this particular team. I’m also sure that Marrone’s tendency to suspend his best players for minor infractions will in NO WAY trigger any kind of violent mutiny! Why do the most hard-assed coaches always have the most cowardly game plans?
Your quarterback: KEEP THAT SHIT IN BOUNDS, MAN!
Oh yeah, you’re doing this, Jacksonville. You are ALL IN for yet another season with the NFL’s Least Respected Quarterback.
I know Bortles played shockingly well in the AFC title game, but that’s not happening again. Blake Bortles is the quarterbacking equivalent of playing Spin the Bottle in the middle of the Republican National Convention. Imagine being a long-suffering Jags fan, having this incredible roster suddenly materialize in your lap, and knowing that it will mean absolutely nothing in the end because Bortles is probably gonna crap it all away, unless his coaching staff gets the chance to do it first. Anyway, Bortles “won” the most hideous preseason quarterbacking competition in history last summer, featuring throws like this beauty:
He then went on to have a surprisingly decent season thanks to a refurbished ground game and an all-world defense. Again, everything good about Bortles is surprising, because he himself is bad. Even his own teammates understand this innately:
What about your boy Blake Bortles?
Blake do what he gotta do…
How much trouble do you give him in practice?
We never go against him unless it’s training camp. We never go against them in practice, during the season.
They go against the two’s?
Yeah, scout team. Plus we don’t wanna hurt his confidence. That’ll probably hurt his confidence.
What a ringing endorsement. Rather than splurge during the offseason on an uncommonly deep class of quarterbacking free agents, the Jaguars opted to extend Bortles’ contract. Did they bother to give him any competition in camp? Of course not. Only the immortal Cody Kessler is waiting in the bullpen. They could have traded for Teddy Bridgewater a week ago, and yet they’re gonna opt to waste another year fucking this particular chicken. Will Bortles perform well enough to justify the $34 million he’s due in 2019 and 2020? Of course not. Have fun with Tyrod Taylor next year. Come summer 2019, Bortles will be unemployed and terrorizing basement drywall:
What’s new that sucks: To better protect Bortles both from defenders and from himself, the Jaguars signed Andrew Norwell away from Carolina to be the highest-paid guard in the league. This will not prevent Leonard Fournette from developing some kind of nagging injury that bogs him down for half the season, nor will it alleviate the fact that your wideouts are D.J. Chark and Keelan Cole. Paying Andrew Norwell that much money is like hiring the Queen’s Guard to patrol an empty house.
Austin Seferian-Jenkins is your new tight end. Make sure you download Uber for him, and NEVER let a referee review one of his touchdowns. For secondary depth, the team signed DJ Hayden, whose most significant achievement in Oakland was not having his heart explode during gameplay.
The made the helmets better. Dogs can pee in the stadium now.
What has always sucked: Listen man, I’m not gonna concoct a better metaphor for Jacksonville than Duval losers gathering in 90-degree heat to jump into wading pools of mayonnaise for free. No need for me to debase Jacksonville when everyone there is MORE than willing to do it to themselves. Jacksonville is so trashy even the rest of the Confederacy would prefer not to be associated with it. Every other bloodneck Southerner looks at this area and is like NO THANK YEW! ‘ROUND HERE WE LIKE OUR BISKITS FIRM THANK YEW. Everything about this town is predictable and embarrassing. Stay in Jacksonville long enough and the arid stench of failure WILL get to you.
On the field, I know you wanna think everything good from last season will carry over. It will not. The chance of turdery on this defense abounds. Marcell Dareus was accused of sexual assault this offseason. Twice. The second Jalen Ramsey shows any sign of regression, his act will become insufferable and you’ll be openly rooting for AJ Green to choke him out again. The plague of injuries that brought down all of the league’s good quarterbacks last season will not repeat itself. Deshaun Watson is healthy again, and that means the end of your little magic Pinto ride. Time for you to revert back to form, Jacksonville. The swamp beckons. You won’t have any promising leads to blow this time around.
Also, this song is sitting right there and the Jags haven’t adopted it as a fight song yet.
What might not suck: Check out this mural.
Tell me that isn’t the greatest mural you’ve ever seen. Why is the Jaguar just LOOKING at the sub and not pouncing on it? Was that jaguar coached by Doug Marrone?
Let’s remember a guy who sucked: R. Jay Soward. Now that Soward is out of the league, I assume the bulk of his time is spent trying to get bank tellers to get his first name right. Going by “R. Jay” is like asking for your life to be an Abbott and Costello routine.
HEAR IT FROM JAGUARS FANS!
When people find out I’m a Jags fan they usually look at me like I just threw a baseball through Old Man Coughlin’s window.
I somehow went from hoping Chad Henne would get the starting job in preseason to wondering if our championship window closed in 2017.
When my mom cleaned out my childhood bedroom last year she stumbled upon a home Byron Leftwich jersey that still had the tag on it.
Also as a broke teenager I spent my hard-earned summer job money on a Matt Jones jersey.
I’ll go to my fucking grave saying that Myles Jack wasn’t down. Fuck the Patriots and fuck me for getting my hopes up in the second half.
It took one AFC South crown for the fanbase to forget that we may be the worst franchise of the 21st century. All the Jaguars needed to win the South was catastrophic injuries to the division’s only good quarterbacks and another crack at their last-place schedule. Now the perpetually backwards citizens of Duval county (and the four other Jacksonville counties that the team doesn’t mention) truly believe that Blake Bortles and Doug Marrone are leading the Jags to a 15-1 Super Bowl season in 2019. Jalen Ramsey is the only player I’ve loved this decade and he’s definitely going to join his hometown Titans in free agency. The team is already 12.5% relocated to London.
I can’t believe Stephon fucking Gilmore is the one who killed the Jaguars last year. I also can’t believe this team actually made it to the AFC championship game.
I watched the Steelers game at a BWW and was sitting next to a Steelers fan the entire time. The only thing I could think the entire time is “I have no way to talk to you about this game or anything playoff related because this is completely foreign to me.”
Of course, the last time the Jaguars showed any semblance of hope, it was immediately crushed and torn away. That’s what really scares me about this team. Regression isn’t just a threat, it’s what I’m expecting. Another ten years of shithousery. If the worst comes to pass (which I am fully expecting and prepared for) I will cling to my Telvin Smith jersey and my memories of fucking up the Steelers.
Each year our team president Mark Lamping gives a power point presentation about “small market challenges” and “creative solutions” to the “long-term viability” of the NFL in Jacksonville, complete with shiny renderings of multiple high-rise condominiums meant to be constructed on contaminated industrial shipyards fronting the St. Johns River. In a city of more than a million people, like, nine of them live downtown and the model for NFL sustainability is to convert 70 acres of poisoned wasteland almost directly across the street from the county jail and a Maxwell House coffee factory into luxury residential, convention center space, hotels, offices, dining and entertainment. Oh and there’s an elevated expressway cutting through the middle of all of it, but Trump’s infrastructure plan is going to fund its demolition and re-routing, so don’t worry.
In the meantime, the Jags have to play one home game in London so our billionaire owner won’t have to scrape by, renting out his yacht to Jay-Z and Beyonce anymore. If the downtown real estate thing doesn’t pan out, he went ahead and bought the stadium in London. You know, just in case.
Myles Jack Wasn’t Down.
They fucked themselves out of any hope of getting a reputable quarterback when they picked up the 5th year of Blaine Gabbert 2.0 and then they gave him a $54M deal. Now they will waste a truly all time great defense on a guy that is stupid enough to leave his wallet and keys in his truck, unlocked, at a house party.
I’ve been a Jaguars fan since 1996, when I saw them in two playoff games in a row on TV. My dad wasn’t (and isn’t) a professional football fan, so I thought I’d follow this cool new team. I was ten.
Somehow, my mom found a Jaguars hat for my next birthday. How she found that before the internet still amazes me. We live in Iowa.
Since then, I’ve acquired a lot more Jaguars merchandise (most at discounted prices to get it to move), and been to four games.
I saw them lose to the Lions in 2012. I saw them lose 28-2 against the Kansas City Chiefs in the season opener of 2013, where the Jags scored the first points on a blocked punt on KC’s first possession, and then didn’t score again. I saw them lose to the Broncos in 2016. I saw them lose to the Chiefs (in KC this time), also in 2016. This was the first time I’ve seen multiple Jags fans outside of Jacksonville. It’s still surreal to see another Jaguars fan in any location.
I quit going because they always lost, and of course had their best year in a decade. They spend all this money on the defense, but somehow refuse to get a journeyman quarterback to complete the team. They can’t hold a ten point lead in the AFC Championship game, and they still can’t beat the Titans (fuck 1999). Younger me should have been so much smarter and picked a better team. I still wear a Jaguars hat every day.
What a time to be alive! My beloved moribund Jaguars somehow managed to erase ten years of irrelevance and shame by convincing our tyrannical grandpa and drunk uncle to come back home and take care of us.
Until last season, my favorite Jaguars memory was blowing off senior prom with my best friend to drive 45 minutes to an NFL draft party at a Jax beach bar named Sneakers, featuring Pete Prisco.
Prisco spent the entire night sitting in the back of the bar, talking into a microphone that was broadcast to everyone but those of us actually in the bar. The Jags picked Luke Joeckel and Johnathan Cyprien that year and we all toasted a lineman who couldn’t block a Twitter account and a safety whose biggest contribution to Jacksonville was taking his terrible angles and stone hands to Tennessee.
I’m fully prepared for us to sink like a lead weight this year and spend the next decade ruminating on how Brady would have never converted that 3rd and 18 if Tashaun Gipson’s ankle was at full strength. But at least we won’t have those god-awful two-tone helmets anymore!
Oh also our owner is a Trump donor who now “really regrets his decision”. We should all just sink to the bottom of the Atlantic.
I’ve been a Jags fans since I was five years old. I live in Oklahoma. My fondest memories as a kid were being super stoked to get an actual, real life Tony Boselli autograph in the mail cause I signed up for some Jaguars fan club. I remember the ‘99 team, the fucking juggernaut that somehow found a way to get fucked by Steve McNair and the Titans three separate times.
I remember the years of The World’s Blandest QB Byron Leftwich, the NFL Network clip of John Henderson having an assistant commit second degree battery on him before a game to get fired up, The River City Relay. Jimmy Smith, Keenan McCardell, MJD, I was there for all of that shit. I even foolishly believed we had a chance to stop the Patriots in 07.
But all of a sudden, we couldn’t make a correct decision. That shitbag Gene Smith took over and ran everyone we had with over four years of NFL experience out of town. Firing Jack Del Rio, hiring Mike fucking Mularkey. Drafting Gabbert instead of JJ Watt, who went one pick later. The car crash known as Justin Blackmon’s NFL career. Gus Bradley having THE WORST winning percentage in NFL coaching history. We were a fucking tire fire.
But then last year happened. All of a sudden, Sacksonville was a thing. Ramsey and Bouye and Campbell and Ngakoue were killing machines on defense. We had a running game for the first time since MJD left. And Bortles was serviceable for the first time ever! Who cares that we lost to New England due to the worst referee calls this side of a University of Texas football game? We were back baby!
But now, Poz is gone and we don’t have anyone to play MLB, we threw a boatload of money at Blake Bortles, a guy so bad at one point that we had people unironically calling for management to sign Tebow. Even if we’ve got one of the best defenses in the league and a up and coming young running back, I still have that nagging feeling in the back of my head that somehow, some say, the Jaguars are gonna find a way to fuck this up real good, cause that’s what they always do.
Fuck Justin Blackmon, Fuck Gene Smith, Fuck Matt Jones. Myles Jack Wasn’t Down.
- Fuck Stephon Gilmore. Fuck Matt Patricia. Fuck Belichick. Fuck Brady. Fuck [insert scrappy white receiver here]. But most of all...fuck these fucking Gillette referees. Holy shit. One. penalty against NE. And it’s on Special Teams. And that’s it. All game. When your team starts Nate “Choke-Slam-Your-Yannick-Because-I-Am-An-Overrated-Shit-Bag-Holder” Solder? Fuck everything
- I count the days until we rid ourselves of Dante Fowler only to see him go to the Bengals where he’ll lead the league in sacks the very next year.
-We made it to the AFC championship game last year, yet people still ask me if the Jaguars are a professional football team. The Jaguars reached for new exciting heights last season only to fall flat numerous times throughout the season to inferior teams because we are tapioca-turd flavored pudding and our coaches have the spinal fortitude of a dachshund.
- Fuck Gene Smith.
- I’ve come full circle on Bortles. Loved it, then hated it, and now I’m back to love with that goddamn doofus of a manchild. In this era of unprecedented speed, size, and strength, Bortles is about to become the prototypical QB; a nigh-invulnerable, lovable goon. He deflects all manner of controversy or political standing by having zero personality because he is the real-world equivalent of The Tick.
- The Patriots turned me into a goddamn conspiracy theorist and for the first time since I became a fan over 13 years ago, I hate myself more now than I ever did when we were trash. Meanwhile, Patriots fans probably forgot who they played in the AFC championship.
Winning 10 games in football’s weakest division was the worst thing possible for the Jags after years of mediocrity. The camo-wearing, Bud Light imbibing MAGA dipshits were emboldened. Fuck the “DUUUUVAL” chant. Fuck the fans who booed when players took a knee in London and threatened to boycott, but came back when the Jags hammered the Steelers four weeks later. If we repeat last season’s accomplishments, this fanbase will be more insufferable than Seattle.
This team plays seven goddamn home games a year and the fans are placated by marginal upgrades. Pool! Big scoreboard! New uniforms!
We peaked. Don’t let a 10-6 season and an AFC Championship appearance delude you into thinking this team is anywhere near good. I’ve been conditioned by the disappointment of years past. This season has 8-8 written all over it.
It all starts with Bort. Bortles resembles your typical Northeast Florida man quite well: He can’t take five steps without huffing, he drinks Bud Ice, he’s unable to utter a sentence without resorting to some cliche. Watch for announcers praising Bortles his FIGHT, GRIT and TENACITY.
While he wastes this great young defense (who will all leave via free agency in 2021), Bortles has driven me to the point where I’m clamoring to see what this team could do with an average QB. The Jags are basically going to be the mid-2000s Panthers minus the Super Bowl appearance.
Gus Bradley, Justin Blackmon and Matt Jones can go step on nails.
Submissions for the 2018 Deadspin NFL previews are now closed. Next up: Minnesota Vikings. Ugh.