None of us know if there is a number Jacksonville Jaguars head coach Gus Bradley must reach to keep management happy, but we all know another 3-13 record or 4-12 could seal the fate of the popular head coach here in north Florida.
The offense continues to look better than it did last season, scoring more points and having more chances to score thanks in part of offensive coordinator Greg Olson’s system.
Blake Bortles, Allen Robinson, Allen Hurns and T.J. Yeldon have a lot to do with that as well. Now, this team must find a way to follow through and win some games instead of leaving opportunity on the playing field.
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The repetitive talks with the media about getting better can only go so far with a team that has played close games, only to fall short. In every contest this season, sans the game against New England, Jacksonville had a chance to win and failed.
That is part coaching deficiencies, but it is also part players being ineffective at the most critical times in games.
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Right now, I’d say his seat is still a bit warm in the office he occupies at EverBank Field. That does not mean there is a countdown of any sort or a website asking for his removal, just that Bradley knows the NFL is a win now league – something the Jaguars have a had a hard time doing for many years.
I am not trying to make Bradley’s job any harder, but there are a few things to ponder which could add to how the media and the fans react to the jovial and fiery coach – neither of which he can control himself.
With a young quarterback set to break records and receivers who look like Jimmy Smith and Keenan McCardell from years gone by, this is a young core of talent that has a real chance to grow together. Much like Dan Marino, Mark Clayton and Mark Duper and Dan Fouts, John Jefferson and James Lofton, the Jaguars have potential for one of the more explosive passing games in the NFL.
That’s a fact.
It may not be this season, but Bortles also has a chance to become one of the elite players in this league. He is on pace to throw for 4,200 yards and 34 touchdowns – no small feat in this league.
The interception ratio (he is on pace to throw 20 this season) is a bit of a concern, mainly because he has thrown too many costly picks that have led to touchdowns and have stopped drives when his team has moved the ball effectively.
Still, when you look at maturation of a quarterback, besides Derek Carr, can you say any other passer out of the 2014 Draft is better than Bortles? Not hardly.
With eight games remaining on the schedule and only one team that currently has a winning record – Atlanta – and that is tenuous at best, this could be a defining second half of the season for these Jaguars. Should Bradley’s players avoid the self-inflicted wounds he has mentioned before, could this team win at least half their remaining games?
Wins and losses are how a team is judged in the NFL. This team isn’t winning, but it is progressing. As long as Bortles can keep this team competitive, Jacksonville could show the NFL it is a team on the rise. That would be a lot better than this team has been the past two seasons, and it should keep Bradley around at least one more season.
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