The Jacksonville Jaguars entered the 2016 season with high expectations, but after three straight losses to start the season, head coach Gus Bradley is fighting for his job, according to Ryan O’Halloran of the Florida Times-Union.
Jacksonville had a great offseason and were expected to see an uptick in their win total this season, possibly even challenging for a division title in a weak AFC South. The Jaguars were projected to finish this season close to.500 by ESPN.
Jacksonville heads overseas for its annual game in London, England, against the Indianapolis Colts on October 2. The Jaguars fell to 0-3 in a mistake-filled 19-17 home loss to the Baltimore Ravens on Sunday.
Jacksonville had several opportunities to hold onto its first win of the season after taking a 17-16 lead with 7:29 to go in the game on a 49-yard field goal by Jason Myers. Following the field goal, the Jaguars defense, which played well the entire game, forced three Ravens turnovers.
However, the Jags kept shooting themselves in the foot with penalties, two fourth quarter interceptions by Blake Bortels, and bad sacks.
Jacksonville is now 12-39 (.240) during Bradley’s tenure that began in 2013, which is by far the worst mark in franchise history for a coach in his first four years. The Jaguars had their best mark under Bradley last year when they went 5-11.
Jacksonville has been competitive in two of their first three losses with the lone exception being their 38-14 loss to the San Diego Chargers in Week 2. The problem is that the Jaguars have struggled in all aspects of the game: offense, defense, and special teams. The Jags currently rank 28th in total offense (317.3), tied-26th in points (18.0), and 31st in rushing yards (55.0). Defensively, they are ranked eighth in total defense (311.3), though they have given up the 26th most points (28.0) in the league.
In order for Bradley and the Jags to avoid the dreaded 0-4 start, the Jaguars will need to be better on offense. It all starts with Bortles playing better. The third-year quarterback has turned the ball over seven times (six interceptions) compared to five touchdown passes. He also has taken nine sacks.
Avoiding a loss to the Colts, who are 1-2 on the season after earning their first win of the season on Sunday, may save Bradley’s job for a while. The past two years, a coach has been fired following a Week 4 loss in London. Oakland jettisoned Dennis Allen after his team fell to 0-4 in a Wembley Stadium defeat to Miami in 2014. And the Dolphins canned head coach Joe Philbin after his team lost its Week 4 game last season.
Jacksonville is 1-2 in their three trips to London since 2013, earning a 34-31 victory over the Buffalo Bills a year ago. The Jaguars’ two losses in London have come against San Francisco and Dallas.
If Bradley does end up getting fired, Luke Sims of Black & Teal mentioned five potential replacements. Sims list included Tom Coughlin, Josh McDaniels, Todd Haley, Sean McDermott, and Matt Patricia.
Coughlin may be the emotional choice as he was the Jaguars head coach from 1995-2002, where he posted a 68-60 record and led the Jaguars to four playoff appearances, including two AFC championship games. Overall, the 70-year-old has two Super Bowl rings to go along with a 170-150 record. The problem is Coughlin is supposedly retired though MSN reported that Buffalo Bills recently met with him about a possible job.
According to Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports, McDaniels wants another shot at being a head coach. The current New England Patriots offensive coordinator was the head coach of the Denver Broncos (2009-10), posting 11-17 overall record before getting fired after 12 games in 2010.
Haley is currently the defensive coordinator for the Pittsburgh Steelers. He also has NFL coaching experience with the Kansas City Chiefs (2009-2011), compiling a 19-26 record. He led the Chiefs to the playoffs in 2010.
McDermott (Carolina Panthers) and Patricia (Patriots) are currently defensive coordinators and do not have any head coach experience.
[Featured Image by Phelan M. Ebenhack/AP Images]