Going into Sunday’s game, the Jaguars had a chance to reach .500 and secure a win streak. Instead, the team fell apart quicker than hopes for a turned-around season.
Discipline, turnovers, scoring. I feel I’m repeating the obvious more than Head Coach Gus Bradley, but week after week, the Jags prove they can’t improve in any of these categories.
The Jags racked up almost as many penalties as points and had more ejections than touchdowns. Oddly enough, I was talking to some folks, wondering if anybody has been ejected for two unsportsmanlike personal fouls this season. One quarter later, Malik Jackson became the first.
But it wasn’t just penalties. The Raiders lost more yards from penalties and still chalked up 33 points and a win. They put points on the board and, more important, touchdowns.
Quick starts and scores were a focus during the off-season. Yet again on Sunday, the team failed in miserable fashion to do either.
The first three red zone visits for the Jags resulted in an interception and two field goals. The interception was thrown in the end zone – into triple coverage.
In between this stretch, a fumbled punt handed the Raiders a short field and forced the defense back onto the field. Despite the 33 points they allowed, the defense doesn’t share as much of the blame as the other side of the ball.
There’s little doubt Bradley and offensive coordinator/atrocious play-caller Greg Olson will be done after the season, but will it also be the end for quarterback Blake Bortles?
Bortles is currently in the bottom five for quarterback rating and completion percentage, has the third-most interceptions and lingers in the middle of every other major QB category.
Beyond stats, his throwing motion has regressed and he’s either unable to see coverage properly, or he’s overly confident in his ability to beat it.
Bortles has also begun to allow his emotions to affect his leadership abilities. Early trots off the field after losses and silently sitting after missed opportunities are not what a struggling offense needs. They need somebody who will fire them up and keep their heads in the game.
Maybe it’s happening in the locker room, but it needs to transition to the field when and where it’s needed most.
Writing off former QB Blaine Gabbert was easy because, simply put, he was awful from the start. As a Bortles fan, I find it’s more difficult to dismiss him, but in his third year, he needs to be finding his peak.
Realistically, the season ahead won’t be so forgiving. With games against the Chiefs, Vikings, Broncos and a pair against the Texans, the Jags will have to play solid football to even stand a chance.
The AFC South is a weak division, so technically a division championship is within reach. But given what we’ve seen so far, expect the Jags to fall further and further behind first place each week.
Is it time to talk draft yet?