The Gus Bus has CRASHED

December 21, 2016
2 mins read

Once December rolls around, every Jaguars fan should be used to disappointment. Even with a two-score lead on Sunday, between beers the whispers were, “We’re going to lose.”

And lose they did. In a game where the defense played as well as we expected all season and a kickoff was returned for a touchdown for the first time since 2007, the offense looked like a junior varsity squad trying to make the big boy team.

But, disappointed and slightly buzzed fans did walk away with one victory Sunday … Head Coach Gus Bradley was fired after the game.

Bradley has one of the worst records in NFL history, a pathetic 14-48. New England Patriots Head Coach Bill Belichick, to put in perspective, has had 48 losses since 2003. In fact, Belichick would have to lose every game for the next 41 seasons to match Bradley’s win percentage.

No doubt Bradley is a nice guy and his players speak highly of him. I’ve conversed with him multiple times and he’s always been a wonderful person, but at day’s end, he couldn’t help the team win and that’s what cost him his job.

Owner Shahid Khan’s statement on Bradley’s release signals general manager Dave Caldwell might have at least one more year with the organization. Khan said Caldwell will be tasked with hiring a new coach.

For now, assistant coach Doug Marrone has been named interim head coach.

Will Bradley’s release be the “cure-all” for a struggling team? Likely not. Much in the same way a change in offensive coordinators was made earlier this season, it’s just one of many steps on the road to recovery.

Caldwell himself is on the hot seat, but next on most fans’ hit list is quarterback Blake Bortles.

Once again, during the loss to the Texans, Bortles failed to move the ball effectively and helped blow a 12-point lead.

Some seem to think Bortles will magically become a more mechanically sound passer under a new coach. Let’s be realistic: A new head coach isn’t going to fix him.

He’ll likely remain the starter this year and probably have a shot at the job next year under a new coach, but how can he possibly be the team’s franchise quarterback?

The few times I’ve seen Bortles throw a spiral are when he’s rifling it so hard his guys can’t make a play on it. His footwork is a mess, his arm motion has regressed, he can’t read coverages (hence the interceptions) and he throws a tantrum each time something bad happens.

No coach can correct those problems and no coach at NFL level should have to.

Beyond Bortles, many have pointed a blaming finger at Caldwell. Despite a few solid draft picks (looking at you, Ramsey), he’s also had a series of duds – including Bortles and Bradley.

So what’s next?

Well, prepare to celebrate the holidays with a pair of divisional losses on Christmas Eve and New Year’s Day. Then, the rebuild continues.

While it looks like this won’t be a complete rebuild, as Caldwell may still be employed, it’s certainly not where anyone expected to be going into this season.

As Jaguars fans, we’ll have to fall back on the old motto: “There’s always next year.”

Folio is your guide to entertainment and culture around and near Jacksonville, Florida. We cover events, concerts, restaurants, theatre, sports, art, happenings, and all things about living and visiting Jax. Folio serves more than two million readers across Jacksonville and Northeast Florida, including St. Augustine, The Beaches, and Fernandina.

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