At some point, you run out of chances. And for Head Coach Gus Bradley of the Jaguars, if he’s not there, he’s one game/loss from being there.
Yet another opportunity for the Jags to win slipped away Sunday afternoon when Ravens kicker Justin Tucker booted the game winner through. There are a myriad of reasons, but the bottom line reality is this: the head coach is ultimately responsible. And with another loss dropping Jacksonville to 0-3 this season, you have to believe that this coming Sunday in London is the end for the fourth year coach.
For all the Jaguars talent and potential: Blake Bortles and his arm, Allen Robinson (who had 2 TD’s Sunday, including a fantastic catch) at Wideout, drafting T.J. Yeldon to be slashing between the tackles back, youth of Dante Fowler, Myles Jack, and Jalen Ramsey to spark the defense, they just don’t get it done.
14 more penalties Sunday.
A porous running game that once again averaged 2.8 yards per carry.
A defense that has repeatedly given up the big throw, run, third down, etc., when that’s supposed to be Bradley’s forte’, as a former linebackers coach and defensive coordinator.
Too many negatives.
And here’s the most damning, with the 0-3 start, Gus Bradley is now 12-39 in 51 games. That’s the second worst losing percentage of any coach in NFL history with at least 50 games coached. And he’s approaching the all time worst with a few more losses.
So, the Jaguars get on a plane soon and head to London to play the Colts with a bye week to follow. It’s unlikely that they make a move at head coach before this game. The natural process would be to do it after the game and take the bye week with the coach. The Raiders did that with Head Coach Dennis Allen a few years ago in the same scenario early in the year.
By the way that interim coach is also likely to be Assistant Head Coach-Offense, Doug Marrone, who has previous NFL head coaching experience in Buffalo and in college at Syracuse.
This is what it has come to for the Jags-talking about the Head Coach getting canned.
But, you can’t say Gus Bradley hasn’t had every chance to turn it around.
Jaguars searching for RB depth after second preseason game
With preseason game number two in the books, it’s apparent the Jaguars have real issues with running back depth due to injury. This after veteran Alfred Blue left the first half of the 24 – 10 Thursday night loss to the Eagles with an ankle injury and did not return.
Blue carried the ball four times for just five yards has Jacksonville offense once again sputtered behind a makeshift offensive line. Coach Doug Marrone was so concerned about that line situation and their ability to protect/block that starting quarterback Nick Foles and running back Leonard Fournette never saw the field for a single play during Thursday night.
That means that veteran at Thomas Rawls (above Thursday) was called upon to carry the ball a little more, and he did so, seven times for 19 yards including a long run of 11 playing in the first half.
Rawls is a 5th year veteran who had some modest success with the Seahawks, including rushing for 830 yards his rookie year in 2015 with a 5.6 yard per carry average. His numbers tapered off in 2016 – 17 with ankle and foot injuries, as he only played in 21 games in those two years. Rawls was later released and picked up by the Bengals, but injured again last season, and never carried the ball in Cincinnati.
Obviously, the Jaguars are wanting to implement Fournette, as the primary ball carrier, but they will need someone else to spell him on a series or two. Also, Fournette has had durability questions, as he missed parts or all of eight games last year with a hamstring injury.
The Jags were also hoping to bring along Temple rookie running back Ryquell Armstead, but after he carried eight times for 22 yards last week, he suffered a concussion in the preseason opening loss to the Ravens. Armstead hasn’t practiced since, and is still being evaluated with no further update Thursday.
Speaking of updates, we await how serious Blue’s ankle injury is coming off this second preseason game. Meanwhile, the likelihood is that Fournette, backed up by Rawls, will be the two running backs when the Jaguars play at the Dolphins next Thursday night.
Jaguars dilemma with injuries vs preseason playing time
The Jacksonville Jaguars will play their second preseason game tonight against the Philadelphia Eagles at TIAA Bank Field. At least, some of them will play against the Eagles.
And therein lies “The Dilemma” facing coach Doug Marrone, his staff and a team trying to shake off an awful 2018 season.
How much are his guys going to play, if at all, in this second exhibition contest? This is a week after 20 of his 22 starters did not play a down in the preseason opening loss in Baltimore.
And while everybody has been looking at the possibility of former Eagles Super Bowl MVP, and now Jaguars free agent star QB, Nick Foles going against his old team, it quite possibly won’t materialize.
As Mike Dirocco, ESPN beat writer for the Jaguars, wrote about earlier this week, Foles all the conceded he may not be out there very much due to injuries on the Jaguars offensive line and concerns over being able to protect him.
However, you cannot replicate the “live fire of a game,” like in the preseason, where Foles can work on timing at full speed with his reads and throws to young receivers like D.J. Chark, DeDe Westbrook and Chris Conley.
Further, it’s not as if the Jags have a season, much less several seasons, of experience with Foles with his personnel to lean on. No, he’s trying to get used to them, and they’re trying to get used to him.
And, let’s not forget that star running back Leonard Fournette wants to have a bounce-back 2019 and he didn’t play a down last week. Yes, there were injury issues with his hamstring all last year.
So what will Marrone and new offensive coordinator John DeFilippo do with Fournette tonight? This is especially with a banged up O-Line.
And, maybe it will be, a series or maybe, none at all that we see the former LSU number one pick, who wowed everyone in his rookie season of 2017.
It’s fully understood that weeks from now, this Thursday night’s second preseason game isn’t going to matter. But for right now?
The first unit Jaguars need to be able to work together under a game tested circumstance, and it doesn’t look like they’re going to do much of that in North Florida Thursday night.