The Jacksonville Jaguars are bad. They're really bad, and that makes a lot of fans upset, which is understandable. We need to look at the big picture, however.
Most didn't expect much from the Jaguars in 2013. I picked the team to go 5-11 in the team preview, which I thought was generous. Looking back at it now, it looks like a ridiculous prediction because the Jaguars seemed destined for 0-16, legitimately, with how things have gone so far this year.
That's left a lot of fans upset and muttering "same old Jaguars" which is understandable, while still being inaccurate.
It's not the same old Jaguars. It's a different Jaguars because the people in power now weren't afraid to do what needed to be done.
The Jaguars roster needed to be torn down at it's core. People compare it to rebuilding a house, but when in reality it's new construction. Caldwell and company had to bulldoze down the house and now they're inspecting the foundation to see what needs to be changed.
Do they need to pour new concrete? Can this cornerstone stay, or does it need to be moved?
This is what the 2013 season is about. It's a long hard look at the players on the roster and who they should keep, and it was done that way by design. I'm not saying the Jaguars are intentionally "tanking" the season, but look at how the roster has been constructed.
It's been pieced together in a way where players know they have to play their butts off, or they're gone. That's the kind of mentality that Gus Bradley and Dave Caldwell wanted to instill on the Jaguars, because they needed a complete rebuild.
From the front office, to the culture of the franchise, to the team on the field.
Look at the small positives we've seen through the preseason and the first four weeks of the season. It's predominantly new players that Caldwell has brought in. It's the rookies he's drafted. It's the free agents he brought in on one-year "prove it" contracts.
Sure, it sucks watching the Jaguars get blown out week in and week out, but the reality is all losses are equal in the NFL. A 20-17 loss might feel better the day of than a 37-3 loss, but in reality, they're both still a notch in the loss column.
They're setting themselves up for a sustainable long-haul build. They want to have continued success, which can only be done by drafting the right players, keeping them on cost-controlled contracts (which is why picks are so important under the new CBA) and plucking the right players from free agency.
I didn't expect the Jaguars to get their faces pushed in every week either, but I also didn't expect them to even sniff the playoffs or a .500 record. This roster was utterly destroyed by the previous general manager who had delusions of grandeur and thought he was building a good football team.
He thought they were close last year.
And believed it.
He literally thought that picking players from smaller schools was better, because they constantly had to "earn it" it crappy weight rooms, on crappy fields, etc. He willfully picked lesser talented players, because of some cockamamie philosophy he had.
Read that again.
The road ahead is long and rough. The team is going to stink. They'll probably still be not very good in 2014. That's how bad this roster is.
So what is a reasonable expectation for David Caldwell, Gus Bradley, and the Jacksonville Jaguars?
For me, personally... I think fair and reasonable expectations are that the Jaguars are competing for a playoff spot in the 2015 season. When I say competing for a playoff spot, I mean they're within a few games of making them with five or so weeks left in the season.
Gus Bradley isn't getting fired this year, or next year, and probably not even after 2015. Neither is David Caldwell. Shad Khan knew what needed to be done this offseason, so he's going to let the people he hired do it.
I'm not sure most people, media and Jaguars fans realized how bad of shape the roster was in.
Now we do.