I will admit to it, here and now, that I have been overly critical of those who have blamed Gus Bradley for the Jacksonville Jaguars poor performances this year, as well as these past few years.
I've always been the one to tell my friends to give the Jaguars time and they're starting to get it together. I've even said this year will be our year.
Never, not once, have I felt the need to blame our coaching staff. I haven't put the blame of a loss on head coach Gus Bradley. I've always made excuses to defend Bradley, because for three years now, I've been convinced he was the answer. I thought a "players' coach" is exactly what we needed for our young, developing team. A coach who young football players can lean on when the going gets tough and know that he will always defend them, and never discipline them.
Maybe I've been wrong. Maybe I've been dead wrong.
A part of me might always say yes to Gus Bradley's way of coaching. The disappointed, win-hungry, football side of me is starting to say no.
So far, Gus Bradley has led the Jaguars to a miserable 8-28 record in 36 games as head coach. The team he's led out of the tunnel has given us little hope for the future. Four weeks ago, we were telling ourselves that the Jaguars were finally going to be competitive. We were telling ourselves that the Jaguars were going to take that next step. We were boasting about how teams should start preparing for the new and improved Jacksonville Jaguars.
Look where we are now.
The Jaguars are the butt of many jokes around the NFL. It's unfortunate, it hurts, and it's hard to believe. But the team we are so loyal to has disappointed us so far. It's Week 4 of the season, and people are already jumping off of the ship. You can scroll through your Twitter feed once a day and find yourself a good joke or a criticism about the Jaguars. It's everywhere, the news is out -- the Jaguars aren't good, and there's nothing that's telling us that they will be any time soon.
I don't want to recap any games here. That's not what I'm writing this article for. We all know how these games have resulted. We all know the state of the Jaguars right now. We all share the same emotions: disappointment, anger, frustration. I don't need to tell you about how 40-year-old Matt Hasselbeck led the Indianapolis Colts to a win over the Jaguars. I don't need to tell you about how the Jaguars gave up a franchise-record 51 points to the New England Patriots.
This team has talent. The Jaguars have a quarterback that is starting to look better every week. The Jaguars have a young, emerging set of players at skill positions on offense. The Jaguars offensive line has improved. But they're young and aren't executing well, especially near the red zone. That's on the coaching staff. They need to be taught how to do it. They need schemes that will cater to their specific skill sets and put them in a better position to get yards and points.
After three years of watching this team find ways to lose miserably, can we keep putting our trust in Gus?