Each time the Jacksonville Jaguars lose, I’ll get a couple of text messages from my friends wondering which cliché head coach Bradley will use in the post-game press conference to spin how it was a good loss. It’s usually a variety of jokes spun off the comment of the game being a learning experience or something along that route. Undoubtedly it always ends up with the question being asked; what are the Jaguars learning from these losses?
Well, it seems they’ve learned how to lose football games.
Sunday’s game against the New York Jets was a good football game, it was fun to watch and was suspenseful up until the interception thrown by Blake Bortles that ended the game. It was still a loss, though. It was the team’s 31st loss since the 2013 season, when Gus Bradley took over as the head coach. It wasn’t a good loss. It was another loss in a game where the Jaguars probably should have won the game.
People always want to throw out that it’s a "young team" as a reason for the Jaguars seemingly always shooting themselves in the foot, but that’s a crap excuse. Most of these players have played at least a full season and the young excuse has gone out the window, because they have experience. When the majority of the players keeping you in the games are those young players, you can’t also throw out the excuse that the team is young.
Anyway, the past five weeks have shown the Jaguars have learned how to lose games. Be it a critical turn over, or a poor coaching decision, or the defense just completely not showing up for a drive or two. Whatever it is, the pattern is they know how to blow a game. That’s got to stop, obviously.
On Sunday, the Jaguars thoroughly out played the Jets, in my opinion, and should have won the game. But, once again, they didn’t.
In the loss, with the Indianapolis Colts winning on Sunday, that last glimmer of hope about potentially winning the division was snuffed out. Even with the "easy" schedule remaining, the Jaguars have shown they can’t win the easy games. There’s no reason to believe they will, or can, because they’ve shown they can’t.
As for the game on Sunday, the just kept shooting themselves in the foot. You can’t have three turnovers and expect to win in this league, especially if you’re the Jaguars at this point. I say three, because Bortles final interception really had no bearing on the game. It wasn’t one thing that last the game for the Jaguars on Sunday, it was a lot of things.
You can’t let the ball bounce in the air and get picked. While I appreciate Bortles running to throw and trying to make a play, you have to have that internal timer of when to take off or just eat the sack/throw the ball away. The head coach shouldn’t put the undrafted rookie back to return a punt in a situation that really you just need to secure it, which is why they’ve been using a different punt returner when it’s expected to be inside the 10-yard line. You can’t have a coach who doesn’t know to call a timeout prior to the two minute warning and save himself about 30 seconds on the clock.
There’s a lot of improvement on the Jaguars. There’s a lot of promising young players on the Jaguars. That’s why this is so frustrating. You can see it on the field, but for whatever reason it’s not materializing in the win column.
I don’t think it’s crazy to say the Jaguars should have at least 4-5 wins at this point, and given how it’s shaken out it might be a struggle to get that many wins by the end of the season. Sure, the schedule looks easy going forward, but it’s been easy since the Patriots game in Week 3 and here you are, at 2-6.
But hey, it was a great game to be a part of and a learning experience.