The Jacksonville Jaguars went on national television on Sunday evening against the Cincinnati Bengals and looked like a bunch of idiots. The first team offense was absurd disorganized and sloppy, picking up once again way too many procedural penalties that they shouldn't be getting at this point. The first team defense was gashed in the run game and Luke Joeckel's first snap at left guard was him getting completely run over by Geno Atkins.
Folks, it was bad.
The worst thing from Sunday's game wasn't anything on the field however, it was something that Mike Tirico and Cris Collinsworth said on the television broadcast. Mid-way through the Jaguars first team offense tripping over their own two feet, Collinsworth made mention that the Jaguars are building for next year. I thought maybe I heard him wrong or he just misspoke, because afterall, it is Cris Collinsworth. Then a few minutes later Collinsworth started going on about how the Jaguars are a young and talented team that is still rebuilding and are building for next year.
This is wrong.
The Jaguars are not building for next year. We're nipping this narrative in the bud right now. The team has spent the past three seasons "rebuilding" and even told everyone last year prior to the start of the season that it was "built", then stumbled to a 5-11 record with virtually everything going their way. Head coach Gus Bradley talked last week after a practice about the higher expectations and how that's how fans should feel at this point. Even Jaguars owner Shad Khan made mention in an interview it's time to win now.
Maybe something said in the production meetings with NBC or something was completely misunderstood that made Collinsworth think that the "building for next year" narrative was something worth hammering home, because he did it all night and it made me really uncomfortable. The Jaguars cannot enter the 2016 season trying to tell fans they're still rebuilding and it's for "next year". It was jarring because it was completely counter to everything the team has said publicly about this season, so I don't believe it's something the Jaguars as a franchise we're trying to get out there.
Most fans are not smart, because most people in general are not smart, but you can't believe fans are that dumb either. The Jaguars have gone through the rebuilding process and fans have suffered through the 12-36 record with a smile on their face because it felt like there was a plan and there would be a big payoff. Right now it feels like we're walking into the finger poke of doom.
You can only sell the "we're building for next year" so many times and right now we're in Year 4 of a rebuild. I refuse to believe that it should take you that long to put a competent team together on the field that can compete. Sure, the Jaguars may not make the playoffs this season, but there's a world of different in "not making the playoffs" and "building for next year." The latter implies this current season doesn't matter.
This season absolutely matters and trying to get a narrative started that it's still a rebuild will not stand.