The question I've been asked the most this week as the Jacksonville Jaguars head to London to face the Indianapolis Colts, is if Gus Bradley will be relieved as Jaguars head coach if the team loses. While I would like to say yes, given his record and it would be another disastrous start to the Jaguars NFL season, I don't think it's that cut and dry right now.
Again, if the decision were mine I would, but it's not.
I think there are a few scenarios that could happen this Sunday. First and foremost, the Jaguars could get right and win the game. Obviously if that happens, no one is going to get fired. The team really needs a win and I'm not going to tell you what you should root for because that's entirely up to you. I always like winning, though, even if it's in spite of myself.
If the Jaguars lose to the Colts in the same fashion they lost to the San Diego Chargers, that is just get utterly dominated and look like they don't even belong on the same field, I would tend to think that Bradley would get fired. That would be two out of four games, in the fourth season of a rebuild, that your team got embarrassed on the field. As much as I think Gus Bradley should have been fired by now, I'm not sure I really want to sit through another one of those games. As cynical as I am, it was still maddening to watch the Jaguars against the Chargers and it wasn't even the "bad funny".
If the Jaguars straight up lose a close game, say something like 35-30, where the offense scores 24+ points in competitive fashion and not in junk time, I don't think anything happens. It will definitely make the seat for Bradley hotter, but I don't think simply and 0-4 start with another close loss, making three of the four "winnable", anything will happen.
The other scenario I think could happen, and probably likely, is that the Jaguars end up losing by more than two scores because the offense struggled to get started once again. If that ends up being the case, I think we could see Greg Olson being let go and someone like Nathaniel Hackett taking over offensive play calling. If you end up 0-4 with the offense starting slow and looking out of sorts to start the season, which was supposed to help carry the team while the defense came together, you kind of have to make the move. Blake Bortles isn't playing well and it may not be Olson's fault, but something needs to change and it's not going to be the quarterback. And while it should not factor into the decisions, it would also accomplish some bloodletting for the fans because it shows they know something is wrong and that someone was held accountable.
So if that happens and Olson is fired, then what happens with Gus Bradley? Does he stay the whole season?
Maybe? It really all depends what happens after the bye week. I do think Jaguars owner Shad Khan is hesitant to fire a coach midseason and I understand why, but there is a point where that becomes untenable. The games for the Jaguars after the bye don't look that tough, in the Chicago Bears, Oakland Raiders and the Tennessee Titans. The Jaguars would absolutely have to win at least two of those three games, if they lose to the Colts.
I think the cut off for an in-season firing is probably Week 8, the Thursday Night game against the Tennessee Titans. If they're going to do it, that's probably the absolute latest it will be done. It's another long week to accommodate a change like the bye week after London, and by then you'll know if you have any shot at salvaging the season. It gives Bradley the absolute most time to make the most of it, especially if he fires the offensive coordinator.
At this point, just simply losing the game doesn't really change much, given what we think we know about Shad Khan so far.