Since the conclusion of the 2016 season, many Jacksonville Jaguars players have spoken out about issues with the former coaching staff. Most of those comments came from players on the defensive side of the football that had issues with the defensive scheme. Jalen Ramsey, Tashaun Gipson, Dante Fowler, Jr., Malik Jackson and Davon House all made comments that indicated a lot of the players weren’t happy with their roles on the Jaguars defense and felt that it could have been a lot better had players not been misused.
On the offensive side of the football starting left tackle Kelvin Beachum was asked what he wanted out of the new coach the Jaguars will be hiring and he had quite a frank answer.
"I hope to see somebody that believes winning is the only answer. That’s the only option there is no other option," Beachum told Brent Martineau of Action Sports. "There is not an option to get better, there is no option we’re going to get it right soon, there’s no atta boys, no… winning is the only option. We don’t win, we won’t be here. I think that’s the type of mindset we have to have -- at this point the fan base needs playoffs."
The Jaguars haven’t been to the playoffs since the 2007 season, so in that instance Beachum is correct that the Jaguars fan base needs the playoffs. He’s also correct in that the new coach should focus on winning, over everything else. Beachum’s comments here are clearly a direct shot at the culture Gus Bradley tried to copy from Seattle Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll, to disastrous effect. Carroll had the philosophy that if you got better every day, the wins would come. That theory sounds great on the surface, but if all you do is take it at surface value, you end up with what the Jaguars had the past four seasons; a culture of losing.
"It would be great to have EverBank Field rocking in the playoffs. If we’re not focused on getting to the playoffs and getting first round byes and winning our division and being AFC South Champions - that’s all we think about, that’s all we stress, that’s all we talk about – then I don’t know what to tell you because that’s really all that matters," Beachum continued. "Nothing else matters but winning our division, having first round bye, hosting a first round playoff game at EverBank Field. If we have someone come in and stress that and everything lines up with that I think we’ll be alright."
It’s not uncommon for players to speak out against a coaching staff once they’ve been fired, but I can’t remember this many players speaking this bluntly about the issues on a team after a firing. The issues the players are speaking on are issues that many, including myself, have had issues with dating back to last season, but it’s even more damning that the players are speaking to it versus that of an upset fan.