“Moral of the story is: I chose a half measure when I should have gone all the way. I’ll never make that mistake again. No more half measures, Walter.”
The line from Mike Ehrmantraut in Season 3 of Breaking Bad comes when the main characters are confronted with a dilemma and how to resolve it. Their initial plan seems half-cocked, which sparks Mike to give them a story of previous situation he had and how he just went a “half measure” and it resulted in biting him in the ass later on. If you have a plan, execute it to it’s full capacity. Don’t hem and haw and half ass it.
That’s what the Jacksonville Jaguars did after the 2016 season. They went a half measure and in 2018 we see the result.
After getting embarrassed by the Tennessee Titans on national television on Thursday Night Football, it seems like the only solution at the end of the season is to go a full measure. After the 2016 season, more or less the only change that was made was that Gus Bradley was fired and Doug Marrone was promoted to head coach. Sure there were some position coaching changes, but more or less the only big change was trading out Bradley for Marrone.
It worked for 2017, but all that came crashing down this year when Blake Bortles turned back into a pumpkin and the injuries on offense mounted up. The defense, while still good, regressed to the mean in the categories that are the most high variance (sacks and turnovers) and was not able to carry games like they could in 2017, even flat out being responsible for a few of the losses.
I think that Thursday night was the proverbial straw that broke the camel’s back and the signal that Jaguars owner Shad Khan must just clean house.
Doug Marrone is fine, but move on
I like Jaguars head coach Doug Marrone and was comfortable with him coming back in 2019 with some ancillary changes to the coaching staff. I think overall he’s a good coach, but I don’t know that his message is still resonating with the team after Thursday’s disaster. At the very least I think it’s time to move on from defensive coordinator Todd Wash, despite the fact that it’s still a Top 5 defense. To the point however, I think it’s time to hit the full reset button on the coaching staff and the front office this offseason. Go the full measure, instead of making the same mistake you keep making.
Todd Wash just doesn’t seem to change
We’ve seen some Jaguars players say it outright and some dance around it, but it seems clear there are problems with the defensive scheme that do not get changed or adjust. Cornerback A.J. Bouye mentioned it after the game and it’s been an ongoing issue.
Bouye nailed it after the game - “It just seems like everybody is attacking our scheme or knows how to attack our scheme.”— Phillip Heilman (@phillip_heilman) December 7, 2018
How many games do we have to see a mobile quarterback absolutely kill the defense on third downs because they don’t have any backside contain setup or because no one is spying the quarterback? I mean, you see Marcus Mariota twice every season, you’d think you would have figured out how to limit him absolutely killing you with his scrambling ability, yet it happens every single game.
There’s also a handful of zone beaters that the team consistently gets hit with by good offensive teams and there’s rarely an adjustment or that adjustment comes way too late. Wash is a solid defensive coordinator, but with the talent on the defense it should be much more effectively piloted.
Tom Coughlin is far from blameless
I was one of the first people to float the idea of Tom Coughlin taking a role in the Jaguars from office. I thought he would do a good job at it, because he always seemed to have an eye for talent and perhaps a limited personnel role would be able to harness that. I don’t think it’s worked out, however. If reports are to be believed, one of his first acts as the VP of football operations was to let himself be talked out of drafting then Clemson quarterback Deshaun Watson in favor of LSU running back Leonard Fournette, because the belief by general manager David Caldwell was that if they could give Blake Bortles a steady running game they could win. He was right, kind of, but that led to the gamble of giving Bortles a contract extension that’s now going to end up them eating dead money in 2019.
We were told that everything has to go through Coughlin, so he’s not blameless for passing on both Watson and Patrick Mahomes in favor of a running back who has been a massive disappointment so far, but also for signing off on the Bortles extension and having absolutely no Plan B. Bortles currently has the yips and no confidence whatsoever, leading the team to finally pull the plug, but they’re trotting out Cody Kessler now and that really doesn’t help anything. He’s a guy who can come in mid-game after injury and hold down the fort, not someone you want starting more than a game or two.
They gambled big time on 2018 and they busted.
David Caldwell is as good as gone
I won’t spend too much time on Caldwell, his resume speaks for itself and it’s not great. I’m not going to source it as a report because I don’t have enough confirmation, but I feel comfortable saying he’s as good as gone after the season. Like Bortles, you cannot bring him back in any capacity.
I don’t have a short list of who they should target as a head coach or a general manager or whatever, but I think at this point it seems pretty clear that Khan should totally clean house at the top and start over. This roster doesn’t need to be blown up and there are quite a few pieces to build on, but bring in a new group to try to get this thing right. It’s a critical moment for the franchise because you’re picking a new quarterback to go forward with, so stop hanging on to the people who have been failing the past few years all on their own.