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Should we root for Jacksonville Jaguars blowouts?

NFL: Pittsburgh Steelers at Jacksonville Jaguars Douglas DeFelice-USA TODAY Sports

The Jacksonville Jaguars aren’t winning games, and they aren’t likely to be favored in any more games for the rest of the season. But their penchant this season to occasionally be competitive begs the question:

Could everyone keep their jobs in 2021 if the Jaguars finish 1-15 but play competitive throughout?

That was the question posed last week before the Pittsburgh Steelers came to town and murked us.

Even former Jaguars great Tony Boselli got into the chatter this morning, tweeting with an implied condescension that fans may be rooting for the tank:

I understand this line of thinking — and admittedly it does give me a slight cause to worry because this team hung on to an obvious mistake in Gus Bradley for longer than they should have.

But the history of NFL head coaches and general managers fired over the last few years gives me hope that Shad Khan will make the right decision at the end of the season.

First, you have to understand that 1-15 is a truly pathetic record for any team in any situation, much less one that has had the same head coach and general manager for the better part of four seasons. Since Doug Marrone was hired as head coach, only one team has done that badly or worse — Hue Jackson and the winless 2017 Cleveland Browns. Adam Gase and the 2020 New York Jets are looking to do the same. Jackson was fired midway through the next year and Gase being fired at the end of this year wouldn’t surprise me.

And if you go back even further to look at the last decade there is only a third additional team who was as bad as the Jaguars could be this year — the 2016 Cleveland Browns.

Those three teams are historically bad teams.

Second, look at how long the coaching staff and front office have been at the helm. Marrone is in the middle of his fourth full year. Caldwell is in his eighth season. Now let’s look at NFL teams who have finished with one or fewer wins since 2000 and how long their coaches have been in their position:

2020 New York Jets: Adam Gase, 1 season

2017 Cleveland Browns: Hue Jackson, 2 seasons

2016 Cleveland Browns: Hue Jackson, 1 season

2009 St. Louis Rams: Steve Spagnuolo, 1 season

2008 Detroit Lions: Rod Marinelli, 3 seasons (fired)

2007 Miami Dolphins: Cam Cameron, 1 season (fired)

2001 Carolina Panthers: George Seifert, 3 seasons (fired)

2000 San Diego Chargers: Mike Riley, 2 seasons

Every single coach who had been with the team longer than two seasons and finished with, at best, one win was fired. And none of these coaches turned it around. Every coach who wasn’t fired after the seasons listed above went on to coach losing teams the next year.

All in all, I think Shad Khan is a wildcard in that he doesn’t follow conventions. That’s usually a compliment. I don’t mean it to be in this case.

No franchise has more losses since he bought the team in 2012. He’s been a bad owner and that poor standard has trickled down into every aspect of this team.

But he’s got to follow historical precedent if this team is going to have any chance of improving in the near future.

That starts with a new general manager leading a revamped front office. It means drafting a potential franchise quarterback next spring. It also means the coaching staff, including Doug Marrone and his largely poor hires at coordinators, leaving too. This franchise has hit rock bottom and without adjustment they’ll continue running themselves into the ground.

I don’t think close losses will save this coaching staff or this front office. Continue to root for close games where young players thrive but we ultimately lose in the end.

Keep the faith. Embrace the tank. Go Jaguars.

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