Jags Owner Should Watch the Sopranos
Who am I? Where am I going?
If you haven't seen The Sopranos, I will save you any spoilers. Tony asks himself this question both in a dream, and upon waking from the dream. His wife then repeats the same phrase in Paris when looking at the lights of the Eiffel Tower, a nod to the bright light Tony had seen in his Kevin Finnerty dream.
Long story short: we are lost as a franchise and have been for quite some time. Our fate will not change unless we change our ways. Otherwise, we're doomed.
Who Are We?
We are the worst franchise in the NFL. Our all-time winning percentage is .425 - which is 31st and only ahead of Tampa Bay, who has 2 fairly recent championships (2002 and 2020).
Since the start of the 2018 season, we have gone 12-40 (.231) which is 32nd in the NFL. We are also minus (-) 4.2 against the spread, the worst ATS in the league in that span.
In other words, even as underdogs, on average we are 4.2 points worse than Vegas expects us to be per game.
We have never won, or been in, a Super Bowl. We have zero players or coaches in the Hall of Fame.
Our current losing streak of 19 games in a row is tied for the 3rd-longest in NFL history.
Should the Jaguars lose again on Sunday (currently 3.5 point underdogs), then only the 1976-77 Tampa Bay Bucs who lost 26 in a row, and 1942-45 Chicago Cardinals who lost 29 in a row, would separate us from "worst ever".
In a modern salary cap era, I'd argue that 20 in a row is harder to do. But, we can still go 0-17 this season and establish an unbreakable 32 in a row.
We are the worst franchise in the NFL.
How Did We Get Here?
I'd probably lose anyone reading this if I were to go back through every misstep from the beginning, or even make you relive Gene Smith's tenure. Let's just say trading #16 and #49 to move up and take Blaine Gabbert at #10 was a misstep. Perhaps waiting until the preseason to release David Garrard, and then throwing rookie Blaine to the wolves was also bad. That's just the start of Gene's list.
So I will only focus on the "modern" version (2013-present).
#1 - The 2017 Defense Was a House of Cards
We built a historically good defense, but did so in a very unsustainable way.
- Tashaun Gipson
- A.J. Bouye
- Barry Church
- Calais Campbell
- Malik Jackson
- Paul Posluszny
- Marcell Dareus
- Jalen Ramsey
- Telvin Smith
- Yannick Ngajoue
- Aaron Colvin
- Dante Fowler
#2 - We Missed in the Draft and/or Didn't Manage and/or Re-Sign the Good Ones
Dave Caldwell drafted 8 players in 2013. None of them are currently in the NFL.
- Blake Bortles > Khalil Mack (or Teddy Bridgewater or Derek Carr)
- Marqise Lee > Davante Adams
- Allen Robinson* *walked in Free Agency (we extended Lee and Allen Hurns)
- Dante Fowler* *traded (> Amari Cooper, Brandon Scherff, Leonard Williams)
- T.J. Yeldon > Eric Kenricks
- A.J. Cann > Tyler Lockett
- Jalen Ramsey* *traded
- Myles Jack
- Yannick Ngakoue* *traded
- Leonard Fournette > Jamal Adams, Christian McCaffrey, Pat Mahomes, Marshon Lattimore, Deshaun Watson
- Cam Robinson > Budda Baker, Dalvin Cook
- Dawuane Smoot > Cooper Kupp, Chris Godwin
- Taven Bryan > Lamar Jackson, Nick Chubb
- DJ Chark - (TBD) > Fred Warner, Orlando Brown, Mark Andrews
- Ronnie Harrison* *traded
#3 - Mismanagement
In addition to the Draft issues and very public disputes with players cited above, we have simply mismanaged the roster and had no clear vision or direction.
From February 24, 2018 to the 2021 Draft, here was our vision at QB:
- Signed Blake Bortles to a 3-year $54 million contract
- Benched Bortles for Cody Kessler in Week 7
- Benched Bortles again in Week 13
- Signed Nick Foles to a 4-year $88 million contract (up to $102M with incentives)
- Released Blake Bortles
- Activated Foles in Week 11 to start over Gardner Minshew
- Week 14: benched Foles for Minshew
- Traded Nick Foles for a compensatory fourth-round pick
- Minshew coming back from injury, replaced Mike Glennon during a Week 14 blowout loss
- Minshew started Week 15
- Glennon started Week 16
- Drafted Trevor Lawrence #1 overall
- Traded Minshew for a conditional sixth-round pick
In the last two years, more than 25% of the grievances...have been filed against the Jaguars. You may want to consider this when you have a chance to select your next club.
- An owner that doesn't seem to understand the NFL, or the local fanbase
- Bad PR phrasing in announcements that alienates the local fanbase (particularly with regards to playing multiple games in London)
- Tony Khan seemingly having way too big of a role (why exactly was he even in the meeting with Yannick, much less the one speaking to him about his trade demand)?
I won't pile on, but the Khans W-L record on the field speaks for itself.
#4 - Poor Coaching
The results on the field speak for themselves. Entering the 2018 season, a lot of people were taking the over on 8.5 wins for the Jaguars, and for seemingly good reason.
The 2018 defense returned 12 of the top 14 players from the nasty 2017 unit (though we all know that wouldn't last). We started 3-1. We beat Tom Brady and the Patriots (who went on to win the Super Bowl).
But Doug Marrone, Nathaniel Hackett, Scott Milanovich, and Todd Wash proceeded to lose 7 in a row as the team and locker room imploded into itself.
The following season, despite spite Minshew's flashes of brilliance, the Jaguars overall remained a poorly coached team.
The additions of Urban Meyer and Trevor Lawrence at the same time brought so much optimism, and only time will tell whether it is warranted or not.
Where Are We Going?
Tony: Who am I? Where am I going?"
Lady: Join the club.
Nobody knows where the Jags are going, but if I learned anything from watching The Sopranos that I could impart to the Jaguars it's this:
If we don't change our ways, then our fate is already decided (last in NFL).
We will continue being the worst franchise in the NFL unless we change our ways. The 2022 Free Agency and Draft process cannot be the same old story of bringing in the wrong talent. And time will tell if Urban Meyer's "health" allows him to coach next season, or if we even will want him to.
2022 Draft analysis underway, and it's October 3rd. We've seen this before.