All the offseason hype is gone. All the talk of being the dark horse team to win the AFC South, of making it back to the postseason, of recovering after years of ineptitude? All of that is gone too.
What is being talked about with the Jacksonville Jaguars, however, is the job security of head coach Gus Bradley.
The Jaguars have limped out to a 0-3 start this season despite what looked to be a transformative offseason. Jacksonville has lost in about every way conceivable through three games. The Jags have lost with bad defensive play, they’ve lost with poor offensive play, they’ve lost close games, and they’ve lost in a blowout.
In short, it’s been ugly for the Jaguars. And that doesn’t bode well for head coach Gus Bradley.
Jacksonville’s front office signed Bradley to a one-year contract extension through 2017 this offseason, but that means little in a league where head coaches have become all but expendable. Coaches are fired after one season with a team in the NFL. That extension in no way makes Bradley untouchable.
The Jaguars invested a great deal of money and time on their defense this offseason. And so far, that investment is not paying off. Overall, Jacksonville’s defense has given up less yards per game than it did in 2015. But when it comes to the stat that matters most, points allowed per game, the Jaguars are still one of the worst in the NFL. Right now, Jacksonville is tied with Cleveland with 28 points allowed a game. And that number actually went down after the Week 3 match-up with Baltimore.
But even when Jacksonville’s defense looked better against Baltimore, the offense stalled out.
Jacksonville held the Ravens to just 283 yards and 19 points on Sunday. Baltimore converted just three of their 13 third down attempts and had three turnovers. The Jags’ offense, however, didn’t reward the good defensive effort. In fact, Jacksonville’s offense was even worse than Baltimore’s.
Blake Bortles and the potent Jacksonville passing game totaled a mere 194 yards. Bortles tossed three interceptions compared to two touchdowns, and he was sacked four times.
And for the third straight week, Jacksonville’s run game was nonexistent.
Bortles led the team with 17 yards on three carries. T.J. Yeldon had 17 yards on six carries, and Chris Ivory’s debut with the Jaguars went about as poorly as possible. Ivory had just 14 yards on 12 carries and caught just one pass for nine yards. Yes, he may not have been completely healthy, but those numbers are still inexcusable.
Through three games this season, the Jaguars have totaled all of 165 yards on the ground. As a team, they are averaging a paltry 2.8 yards per carry, and that’s with Blake Bortles averaging 6.6 yards a carry on eight attempts. Jacksonville’s running backs have combined to run for 112 yards on 50 carries. That gives the Jaguars’ running backs just 2.2 yards per attempt.
Combine that with a defense that hasn’t been getting consistent pressure or forcing turnovers, and you have an 0-3 team through three weeks.
Gus Bradley entered this year with pressure to win and win quickly. So far, Jacksonville hasn’t even picked up its first win of the season through three games. If things don’t turn around in a hurry, Bradley will be out of Jacksonville before the season ends.