The tendency is to regard the latest as the greatest – or the worst. I pride myself on not over-reacting, but, quite frankly, I don’t think the Jaguars’ present or future has ever looked as dire as it does right now.
Trying to find positives -- or even seeing a silver lining -- for the Jaguars has me stumped. Sunday’s 41-3 home loss to the Bears was a bad as the score indicates. The 1-4 record doesn’t even truly reveal how bad the Jaguars are. (Note: In three home losses they have been outscored 95-20.)
There’s a major lack of talent. Quarterback Blaine Gabbert looks more and more like a bust. The talk about improvement at wide receiver is a thing of the past. The defense looks pathetic, particularly at defensive end and linebacker. The coaching is suspect.
Okay, the Jaguars can kick the hell out of the ball. That’s not as funny sounding as it once was.
To add to the misery I was told after the game by two insiders that they couldn’t tell by the players’ mood how the game had unfolded.
“They ought to be mad as hell, but they’re not,” one of them, a former NFL player, told me about 30 minutes after the game. “Looking at them you couldn’t tell if they’d won or lost.”
That’s bad, although I realize you can’t always tell a book by its cover.
The obvious question is where do the Jaguars go from here? How many changes and/or adjustments can be made at midseason? The waiver wire isn’t exactly loaded with quality players. Overhauling the offensive and defensive schemes is all but an impossible task.
So how about a change at quarterback? When I asked Coach Mike Mularkey about that after the game he gave a one-word reply: “No.” That doesn’t mean a change is out of the question. Coaches have been known to keep thoughts of such changes away from the media and fans – even if they have to lie.
Would replacing Gabbert with Chad Henne help? Certainly the plight of the Jaguars isn’t all Gabbert’s fault. And it isn’t his fault the Jaguars traded up to draft him 10th overall. But he has shown few hints of being a successful NFL quarterback. Worse, he has made little progress in 19 starts, and when you compare him with most of the other young quarterbacks in the league . . . well, it’s enough to make a diehard Jaguars fan cry like a baby.
If the Jaguars are, indeed, considering this season a lost cause and looking to the future, then they should stay with Gabbert. It may be a long shot but ugly ducklings have turned into the beautiful swans. Of course it also should be noted that Henne didn’t become a relatively inexpensive free agent because he was tearing up the NFL. The Miami Dolphins gladly set him free.
My advice to First Coast Jaguar fans is be happy you have an NFL franchise. Perfect the art of tailgating and weather the storm of losing.
And then hope like hell owner Shad Khan fires General Manager Gene Smith and starts the rebuilding process with a GM who is a better judge of talent.
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