The Jaguars have been a bad football team for a long time. They haven’t played in a playoff game since the 2007 season and haven’t played meaningful football in December in five years.
It’s easy for fans to become frustrated at all the losing and why the rebuilding process seems to be taking forever. That’s understandable. Especially when you consider the abbreviated amount of time it took the division rival Indianapolis Colts to switch regimes and become immediately relevant again.
There’s one thing that Jaguars fans need to keep in mind.
This rebuilding effort began in 2013, not 2008. The poor drafts from prior to 2013 have nothing to do with general manager Dave Caldwell and head coach Gus Bradley.
Caldwell comes from the Atlanta Falcons organization, who was at rock bottom after the whole Michael Vick/Bobby Petrino fiasco. He remembers the early days.
"I came the day after the draft and I remember arriving in Atlanta with a negative perception and how it was such a mess, from everything you read," Caldwell recalled. "But then I get into the building and there was a completely different vibe with everyone there, from the secretaries to the head coach. You could just sense that right away. Thomas is a friend, but it wasn't just about him at that point, it was everybody in the building. You could sense that right away and it just felt right."
Dave Caldwell recalls his first time in Jacksonville.
"When I came on an interview here, one of the things I noticed was that this building was made for dysfunction. I called it the 'great divide.' You have a hallway that separated the coaching staff with the rest of the building and personnel. It didn't feel like an organization because you had to cross that rubber hallway to get to the coaches, you had metal doors, and everything was so closed in," he said. "Just from a symbolic basis, I felt like it was two sides."
There have been improvements in the building which has led to more openness. Walls have come down and the feeling in the building is one of family.
The Jaguars current regime gutted their abysmal roster and they’re simply starting from scratch. Trying to put together a roster with virtually no carryovers, little resources and only two drafts is a tall order when you’re trying to compete with the rest of the NFL.
Dave Caldwell shared his vision for what he wants out of the roster.
"I want a fast, aggressive football team,” Caldwell said. “Also, a team that is highly, highly competitive, day in and day out, where guys are coming to work knowing that every single day matters, to have that roster where the 53rd guy has as much of a chance of starting as the No. 1 guy on the roster.”
That’s a great idea, but there needs to be leaders and playmakers and stars to have a consistent winner. The Jaguars may have uncovered one in Blake Bortles, but his talent is currently mitigated by a lack of experience, not a lot of cohesion or talent on the offensive line and injuries to his young wide receivers.
The Jaguars aren’t further enough along in their rebuild to withstand injuries and make roster mistakes and still be competitive. In the past two weeks they’ve had to cut a pair of opening day starters due to poor play in right tackle Cameron Bradfield and safety Winston Guy which has assisted in their 0-4 start and negative-94 point differential which is the worst by far in the NFL.
The Jaguars are going to be a lot closer to picking first in the 2015 NFL Draft than they will be to finishing at .500. But that’s to be expected in Year 2 of the rebuild, as much as it frustrates the fans.
Rebuilding Takes Patience
Jags Illustrated Top Stories
Identity CrisisThe Jags have started the 2016 season on a rough note. 0-3 is a tough pill to swallow and many fans are calling for Gus Bradley’s job. People are even starting to question their…
Jags Illustrated3:48 AM
State of the JaguarsWith a loss to the Ravens on Sunday, the Jaguars next game against Indianapolis in London is by far the most important game they've played so far this season.
Jags IllustratedYesterday at 7:43 AM
Generally Managing the JaguarsThe Jags are 0-3 after losing to the Ravens today at Everbank. Blake Bortles was unimpressive, Gus Bradley is feeling the heat, and the defense gave up a game winning drive. …
Jags IllustratedSunday at 6:39 PM
HeartbreakerThe Jags lost in heart breaking fashion to the Baltimore Ravens. After a loss, most people look to point the finger and blame someone or something for the result. There are a…
Jags IllustratedSunday at 12:50 PM