As discussed last week, the Jacksonville Jaguars are making progress.
They've gone from anemic on offense, to a pretty decent fantasy football team.
Unfortunately, decent teams in reality football actually win.
The Jaguars dropped their fourth-straight game, 31-21 to the Houston Texans on their home field. It was the team's third loss in as many weeks to a one-win team.
"I just felt like guys really pressed and that can happen but we can’t allow it to happen," Jaguars head coach Gus Bradley said. "They’ve got to fight through that. You cannot press and try to make plays happen. You’ve just got to let them come to you, you’ve got to go through your reads, you’ve got to trust your teachings, your preparation and go about it that way. That part we’ve got to fight through."
It seemed as if Bradley had a point. His team did seem to press. They love their head coach and they want to continue playing hard for him. Perhaps too hard.
“We’ve just got to continue to focus in on what we do and grind even more, and do everything with a sense of urgency knowing that this is the way we’re going to do things," linebacker and defensive captain Paul Posluszny said. "We need to continue to find the opportunities to make plays to help us win games.”
The Jaguars are getting all too good at cliches and saying all the right things.
One day at a time. It's a learning experience. We just need to continue to work hard.
“I’m not sure," Jaguars defensive tackle Sen'Derrick Marks said about how the team is going to move on. "We’ve got to hold everybody accountable. It can’t be words, everybody has to help out.”
There's no doubt that the team is working hard. Nobody in that locker room or in the coaching box wants to lose football games.
But there the Jaguars are, sitting at 1-5 through six games which leaves them tied once again for the worst record in the NFL.
They have a London trip looming, a country in which they were outscored 73-27 over the past two seasons in losses to the San Francisco 49ers (2013) and Dallas Cowboys (2014). The Buffalo Bills get the next crack at Jacksonville across the pond.
The biggest question coming out of the next two weeks in Jacksonville will be whether London will snatch another head coach's job. Dennis Allen lost his job after his Oakland Raiders were defeated in Week 4 last season. Joe Philbin lost his after a Week 4 loss across the pond this season. With an 8-30 record through 38 games it's looking like 8-31 could be the last stand for Bradley.
It's not just the head coach's fault. It's never just one guy's fault. It takes a lot of moving parts to be as bad as the Jaguars have been over the past three, four, five… seven-plus years.
Bradley was asked directly if his team had the talent to compete on a weekly basis.
“Yeah, I do because that’s the only way I look at it," Bradley responded. "These are the guys that we have and let’s go. It’s our job to improve them and get them to a level of play where they’re playing consistently enough at a high level to win games. That’s our whole objective and I think we’ve got to constantly evaluate, are we getting everything we can out of these guys? Then we’ll take a look at it and evaluate it.”
When the Caldwell/Bradley era began, the Jaguars were behind the proverbial eight-ball as former general manager Gene Smith did one of the worst jobs in recent sports history. The team had to tear down before it rebuilt.
With patience in mind, Bradley said on a Sirius/XM Radio interview earlier in the offseason, "We want to win, we don't have to win."
It seems as if that's changed. Bortles and the offense have progressed and the roster is head and shoulders above what it was three years ago.
But the win-loss record is worse.
Other teams haven't improved at a greater rate than the Jaguars and they're still a laughing stock.
The Jaguars have a bye week coming up after the game against the Bills in London. There will be plenty of time for evaluation, and unfortunately for Bradley, Jaguars owner Shahid Khan needs to evaluate the job his head coach is doing and the standings show that he should be benched.