Without a question, those sky-high expectations put forth by just about everyone in the Jaguars fanbase in the offseason were given a huge reality check Sunday afternoon by Phillip Rivers and the Chargers. No sooner than the kickoff did everything begin to unravel for Jacksonville, en route to a 38-14 dismantling in San Diego. Truthfully, 38-14 is too kind to the Jaguars, considering the Chargers led 35-0 at the end of three, and Phillip Rivers didn't even play the 4th.
As those expectations dropped, so too did much of the fanbase's trust in Gus Bradley. Fans were clearly unhappy with the team after such a tight loss to Green Bay the week before. Even in the loss, the Jaguars looked promising.
So how does Bradley begin to earn that trust back from the fanbase?
Well, prior to the season, owner Shad Khan stated that he had high expectations for this team. In regard to job security, many people expected that Bradley would have to guide the Jaguars to an 8-8 season, with the possibility of keeping his job if they went 7-9, so long as they were competitive. Losses like the one to the Chargers won't keep Bradley around.
The next two weeks for the Jags are Baltimore at home, and Indianapolis in London.
Baltimore is coming off of a victory over Cleveland in which they went down big, but rallied in the second half to beat the Browns. Baltimore is a solid, all-around team, led by an experienced franchise quarterback with a big arm. Their defense is great so far this year, they're 2nd in total yards and 4th in points allowed.
In order to gain the trust back that was lost, Jacksonville would have to have a much, much better performance against Baltimore than they did against San Diego. Bradley could afford a loss here, but they would have to look just as good as they did against Green Bay, when they held possibly the best quarterback in the league to just 199 passing yards. They played a solid game against the Packers, and were in it all the way to the very last snap. Bradley could get away with a loss here, but not a blowout loss.
Indianapolis is a dumpster fire. They're coming off of two straight losses to the Lions and the Broncos. The only positive with Indianapolis is Andrew Luck. Their defense is atrocious. The line protecting Luck might as well not even exist. To put how bad their offensive line is into perspective, you probably couldn't name a single one of their offensive lineman that would be able to start for the Jaguars, and the offensive line is Jacksonville's weakest position group.
With as bad a team as Indianapolis is, this is a game that Jacksonville will have to win, and possibly win big. A loss to Indianapolis would be terrible for Jacksonville, especially going into the bye week.
Bradley has his work cut out for him. Whether or not he gains the trust back that was lost in California is entirely dependent on if everything clicks in these next two weeks. Good performances from everyone is a must going forward, Bradley will have to rally his team and show that the team that opened the season against Green Bay are the real Jaguars, not the ones that walked onto the field in San Diego.