Gus Bradley is a great guy. He’s likeable, and everyone who has played for him has amazing things to say about him. It shows in the way many Jaguars fans speak of him, and the way owner Shad Khan trusts him.
It’s probably a big part of how he’s managed to stick around as coach of the Jaguars while overseeing the most abysmal stretch in team (and possibly NFL) history.
After Sunday’s loss to the Ravens, Gus Bradley’s win-loss record with the Jags stands at 12-39. His 12-38 mark over his first 50 games was cited in thinkpieces across the internet last week as justification for not even keeping him on through the Ravens game. It’s the second-worst coaching record through 50 games in the history of the NFL.
This season, amidst heightened expectations fueled by a busy offseason and a growing offense, the team has started 0-3. There were times in the losses to Green Bay and Baltimore where the team showed flashes of what it could be, but it was mostly disastrous.
It’s clear that something has to change. The Jaguars, a team filled to the brim with potential, have looked bad in almost every aspect of the game so far.
So should that change come in the form of firing Bradley?
While not everything can be blamed on Gus – the blocking on offense has been horrid, the defense has been inconsistent, and Bortles has thrown quite erratically – there’s a good amount that has been in his control.
The playcalling by Bradley and his staff has been questionable, to say the least, through three games. The commitment to running the ball on every first down, despite the obvious struggles of the team’s running game thus far, drew grumbles within the stadium on Sunday. Bradley defended himself after the game by insisting that the team should be able to run even when the defense knows they will, but it seems pretty clear that this isn’t the case.
Questions have also been raised about lineups, and about why the team is so hesitant to put rookie linebacker Myles Jack on the field.
It’s hard to say if firing Bradley would actually help the team this year. An interim coach would likely produce no better results, and the it’s not known who would be interested in the job or who the Jags would want. That being said, it could be advantageous just to hit the reset button, and to acknowledge that something’s not working.
Many Jags fans have already turned on Bradley – he was greeted with a chorus of boos when his name was announced prior to the game on Sunday. The frustration over failed expectations is starting to show, even after just three games. There’s a growing consensus in Jacksonville: it’s time for a change.
So far it looks like Gus will get at least one more week to try to get it right. If he wants to survive the season, his only option is to find a way to win games. If he can’t find a way to squeeze out a win this Sunday against the division-rival Colts, it might be time to move on.