Young, rising team, loaded with new talent and players ready to take the next step prepared to compete for a division title.
Did people — including me — actually believe that about the Jacksonville Jaguars ?
They certainly don’t anymore, not after seeing them fail to even show up in San Diego in a brutal, bad loss to the San Diego Chargers Sunday. After three quarters, the Jaguars trailed 35-0 and lost 38-14. If there was one thing going through the minds of many, and especially Jaguars fans as they watched that play out it was this:
Is this the end of Gus Bradley Braves as coach?
Bradley is one of the most likeable, genuine people in the NFL, a man who cares about his players, but also cares about people in general. That aside, his tenure in Jacksonville can only be described as terrible in terms of wins and losses.
The first three years were considered rebuilding seasons for Bradley, which is why he got this season, his fourth, to come back and turn things around. How else can you explain bringing him back after going 12-36 in his first three seasons? The idea was that Bradley didn’t have a fair shot to win in his first three seasons.
That’s not the case anymore.
The Jaguars spent big in the offseason in free agency and they had a good draft with an offense loaded with playmakers. Yet here they are 0-2 after two weeks and looking more like a team headed in the wrong direction than one headed for a possible playoff berth.
If the Jaguars went to San Diego and competed, but still lost, the criticism wouldn’t be as harsh. But they didn’t do anything right in the game until it was too late. That’s on the staff — and especially Bradley.
The seat under Brady is hotter than one of those hot rocks that people cook with at those trendy restaurants that entice people into actually cooking their own food. Bradley is an encouraging coach, the kind of man who leads with backing rather than bashing. It’s been rare to hear him publicly call out his team, if he does it. After one bad practice this summer, he gathered them up and ripped them for all there to hear. That was a departure for him with Bradley more nurturing than anything — at least in front of the public.
That might need to change. The Jaguars are better than what they showed in San Diego. It’s time for mistakes, penalties, poor clock management and bad use of timeouts to end.
The Jaguars play host to the Baltimore Ravens this week and then play the Indianapolis Colts in London before a bye. If they are 0-4, Bradley could be in big trouble. I would assume offensive line coach Doug Marrone, who was formerly the head coach of the Buffalo Bills , would be the man to take over.
Even then, I doubt he’s a guy who will get it during the seasons. Owner Shad Khan is a patient man who understands the process. That’s why Bradley came back for this season in the first place. To let him go now would admit you were wrong to bring him back. Khan has said he wouldn’t make a change during the season, but that’s subject to change.
Some joked the Jaguars should have fired him at the San Diego airport before the team returned. That would be foolish. Let’s not forget the Jaguars came close to beating the Green Bay Packers in Week 1.
I am not going to sit here and say there isn’t concern about Bradley as a coach. It’s there, and there are reasons for it. But now is not the time to let him go.
Check back in two weeks. Things might be clearer then.
More musings from around the NFL:
New York Giants
Ben McAdoo’s mistake: The Giants beat the New Orleans Saints with a late field goal Sunday. But it might not have come down to that if coach Ben McAdoo didn’t commit one of the football sins that is as bad as it gets in my book: He got caught up in the emotion of the game.
With the score tied at 0-0 and the Giants facing a fourth-and-goal from the 2 with 2:49 left in the first quarter, McAdoo opted to go for it instead of taking a sure three. When Eli Manning threw incomplete to Odell Beckham Jr., the Giants got nothing. That’s emotion rather than common sense. At home, take the three.
These coaches sometimes think their players will think more of them by going for it rather than kicking. No, take the points. I hated that call and were it not for the late game-winning field goal, it would have opened up him to way more criticism.
Big Blue’s defense getting it done: Who thought it would be the Giants defense carrying the team to a 2-0 start? The additions of Damon Harrison , Olivier Vernon Janoris Jenkins have really helped that side of the ball. In two games, the Giants have allowed two touchdowns and one was after a pick at their 35 against the Dallas Cowboys .
The Giants were the worst defense in the NFL last season, but now have the look of a unit that will be tough to score on in 2016. Defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo got after Drew Brees with a variety of blitz looks that led to two sacks, both by defensive backs. The Saints were 3-of-13 on third down.
Raiders’ defense MIA: Speaking of defense, weren’t the Raiders supposed to be much improved on that side of the ball? They aren’t. In two games, they’ve given up 1,035 yards of offense and 69 points. That’s awful. That’s after spending big to sign linebacker Bruce Irvin , corner Shawn Smith and safety Reggie Nelson . The Atlanta Falcons scored 35 on them Sunday as they rolled up 528 yards in a 35-28 victory in Oakland’s home opener.
Matt Ryan threw for 396 yards and three touchdowns as the Falcons evened their record at 1-1. The Raiders have to be concerned in a big way about the way their defense has started the season. Doesn’t coach Jack Del Rio have a defensive background?
Give Ryan some credit: Speaking of Ryan, can people please get off his back? He is a much better quarterback than people think. Why he takes the heat is mystifying to me. His line hasn’t been good for much of his career, and he’s taken a lot of shots. He is much tougher than he’s given credit for as a passer.
Bad sign in Buffalo? If Rex Ryan is going to get fired as coach of the Bills — and it almost certainly will happen if things don’t change — it has to be concerning for potential coaches to hear that ownership may have had something to do with the firing of offensive coordinator Greg Roman last week. There are reports that Terry Pegula, the owner, talked with offensive players about Roman before forcing the firing on Ryan. If that’s true — and nobody knows for sure — it’s bad policy. Hire a coach, and let him hire a staff and do his job. What’s next? Calling in plays from the box?
New England Patriots
Jimmy G looks great: Big props should go to Patriots quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo . Before he went out with a shoulder injury against Miami, he was on fire. He completed 18 of 27 for 234 yards and three touchdowns. The Miami Dolphins couldn’t stop him. More impressive than the numbers was the way Garopploo got them. He was comfortable in the pocket and he made nice reads and got the ball out. On his last touchdown, a strike to Danny Amendola , the Dolphins blitzed him and Garoppolo saw it, retreated and fired a dart to Amendola. If he has to miss the next two games, with a reported AC joint sprain, it would be a shame since he’s playing so well and Tom Brady will be back in two weeks.
Where’s the offense in Seattle? The Seahawks scored three points against the Los Angeles Rams in a 9-3 loss. That’s brutal. Quarterback Russell Wilson , who was limited by a high-ankle sprain, was clearly a different player without the threat to run. He hit some big passes down the field, but the threat to run and move to throw is what separates him from a lot of passers. Without it, he looked ordinary. In fairness to him, he took a lot of shots — at least 10 — and was sacked twice. The Seattle offense that was explosive in the second half of 2015 has been non-existent so far this season.
Numbers can be deceiving in Washington: If you look at a stat line that shows a passer throwing for 364 yards, one touchdown, one pick and completed passes to 10 different receivers, you’d say he had a heck of a game. Watching the game didn’t feel that way. Those are the numbers for Redskins quarterback Kirk Cousins from Sunday’s loss to the Cowboys.
On the surface, they look good. But as we watched that game in our green room at CBS Sports, it didn’t look that way. He missed a wide-open touchdown pass to
Jamison Crowder early in the game and then threw a terrible end zone interception that would have put them the Redskins up 10 minutes left in the game. On the play, he never saw safety Barry Church when he tried to fire the pass into Pierre Garcon . Those are the mistakes that make one wonder if the Redskins will ever give him that long-term extension.
There was a report Sunday night that some Redskins offensive players were already grumbling about Cousins. That’s not a good way to start the season. The Redskins are 0-2 and in the cellar of the division with two home losses.
Time to free up Mariota: If you watched Marcus Mariota rally the Titans to a late victory over the Detroit Lions with a big-time drive, you wonder why the Titans want to be a run-heavy team. They should be playing with Mariota as the focal point of the offense. Mariota led them on an impressive 13-play, 83-yard drive to the winning points, hitting Andre Johnson for the winning score.
Mariota threw for 81 yards in the first half on 14 passes. That makes no sense to me. Let him grow as a quarterback, not an appendage to the run-heavy offense. He finished with 238 and two touchdown passes. Let him go.
D is strong again in Denver: The Broncos defense is off to an impressive start to the season. They scored two defensive touchdowns in their victory over the Colts to get to 2-0. But the biggest difference this year: Von Miller is getting regular-season sacks.
He was the star of the postseason last year, getting five sacks, including 2.5 in the Super Bowl, but he had just 11 during the regular season. After getting three against the Colts, he now has four in two games. This could be the year he pushes for the single-season sack record.
Good news, bad news in Minnesota: It looked like Vikings running back Adrian Peterson could be out for a while after hurting his knee Sunday night. I sure bet the Vikings are happy they traded to get Sam Bradford now. They are 2-0 and atop the NFC North. Peterson was off to a slow start this season anyway, but it’s never good to lose a back of his caliber for any length of time. If the injury is serious, the Vikings have major issues in their backfield.
Green Bay Packers
McCarthy’s questionable call: Why didn’t Mike McCarthy kick a field goal on fourth-and-2 from the Vikings 13 trailing 10-7 in the third quarter? If he did, they go to overtime against the Vikings. Instead they lose 17-14. Bad move.
Source: CBS Sports Headlines / â€‹Monday Musings: 0-2 Jags heading in wrong direction and that’s on Gus Bradley