The “Gus Bus” broke down in Music City on Thursday, and Shad Khan may think a patch job is in order to get it to limp home to Jacksonville. But the Jaguars’ owner is also almost certainly planning his next purchase.
After falling to 2-5 on the season Thursday night in Nashville, Jags coach Gus Bradley admitted his team needs to do some “soul searching.”
“We need to find out what’s the issue,” he admitted. “I think all of us are frustrated in our play.”
The real introspection, however, needs to come from Khan, because Bradley has now won just 14 of the 55 NFL games he’s coached as the leader of the Jaguars, an ugly .255 winning percentage.
Back in 2013 when Bradley arrived in Northeast Florida as one of the architects of the “Legion of Boom” in Seattle, a certain amount of losing was expected as the Jags went through a complete rebuild.
The talent added over the last few years has been substantial, though, at least in paper, and Jacksonville’s effort in Tennessee on “Thursday Night Football” smacked of an uninspired and unprepared team, two adjectives that are always going to put the head coach’s job performance under scrutiny.
“It wasn’t good enough, obviously,” Bradley said when talking about his team’s performance in a 36-22 loss to the Titans that was nowhere near that close. “We looked like we got punched in the mouth and we didn’t respond real well. All of us take responsibility. There are some coaching things and some playing things.”
You can make a strong argument that no team in the NFL is underachieving more than the Jaguars. The performance was so bad against the Titans, speculation immediately began that Khan might do something drastic with the extra time he has before his organization’s next game.
The owner quickly tried to quell that kind of talk after the contest and claimed that he doesn’t plan anything imminent of the coaching front. However, he also offered an ominous message to Jacksonville-area reporters saying, “Actions speak louder than words. Very little for me to say.”
Khan to Times-Union – "Actions speak louder than words. Very little for me to say."
— Ryan O'Halloran (@ryanohalloran) October 28, 2016
In-season changes at head coach rarely accomplish much in the NFL, but it’s clear the garbage-time numbers that Jacksonville and particularly quarterback Blake Bortles are becoming known for are not going to be enough for this coach any longer.
And for Bradley to keep calling himself a head coach in this league in 2017, somehow he must figure out how to do the one thing he’s never been able to do consistently: win football games.
The lone positive here is that 2-5 is typically a death sentence in most divisions, but without a real top-tier team in the AFC South, there is no reason for the Jaguars to give up from a mental standpoint.
The problem is that teams who have won about 25 percent of their games over a significant sample size probably aren’t all of a sudden going to win at the near 80 percent clip over the final nine games the Jaguars will need to stay relevant.
So Khan’s words might not reach Bradley over the next 10 days or so, but the owner’s action is virtually assured. It’s time to reboot the Jaguars again.
-John McMullen is a national football columnist for FanRagSports.com and TodaysPigskin.com. You can reach him at email@example.com or on Twitter @JFMcMullen — Also catch John each week during the NFL season ESPN South Jersey, ESPN Southwest Florida, ESPN Lexington, KDWN in Las Vegas, and check @JFMcMullen for John’s upcoming appearances on SB Nation Radio, FOX Sports Radio, CBS Sports Radio as well as dozens of local radio stations across North America.