A day after arguably the worst loss in Gus Bradley’s tenure, the Jacksonville Jaguars coach still had few answers for what went wrong.
The Jaguars (0-2) were completely dismantled in a 38-14 loss at San Diego on Sunday, the franchise’s seventh straight setback on the West Coast. They trailed by three touchdowns early, failed to get back in the game and did little right in losing their fifth consecutive game.
It dropped Bradley’s record to 12-38 in four seasons — the second-worst winning percentage in NFL history for anyone who has coached at least 50 games — and renewed questions about his job security.
“There was not much good to take from the game,” Bradley said Monday. “We’re well aware that as a team we did not play very well. It wasn’t to our standard. You try to find some things that are positive, and I’m sure there are. As a whole, when you’re down 35-0 going into the fourth quarter, there’s not a lot of good that took place.”
It’s hardly anything new for the Jaguars, who started 0-2 for the fourth time in the last five seasons. Of Bradley’s 38 losses, 25 of them have been by double digits.
Owner Shad Khan and general manager Dave Caldwell essentially wrote off the first two-plus years of the Bradley era because the team was in the early stages of a massive rebuilding project. But this year was supposed to be different . The Jaguars were expected to, at the very least, show up in San Diego and look capable of playing winning football.
Instead, they proved to be the same old Jags.
Costly turnovers. Silly penalties. Porous defense. Ineffective offense. Missed opportunities. The Jaguars have experienced all of those all too often. The latest lackluster effort caused the “FireGus” hashtag to trend on Twitter in the Jacksonville area.
The question now is whether the loss will prove to be a one-week fluke or turn into a season-long funk.
“I think you really rely on the character of the team,” Bradley said. “I know we’ve bounced back before. The character and the pride of this team are great. I know it’s just conversations with them, the mindset, let’s get this right. … Whenever you go through a game like that, there’s frustration.
“There’s frustration in the coaching staff, the players that we just didn’t show up and play to the best of our abilities. That’s what is frustrating. That’s more of a feeling now talking to our players is that we know we have the capability of playing at a much higher level and we didn’t.”
Jacksonville gets a chance to rebound Sunday against Baltimore (2-0). It might be the first “must-win game” in Bradley’s career. If the Jaguars lose, they will head to London 0-3 to play Indianapolis. If that happens, Bradley could be coaching for his job before the bye week.
“We have to get right,” Bradley said. “The meeting we had with the players, they understand it, too. They are professionals. They all understand that we cannot have that kind of performance. We all believe that we are a good team, but we just didn’t play like we we’re a good team. That’s what we have to get back to.”