- Following a lost season and looking at a broken roster, the Jaguars are scrambling to get things right, starting with a rash of firings and a punishment for the would-be centerpiece of their offense.
The Jacksonville Jaguars, helmed by Tom Coughlin, want you to know that they mean business. Four position coaches were fired after the season, and it was not a coincidence that they presided over presumed areas of strength that failed this season (running backs, offensive line, defensive line and secondary). Head coach Doug Marrone confirmed the team has stripped running back Leonard Fournette of his future guarantees in his rookie deal after he, along with T.J. Yeldon, appeared disinterested on the sideline during the season finale.
Like most of this season, it seems not enough blame is falling on Coughlin (and Marrone, for that matter) for the Jags being one of the most disappointing teams in the NFL. Stripping Fournette’s guarantees because of a one-game suspension should be a red flag to any current or future NFL player of what the Jaguars are capable of. And all the commotion around the contract covers up the fact that is as true today as it was on draft night: The Jaguars should have used the No. 4 pick on a quarterback (Deshaun Watson or Patrick Mahomes) instead of a running back.
The throwback offense has failed, from the first-round running back to the expensive offensive line to the quarterback who just had to not turn the ball over. The Jaguars miscalculated getting all those egos and alphas in the building and thinking that stripping away the fun and disciplining them hard would actually work.
None of this necessarily absolves the players from their pettiness and mistakes. When the going got tough, Jalen Ramsey attempted to intimidate media members before deciding to dodge questions before deciding to vaguely put the blame elsewhere. Fournette and Yeldon absolutely should have been more engaged on Sunday, too. But when the organization shows it’s not committed to winning—which it did by sticking with Blake Bortles time and again—how could frustrations not boil over?
Like Mark Moseley's 1982 NFL MVP award, game historians will long research the 2017 Jacksonville Jaguars and their anomalous AFC title-game run.
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NOW ON THE MMQB: Kalyn Kahler writes that no team in the NFL is having more fun than the Chicago Bears. … Conor Orr handicaps the coaches who are most likely to be hired for another go-round. … Jenny Vrentas examines an important question: Why are so many GMs sticking around while their head coaches get fired? … and more.
1. The Ringer’s Kevin Clark looks at the curse of giving a franchise quarterback franchise-quarterback money in today’s NFL.
2. The Athletic’s Mark Kaboly says the Steelers and Antonio Brown would be best served by kissing and making up.
3. Shawn Hochuli called a league-high 253 penalties in his first year as a referee.
4. Giants GM Dave Gettleman said plainly Wednesday that the Giants didn’t sign Odell Beckham Jr. to that huge contract just to trade him.
5. A report out of Chicago links Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly as a possible Buccaneers’ interviewee. This smells like a college coach angling for a raise after a pretty good season.
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Kliff Kingsbury is reportedly getting interviews in Arizona and Green Bay for the head-coaching gigs. He’s a hot college name, but there’s a glaring lack of success on his résumé. After taking over the Texas Tech job, Kingsbury had Davis Webb, Baker Mayfield and Patrick Mahomes on his Red Raiders teams. He went 35-40 as the head coach, had two top-10 scoring offenses in the nation in six years and failed to reach a bowl game in half his seasons at the helm. I’m not sure that’s enough to justify much more than an interview.
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