Khan mentioned that general manager Dave Caldwell “agreed and will now be charged with exploring all options to hire the best head coach possible” to lead the Jaguars. Khan also mentioned the team’s “extremely talented” roster, another sign of support for Caldwell. NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport reported that Caldwell will name an interim head coach on Monday, and added Bradley was on the team flight back to Jacksonville.
This could be seen as an act of mercy for Bradley. In a statement after last season, Khan said that Bradley knew the Jaguars had to be “well above” where they finished a season ago when the team finished 5-11. The Jaguars spent big money in free agency and instead took a step back. It was only a matter of time before Bradley was fired, and Sunday’s collapse provided a good moment for a clean break.
On film, Jack showed what you’d expect from a rookie linebacker: Relentlessly eager to make plays, frequently around the ball but occasionally in over his head. Will a shift to a more traditional defense under new coordinator Todd Wash accentuate Jack’s play-making abilities or wash them away? Having him function as a part-time 4-3 under SAM linebacker or “OTTO” seemed to be too much at times, especially when offenses attacked the intermediate passing game.
It would be a joy to watch the same thumping, free-roaming linebacker we saw come out of UCLA. Now that the Jaguars have cleared his path into the starting lineup, they’ll be expecting it.
NFL.com analyst Daniel Jeremiah identified the Jaguars back in January as one of the teams that needed to draft a QB this year, but he pointed to a middle-round pick as the likely route of adding competition for Bortles.
Watson is expected to go no later than early in Round 2, but the Jaguars are still interested enough to spend one of their 30 alotted pre-draft visits with the former Tigers star, who rates as NFL Network draft expert Mike Mayock’s No. 2 QB in the draft.
From an on-field standpoint, a Cruz-Jags marriage offers a more puzzling quandary. The Jaguars already own a talented receiving corps headlined by Allen Robinson, Allen Hurns and Marqise Lee and added fourth-round pick Dede Westbrook in the draft.
The Jags traded their second-round (35th) and sixth-round (187th) picks to the Seahawks for the right to pick Robinson.
The 6-foot-6, 322-pound mammoth road-grader started 44 straight games at Alabama. Robinson has the power and length to be a left tackle in the NFL, but is also versatile enough to play inside.
See, I don’t even know yet if I’m picking Jacksonville to make the playoffs. But that’s the point. Even just a few weeks ago, who in their right mind envisioned South Carolina competing for a national title — in basketball? You can’t be Cinderella if everyone assumes you’ll be the belle of the ball. And let’s be honest: Jacksonville has some serious questions heading into the 2017 campaign. Allow me to address those right off the bat.
First of all, many folks expected a breakthrough performance by the Jaguars last season. And they disappointed in a major way, going 3-13 and finishing deep in the AFC South cellar. But let’s take a closer look at that 3-13 for a second. Jacksonville wasn’t getting blown off the field. The Jaguars lost eight games by seven points or fewer. And Jacksonville’s most impressive win — a 38-17 pasting of the Titans in Week 16 — came in Doug Marrone’s first game as the interim coach, replacing the fired Gus Bradley. In related news: Marrone earned the permanent gig and will be leading the Jags in 2017. This is no small thing. As I said a few weeks ago, Gus Bradley is a nice guy … but a terrible head coach. Marrone is a large upgrade. And now that he has Tom Coughlin running the front office? Yeah, I think Jacksonville’s pointed in the right direction.