Jaguars locked into franchise’s worst season

There’s nothing the Jacksonville Jaguars can do to prevent the
worst season in franchise history.

It’s on coach Mike Mularkey’s resume now.

It also could lead to his ouster, along with general manager
Gene Smith.

The Jaguars (2-12) clinched their spot in history with a 24-3
loss at Miami on Sunday, the team’s seventh defeat by 16 points or
more this season.

Not even Jacksonville’s inaugural team in 1995 – a group
comprised of mostly rookies and street free agents – was
overmatched as often. Coach Tom Coughlin’s rag-tag bunch finished
4-12 back then, losing four games by at least 16 points. The 4-12
record is the worst in franchise history.

The Jaguars would have to win out to get that many victories in
2012. More likely is another lopsided loss Sunday when New England
(10-4) brings the league’s most prolific offense to town.

”No one thought we’d be in this situation with only having two
wins this late in the year,” linebacker Paul Posluszny said
Monday. ”I think we have too many guys who can make plays and do
things the right way. But for whatever reason, we haven’t been able
to bring it all together to win.”

The Jaguars have dropped 10 of their last 11 games, setting the
stage for changes under first-year owner Shad Khan.

Smith, the team’s architect the last four seasons, is likely
gone. Jacksonville is 22-40 during Smith’s tenure, failing to draft
or acquire a single Pro Bowl player. He seemingly whiffed with
defensive tackle Tyson Alualu in 2010 and quarterback Blaine
Gabbert in 2011.

Former owner Wayne Weaver convinced Khan to keep Smith last
year, and Khan allowed Smith to lead the search for a new coaching
staff. So Smith was the one who suggested Mularkey and was the
driving force behind decisions to keep several assistants from the
previous regime.

All of them could be gone in two weeks.

”Like I said to the players, if you do everything the right way
and you do it the best you can, you’ll be successful here and
wherever else that will be,” Mularkey said. ”That’s the only
thing I will go by or anybody else that’s going to be in this
building is going to go by. We’re going to just do the best we
can.”

Mularkey and his players insist no one is quitting, although the
Jaguars have been outscored 26-0 in the third quarter of the last
three games and gashed on the ground in the second half of those
losses. They allowed 139 yards rushing against the Dolphins after
intermission, following poor performances against the New York Jets
(116 yards in the second half) and Buffalo (158 yards in the second
half).

”Who would (quit)? That’s what losers do,” said running back
Maurice Jones-Drew, who is questionable to return from a sprained
foot this week. ”We have a losing record, but there are no losers
in here. We get paid to do our job and we’re going to give
everything we’ve got to do it. A loser is going to be the one who
gives up and doesn’t care. Effort has never been the case with this
team.”

A lack of talent is the real issue.

No doubt, injuries have taken a toll on Jacksonville. Between
Jones-Drew, Gabbert, guard Will Rackley and linebackers Daryl Smith
and Clint Session, the Jaguars have had their share of missed
starts, but every team in the league deals with injuries. The good
ones have enough depth to overcome those setbacks.

The Jaguars, though, seem a long way off.

Against the Dolphins, they had two touchdowns taken off the
scoreboard and got stopped three times on fourth down. They
finished with 10 penalties, none more costly than an illegal
substitution called against offensive tackle Guy Whimper that
nullified a TD and proved to be the catalyst in the latest
one-sided affair.

”This year didn’t go the way anyone wanted, but we’d like to
build on the coaches and players that are here,” Posluszny said.
”(Changing coaches), that’s not the winning formula. You look at
winning organizations throughout the league and they don’t go
through things like that. Three head coaches in three years would
not be a positive thing.”

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