The 2016 Jacksonville Jaguars promised progress and while the wins aren’t coming, the team is certainly more competitive.
2-9 is a bitter pill for any Jacksonville Jaguars fan to swallow. This was supposed to be the year for it all to come together and the Jags to return to relevance and respectability.
That certainly hasn’t happened.
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But there is some small consolation. The Jags have been considerably more competitive in 2016 and six of their losses have been from seven points or less. Late comebacks or just close games, they cover the spectrum. Here are the close losses to this point in 2016:
Week 1: Jaguars 23, Green Bay Packers 27
Week 3: Jaguars 17, Baltimore Ravens 19
Week 9: Jaguars 14, Kansas City Chiefs 19
Week 10: Jaguars 21, Houston Texans 24
Week 11: Jaguars 19: Detroit Lions 26
Week 12: Jaguars 21, Buffalo Bills 28
In particular, it’s worth noting that the Jaguars have been even more “in it” during recent weeks. These latest weeks have all been winnable games for the Jaguars, even though they didn’t ultimately get there.
It would be easy to point to a few errant plays like pick-sixes and special teams collapses and say, “if only this hadn’t happened,” but that would hide the fact that the Jags should be playing at an even higher level. The progress has been slow and the competitive games only feel worse because the two wins this season were by a combined four points and three other losses were major blowouts.
The Jags should be winning more of these close games and many of these games shouldn’t even be close (like playing the Chiefs’ second string).
So, how does 2016 compare to the previous seasons in this long, arduous rebuild? Let’s look back:
2015 is certainly the high water mark with five wins and six closer losses, but 2016’s two wins and six close losses isn’t that far off that pace. Like before, a few different plays and things could have been different.
But is this really what we want to see? More close losses?
That’s the difficult nature of life under head coach Gus Bradley. Things have definitely improved but they also aren’t improving fast enough or consistently enough. At best the Jaguars can go 7-9 in 2016 if they win out. That’s in year four of a rebuild.
It’s tough to look at the records and think things will actually finally click and the team will start getting wins. The close losses are tantalizing but they’re still losses.