Despite a disappointing season for the Jaguars, there are still multiple things to watch for as the rest of the season unfolds.
After another brutal, mistake-filled loss Sunday at the hands of the Detroit Lions, the Jacksonville Jaguars have fallen to 2-8 on the season. Any small glimmer of hope that remained with fans has quickly decimated.
Playoff hopes went out the window early on in a season that was promised to be competitive and exciting, and the team has become extremely frustrating to watch. They seem to be inventing new ways to lose games each and every week, with endless errors and mind-blowing mistakes.
But while the watchability of this team is decreasing substantially after each painful loss, here are some storylines to follow in the final 6 games of the season:
1. How long can Gus Bradley hold off the inevitable?
It is surely no secret that Gus Bradley’s days as head coach are numbered. This was his fourth season as the lead man and year four of the “rebuild” of the team, and the results were finally supposed to show up on the field. Well they haven’t.
The team is struggling again, and have made absolutely no progress under Bradley’s leadership.
As likable and respected as Gus Bradley is as a person, it is vividly clear that the team has to take a new direction with a new coach. So it will be interesting to see just how long Bradley can stave off his ultimate doom, and if he can make it to season’s end.
2. Does the book on Blake Bortles as franchise quarterback continue to close?
Blake Bortles was expected to take a huge leap forward after an optimistic second season. Instead, he has severely regressed and his future as the starting quarterback moving forward is in question.
His mechanics and decision making have been awful, and he just doesn’t seem to have the arm to make the throws needed to have an efficient offense.
Bortles hasn’t had great coaching, and is on his second offensive coordinator this season, so there’s hesitation with writing him off just yet.
These remaining six games are huge for Blake Bortles. He will have to drastically improve his performance if he hopes to regain the team’s faith that he can be the guy beyond the season.
3. Can young playmakers continue to improve for the future?
Jacksonville has struggled this year, but some young guys have stepped up and played well.
Rookie cornerback Jalen Ramsey has been what the team has hoped for thus far. The fifth overall selection has gotten the best of opposing team’s receivers multiple times this year, and appears on his way to being a star for the organization.
Allen Robinson and Telvin Smith will be aiming for new contracts this offseason, and will use these final games to continue to prove they are deserving. Robinson hasn’t quite lived up to the standard he set last year, and will look to step up and show he is still the go-to guy at receiver. Smith has been a leader for the defense, and should continue to perform well and heighten his expectations.
The future of Marqise Lee was uncertain with this team coming into the season, but Lee has been the most reliable performer for the offense this season. It will be fun to continue to follow his breakout season for the Jaguars.
4. Can the Jaguars take on the role of spoiler?
The playoff hopes for Jacksonville are long gone, but they have an opportunity the rest of the season to play spoiler to multiple teams’ chances at the postseason.
They fell short of putting a dent in Detroit’s chances Sunday, but five of the remaining six games are against teams currently with a .500 or better record.
Included in that is back to back homes games against the Broncos and Vikings, both of which are battling for division titles.
This season has been a disaster for the Jaguars, but they will have multiple chances to throw a wrench in at least one team’s plans at a postseason run.
A frustrating year for the Jacksonville Jaguars no doubt, but there are still many storylines to follow as the rest of the season unfolds.