The Jaguars are at the lowest point in franchise history. After an embarrassing performance in a 50-10 loss to the Patriots on Sunday, the Jags are on track to become only the second team to lose 15 or more games in consecutive seasons since the divisional realignment in 2002. They are a laughing stock in every context. From media, to those in league circles, to fans of the team, the perception of what's going on in Jacksonville has never been THIS bad. Next, they'll take on the hard-charging Colts to close the 2022 regular season and will, in all likelihood, cement themselves as one of the worst teams over a two-year period this league has ever seen. Indy has an 85% chance to make the playoffs, according to ESPN, but they'll need to take care of business in Jacksonville for the first time since 2014. Despite the Colts' struggles playing in Jacksonville over the last handful of years, I wouldn't expect these Jags to put up much of a fight.
Most shocking and disappointing about the Jaguars' current situation is the expectations set by ownership and leadership. Urban Meyer, who survived just 13 games in Jacksonville, made it clear that he wanted to win in year one. It wasn't going to be a long rebuilding process. After hiring Meyer this past offseason, Jaguars' owner Shad Khan giddily explained to media, "This time, I got it right."
Just as frustrating, the Jaguars have completely wasted Trevor Lawrence's rookie year. They had a ludicrous amount of cap space and failed to use it properly. They had a treasure trove of draft picks but drafted just one player after Trevor that has positively impacted the team in 2021.
How wrong Mr. Khan was. Meyer's unwillingness to show respect for how difficult it is to win in the NFL, and his lack of respect for his employees and colleagues, combined with his entitled attitude and "do as I say, not as I do" mentality, created one of the most toxic situations the NFL has ever witnessed.
Then you have general manager Trent Baalke. A spider weaving his webs behind the scenes, Baalke has somehow remained in power despite being a key cog in the disfunction at TIAA Bank Field. There are conflicting reports regarding Trent Baalke's future with the organization. Last week, Ian Rapoport of NFL Media shared that Baalke would be retained moving forward. But multiple reports from other sources around the league have refuted that claim. After a storm of Khlown emojis, backlash from journalists nationwide, and one of the worst losses in franchise history, it seems there's a good chance Baalke won't last too long in Jacksonville.
And make no mistake about it: the only path forward that could possibly see the Jaguars pull themselves up out of the mud starts with firing Trent Baalke. Baalke has struggled to connect with and communicate with players and coaches in his employ throughout his time in Jacksonville and San Francisco. He has far more draft misses than hits on his resume. And his free agency process has been less than ideal at both stops. As a result, Baalke has failed in every aspect of his job, and teams with him on staff have a record of 10-54 since 2015.
Shad Khan needs to commit to a complete organizational rebuild for the first time since 2013. Assuming Khan does come to his senses and fires Trent Baalke, the people he hires to lead this franchise out of the abyss will need to be intelligent football minds that have alignment in their goals and how to achieve them. But most importantly, they need to effectively communicate with the staff, the players, and other employees in the building. They need to lead by example. They need to genuinely care about the people they're tasked with leading.
According to multiple reports, the Jaguars have already interviewed former Super Bowl champion Doug Pederson. And they plan to interview a host of names from around the NFL landscape in the coming days and weeks. I encourage Shad Khan to relieve Trent Baalke of his duties. As Jason La Canfora wrote this past weekend: "Retaining GM Trent Baalke will hinder the team's ability to attract top candidates."
A new coach and general manager combination would be set up for success. With Trevor Lawrence in the fold, nearly $70 million in 2022 salary-cap space, another healthy serving of draft picks (likely including the first overall pick in 2022), and an owner that's proven he's willing to spare no expense, new leadership would have a golden opportunity to pave a new path for these Jacksonville Jaguars.
Fire Trent Baalke.
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