The people in power for the Jaguars, whether they admit it or not, are not doing everything they can to win games this year.
If Jaguars' head coach Doug Marrone felt the pressure to win, and win now, Jabaal Sheard would have been activated to the Jaguars' 53-man roster. Instead, Sheard, who registered three pressures, a batted pass, and a sack (negated by a Chaisson offsides penalty) in 13 snaps for the Jaguars last week, is now a New York Giant. Despite being the most efficient pass rusher the Jaguars have had all year, Doug Marrone and Dave Caldwell opted to let him move on to the Giants instead of using his talents to try to help end their five-game losing skid.
When I asked Marrone why the Jaguars opted not to pull Sheard up to the active roster or protect him this week, Marrone responded, "We looked at, well Josh (Allen) is going to be coming back, so how can we get him the snaps and keep K'Lavon (Chaisson) going, and (Dawuane) Smoot, and a couple of the other guys? So we couldn't guarantee a lot of snaps, and a veteran guy is going to make a move where he can go there (New York) and get increased playing time."
While getting reps for young guys like K'Lavon Chaisson is nice for a team at the beginning or middle of a rebuild, it's not the typical strategy of a coach on the hot seat. Chaisson has been largely ineffective for the Jaguars as both a pass rusher and a run defender. That shouldn't come as a surprise — Chaisson was always a project after playing just two seasons collegiately, and he's not able to employ the same technique that he used at LSU. Instead of lining up in a two-point stance like he did the last two years, defensive coordinator Todd Wash is asking Chaisson to put his hand in the dirt and rush the passer as a true 4-3 defensive end.
Chaisson isn't getting the job done, and that's really not his fault.
Following the oh-so disappointing 2018 season, in which the Jaguars won just five games, team owner Shad Khan told fans that the same results the following season would not be acceptable. He made comparable remarks following the similarly soul-crushing 2019 campaign. While logic says general manager Dave Caldwell and head coach Doug Marrone should be on the hottest of seats after a 12-26 record since the start of the '18 season, their roster-building decisions suggest otherwise.
The loss of Jabaal Sheard is an exclamation point at the end of a sentence. There have been a myriad of roster moves (hello, Calais Campbell) that didn't make sense for a team that needed to win games in 2020, but as these Jaguars continue to flounder with a 1-5 record, not pulling Jabaal Sheard up to the 53-man roster highlights the fact that this regime is not doing everything it can to win games. I'm by no means insinuating that the players and coaches aren't preparing and practicing hard enough during the week. Still, from a roster construction standpoint, it's clear that winning now is not the number one priority.
What does this mean? Are Marrone and Caldwell safe heading into 2020? Perhaps, the HC and GM are legitimately trying to build for the future of the team, even though they know that's not a future they'll be around to see...
The second idea seems unlikely. What is going on behind closed doors at TIAA Bank Field? I'm not entirely sure.
But when a team doesn't exhaust every possible option to win games, and actively lets good players at positions of need walk out the door, there's only one term to describe those type of actions: Tanking.
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