JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The Jaguars are sitting on the brink of history. Only two teams in NFL history have lost 20 games in a row, the Chicago Cardinals and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The Jaguars are now one game away from becoming the third team on the list.
This is not the type of record that Jaguars fans expected this season with Urban Meyer and Trevor Lawrence coming to town. So far, the task of turning around a team that won only one game last year has been too large for Meyer and Co.
Were expectations for the young team too high, or is this team just bad? To get a better view, I cracked open the history books to see how other teams rebounded after winning only one game the prior year.
A 1-15 season has happened 11 times in NFL history.
One win and then ...
|Team||The season, the year||How they responded|
|Saints||1-15, 1980||4-12, 1981|
|Cowboys||1-15, 1989||7-9, 1990|
|Patriots||1-15, 1990||6-10, 1991|
|Colts||1-15, 1991||9-7, 1992|
|Jets||1-15, 1996||9-7, 1997|
|Chargers||1-15, 2000||5-11, 2001|
|Panthers||1-15, 2001||7-9, 2002|
|Dolphins||1-15, 2007||11-5, 2008|
|Rams||1-15, 2009||7-9, 2010|
|Browns||1-15, 2016||0-16, 2017|
Based on league history, it was reasonable to expect the Jaguars to make some sort of improvement this season. Only three teams in NFL history followed up a 1-15 season with a winning record, but only the Saints and the Browns won less than five games the following year.
There is still time for the Jaguars to hit that five-win mark. They have dates with the Dolphins (1-2), Falcons (0-3), Jets (0-3), Texans (1-2) and the Colts (0-3) twice. Those six stand out as the most winnable games left on their schedule. Based on the improvements the Jaguars have made from Week 1 to Week 4, it is easy to see their best football is in front of them.
Of course, that is just a moral victory. It is time for this team to get some actual W’s.
As cliche as it sounds, teams do have to learn how to win. From a fan perspective that sounds absurd. The game of football is basically the same from peewee to the NFL. But it is the truth.
Young teams go through this year in and year out. I asked Shaquill Griffin about that before the Bengals game. He said, “we just have to continue to harp on just doing our job. Understand when you are down and it does not matter what is going on in the game, you want to be that guy to figure out ‘how do I make the huge play?’
“I want to help this team so bad and that is fine – I love that. But we have to make the play doing our job and sometimes I feel like that is the part we get to towards the end of the game. It is like ‘OK, let’s not try to get desperate and try to do whatever it takes to get this ball back. Let’s do our job and still try to fight.”
That “want to” he is speaking of is something you can’t teach. What will come with time is the self-awareness and understanding that for a teammate to make the play you have to “do your job.”
How long will it take for this team to learn that lesson? To learn how to win? Only time will tell. But if they don’t learn it before Oct. 10 the Jaguars will be adding their name to the history books on a list no team wants to be a part of.