JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The Jaguars are down to their final week of a forgettable season that will go down as one of the worst in the franchise’s 27-year history.
So, is this really the worst team the Jaguars have had?
Record-wise, it’s not.
Last year’s Jacksonville team went 1-15 with a 15-game losing streak and gave up a 492 points, both franchise-worsts. The Jaguars did score 306 points while starting three different quarterbacks and have a 1,000-yard rusher in James Robinson.
While the Jaguars have two wins this season, expectations and overall production have sunk this team to new depths.
The team drafted Trevor Lawrence No. 1 overall to lead the resurgence. It hired decorated college coach Urban Meyer to pilot the new era. Lawrence has struggled and Meyer was canned after 13 games and countless public relations embarrassments.
Things have been rough from the outset.
With one week left, the Jaguars are 2-14 and mired in an eight-game losing streak with the Colts coming to town on Sunday. They’ll lock in the No. 1 overall pick for the second straight season with a loss (or a Lions win).
This year’s team has already set the franchise mark for least points scored in a 16-game season. The Jaguars have put up 227 points across 16 games, coming in lower than the previous low-water mark of 243 in 2011. The defense has allowed 446 points, the most given up in the NFL and the fourth-most allowed in franchise history.
So, what about that 2011 team, the previous metric for offensive ineptness and the one this year’s team is routinely gauged against? That 2011 team, led most of the season by Jack Del Rio, finished 4-12. Mike Mularkey’s lone season in 2012 wound up 2-14. Gus Bradley never won more than five games in his four and a half seasons. But the 2011 squad was the lowest-scoring in franchise history. And it’s been toppled by this year’s team.
Take a look at the starting lineups for the current Jaguars team and the 2011 version, both at their optimal strengths that season.
Which of these offenses would you rather have?
The offensive starters
|QB||Blaine Gabbert||Trevor Lawrence|
|RB||Maurice Jones-Drew||James Robinson|
|WR||Mike Thomas||DJ Chark|
|WR||Jason Hill||Marvin Jones|
|FB/TE||Greg Jones||Chris Manhertz|
|TE||Marcedes Lewis||James O’Shaughnessy|
|LT||Eugene Monroe||Cam Robinson|
|LG||Will Rackley||Andrew Norwell|
|C||Brad Meester||Brandon Linder|
|RG||Uche Nwaneri||AJ Cann|
|RT||Guy Whimper||Jawaan Taylor|
Maurice Jones-Drew led the NFL in rushing during the 2011 season with 1,606 yards and scored eight touchdowns. He was a Pro Bowl selection and a first-team NFL All-Pro pick. Blaine Gabbert started 14 games that year and passed for 2,214 yards (12 TDs, 11 INTs). The Jaguars had one game above 20 points that season, a 41-14 rout of the Buccaneers. They had one game where they scored 20 points. Every other was 19 or less. That’s pathetic.
This year’s Jaguars team ranks 27th in yards per game (304.6) and last in points per game (14.2). The 2011 Jaguars offense averaged a league-worst 259.3 yards and tied for 29th in points per game (15.2). They haven’t scored more than 23 points in a game this season. Lawrence’s rookie season has been rough. He’s thrown just 10 touchdown passes and leads the league in interceptions (17).
Now, let’s take a look at the defense. By all accounts, the 2011 defense wasn’t really that bad at all. Take a look at the starters that season compared to this year’s team. Due to different defensive alignments, some positions are matched up differently this season compared to 2011.
The defensive starters
|DE||Matt Roth||Jihad Ward|
|DT||Terrance Knighton||DaVon Hamilton|
|DT||Tyson Alualu||Malcom Brown|
|DE/LB||Jeremy Mincey||Josh Allen|
|LB||Paul Posluszny||Damien Wilson|
|LB||Russell Allen||Myles Jack|
|LB/DB||Daryl Smith||Tre Herndon|
|CB||Rashean Mathis||Shaquill Griffin|
|S||Dawan Landry||Andrew Wingard|
|S||Dwight Lowery||Rayshawn Jenkins|
|CB||William Middleton||Tyson Campbell|
The 2011 Jaguars defense had some bite to it. That season, Jacksonville ranked sixth in the NFL in yards allowed per game (313) and gave up 329 points, a mark that ranked 11th in the NFL. That season’s team had just four games where it allowed an opponent to score 30 points or more.
This year’s Jaguars defense is 31st in points allowed and 12th in yards per game (360.6). Eight times this season, Jacksonville has allowed an opponent to score 30 or more.
So which team was worse? The 2011 roster looks stronger with some perspective. And considering the 2011 offense had the NFL’s leading rusher, it’s a pretty easy bet. This year’s version of the Jaguars trails the 2011 season in nearly every metric.