Mark Brunell: It's time to say 'There's always next year'

Jaguars fall hard in final game that was microcosm of season

By Mark Brunell - Sports Analyst

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - This surely was not the season we expected. In a disappointing end to an even more disappointing 16 games, the Jaguars fell hard to the Texans in a game that was truly a microcosm of the season: no run game, 107 yards through the air, a grand total of 3 points scored, blown coverages, missed tackles and eight penalties.

Did I miss anything?

It was hard to watch, but the whole season has been so bad, Sunday's game was not much of a departure. It is now time to say the four words every disappointed sports fan utters at one point or another: “There’s always next year."

As I write this story, Shad Khan has released a statement announcing Doug Marrone, Tom Coughlin and Dave Caldwell will all return for the 2019 season. In my opinion, this is a smart move. This is the same leadership that was a play away from the Super Bowl last year.  

While those three may be safe, the infamous “Black Monday” may not be so friendly to others. Notably, defensive coordinator Todd Wash may be on the hot seat, though I think he should be retained. Generally, however, someone will take the fall. I expect more than a few coaches to be let go. 

As for the game, it stank. One moment I found particularly striking was, at the start of the second quarter, our 2017 first-round pick Leonard Fournette sitting on the bench with both arms crossed and our 2015 36th overall pick, TJ Yeldon, watching. And they weren’t watching the Jags on defense. It was a bad look.

Our two key running backs, our current and former starter respectively, were watching our team in distaste as the offense muddled around the field, giving Logan Cooke a workout by punting nine times. 

This was most likely Blake Bortles’ last game with the organization, and he posted the most Blake Bortles stat-line he could have: 15 for 28, 107 yards, no touchdowns and an interception. He also led the team in rushing, so take that as you may. It was sad to watch. The wide receivers give Blake no help. The run game is no compliment. It is all just bad. 

At least it's over. I am not happy saying that, but thankfully we can all look ahead to 2019. Obviously, the draft will be a big factor in the successes or lack thereof next season. Next year will yield a different team in coaching, personnel and attitude in some way or another, and all of it is probably needed.

This shall all pass and it will be the start of next year before we all know it. Go Jags.

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