The Jacksonville Jaguars were a trendy pick entering the 2016 NFL season. Even though the team hadn’t won more than five games since the 2010 season, this was the year that experts and analysts thought the Jags might take a significant leap forward.
Quarterback Blake Bortles was entering his third season and head coach Gus Bradley was entering his fourth season. Even though they hadn’t found much success, the Jags were theoretically building a fairly talented young roster. And they “aced” the 2016 NFL Draft. Sports Illustrated gave them an A+ after selecting Jalen Ramsey and Myles Jack. Here’s what SI’s Don Banks wrote after the draft.
What a monster defense the Jaguars might be building if Ramsey and Jack can add instant impact, along with defensive end and 2015 first-round pick Dante Fowler—who lost his entire rookie season to a knee injury—and top-shelf free-agent signing Malik Jackson. Overnight transformations are truly rare in the NFL, but no one in the league has done more to remake and improve a problem area than Jacksonville has on defense. And if that side of the ball takes a quantum step forward, the playoffs could legitimately be within reach, given the production and potential the Jaguars’ emerging young offensive talent flashed last season.
Others were definitely on board the Jaguars hype train. Owner Shad Khan was all aboard as well; saying in July that the Jags looked “scary good.” A Bleacher Report article declared Jacksonville the “NFL’s most exciting young team.” Fox Sports proclaimed that the Jags were “no longer a laughingstock.” The Jaguars were definitely a trendy sleeper pick entering the 2016 season with some even predicting them to win the division.
But the @Jaguars still win that division.
— Adam Rank (@adamrank) August 18, 2016
Your AFC South season preview. Get on the Jaguars bandwagon! https://t.co/8pWsQGkm1n
— Will Leitch (@williamfleitch) August 18, 2016
— Courtney Fallon (@CourtneyFallon_) August 13, 2016
"I'm buying the hype, I say they win the AFC South."
— NFL Total Access (@NFLTotalAccess) August 3, 2016
ok, Jacksonville got the jags to 9-7..ur welcome….5-1 in division….6-2 at home….big things happening….lets go!
— Dan Hicken (@DanHicken) April 15, 2016
— @CLTVSportsFeed (@CLTVSportsFeed) August 31, 2016
I think they win AFC South. Think Jags will be very good in 2016 https://t.co/su3Hd950eS
— Connor Hughes (@Connor_J_Hughes) August 13, 2016
"Jacksonville is winning the AFC South."
— Mike & Mike (@MikeAndMike) August 17, 2016
— Black&Teal (@BLACKandTEAL) September 8, 2016
— Nick Kostos (@TheKostos) April 29, 2016
— Mike Bianchi (@BianchiWrites) August 28, 2016
But instead of any quantum steps forward, the Jags just kept losing. And losing. And losing. Gus Bradley was relieved of his head coaching duties after Sunday’s one-point loss against the Houston Texans. And by the way, the Jags managed to lose that game with to the Texans with Brock Osweiler getting benched and Tom Savage replacing him. Tom Savage!!! Hide your eyes at these numbers, Jaguars fans.
The Jags are currently sitting at 2-12, an abominable record even by their standards and especially considering the good vibes in Jacksonville entering the season. If it wasn’t for the Cleveland Browns or San Francisco 49ers, the Jags would be the laughingstock of the NFL this season. Then again, the Jags did something that neither the Browns nor the 49ers did this year. They gave their fans hope.