Midway through the season, the Jaguars looked like the worst team in the NFL, and one of the worst teams in NFL history. But the Jaguars played hard over the second half of the season and even had a three-game winning streak at one point, with two wins over the Texans bookending a win over the Browns.
Jaguars coach Gus Bradley got a lot of credit for keeping his team playing hard late in a lost season, but Bradley’s strong coaching down the stretch may have also contributed to the Texans firing Gary Kubiak and the Browns firing Rob Chudzinski.
Kubiak was fired the day after the second loss to Jacksonville, and Texans owner Bob McNair made clear that he thought Bradley had out-coached Kubiak.
“We’ve got a lot better talent than Jacksonville,” McNair said. “To have them beat us twice, that’s to their credit. They played harder, they played smarter, and that’s not acceptable to us to have some team beat us on that basis.”
And Jay Glazer of FOX Sports reported that the Browns’ front office compared its own situation to Jacksonville’s and was displeased with the way the Browns failed to improve over the second half of the season, the way Jacksonville did.
“They compared themselves, believe it or not, to the job Gus Bradley’s done in Jacksonville,” Glazer said of the Browns. “They said, ‘Is their personnel better than ours? No, it’s not. Yet they improved and got better as the year went on.’”
Ordinarily, you wouldn’t think a coach of a 4-12 team had done a great job. But Bradley took over a lousy team and had them playing competitive football late in the season. When Kubiak and Chudzinski’s teams weren’t playing as well as Bradley’s team, that cost Kubiak and Chudzinski their jobs.