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NFL morning after: When does Gus Bradley start rebuilding?

JACKSONVILLE, FL - SEPTEMBER 11:  Head coach Gus Bradley of the Jacksonville Jaguars watches the action during a game against the Green Bay Packers at EverBank Field on September 11, 2016 in Jacksonville, Florida.  (Photo by Sam Greenwood/Getty Images) Getty Images

Jaguars coach Gus Bradley is a likable guy, a rah-rah coach who makes you think you wish you could play on his team. Fans like him, reporters like him, players like him. I don’t feel good about saying what I’m about to say about him.

But here’s what I have to say: Gus Bradley is one of the worst coaches in NFL history.

Look, I’m not trying to be mean to the guy. But Bill Parcells loved to say that you are what your record says you are. And Bradley, whose team got blown out in San Diego yesterday, is now a coach with an 0-2 record this season and a 12-38 record through 50 games as the Jaguars’ head coach.

Do you know how bad a 12-38 record is? There have been 170 coaches in NFL history who coached at least 50 games, and Bradley’s winning percentage ranks 169th out of those 170. The only coach with a worse record was Bert Bell, who coached the Philadelphia Eagles from 1936 to 1941. And the only reason Bell wasn’t fired is that Bell was also the Eagles’ owner.

The Jaguars went 4-12 in Bradley’s first year, 3-13 in his second and 5-11 in his third. But this year, Bradley’s fourth season, was the year the rebuilding project was supposed to come to fruition. There were people predicting that Bradley finally had his players in place to make a run at the playoffs. The AFC South is down, so why not? Why can’t Jacksonville get to the playoffs for the first time since 2007?

Well, they can’t make the playoffs if they’re the team that showed up in San Diego yesterday. The Chargers are not exactly an NFL powerhouse, but San Diego destroyed Jacksonville on both sides of the ball, jumping out to an early 21-0 lead and never looking back. The Jaguars are now 0-2. If they’re going to compete for the playoffs, they need to start competing. Now.

And if they’re not going to compete for the playoffs, how can they justify keeping Bradley? This is a results business. A coach is supposed to get results, or else a team is supposed to find a coach who can. Bradley is running out of time to rebuild the Jaguars.

Here are my other thoughts on Sunday’s games:

Something’s wrong with Aaron Rodgers. In the first two weeks of this season, and going back to late last season, Rodgers is simply not playing the same kind of football he used to. Yards per pass attempt is one of the most important statistics for assessing a quarterback, and Rodgers is one of the best in NFL history in that department: Entering last season, his average yards per pass of 8.2 was the third-best ever and by far the best of any active quarterback. But last season Rodgers averaged a career-low 6.7 yards per pass, and this season he’s even worse, at 5.9 yards per pass. Counting last year’s playoffs, Rodgers has averaged less than six yards per pass in six of his last seven games. At age 32, Rodgers looks like he’s starting to slip.

Hester still has it. Baltimore’s Devin Hester, the best return man in NFL history, had a 48-yard kickoff return in Sunday’s win over the Browns. It was the 25th kickoff return of 40 yards or longer in Hester’s career. (He also has 21 punt returns of 40 yards or longer.) Hester finished the game with 80 yards on two kickoff returns and 22 yards on two punt returns.

The extra point return rule is great. When the NFL changed the extra point rule last year, the big headline is that kicks were moved back to the 15-yard line. But my favorite part of the rule is that blocked kicks can now be returned, and the defense gets two points for taking it all the way to the end zone. That only happened once last season, and yesterday it happened for the second time in NFL history when Ravens rookie cornerback Tavon Young took a blocked Browns extra point for a score. Those points would prove to be critical in the Ravens’ 25-20 win, and those plays — even if they happen only once a season — make extra points a lot more exciting.

The Saints are a rebuilding team with a Hall of Fame quarterback. Usually when a team is in rebuilding mode, it’s a team looking for its franchise quarterback. The Saints have their franchise quarterback, future Hall of Famer Drew Brees, and yet as I watch them, they still look like a rebuilding team: New Orleans, which fell to 0-2 yesterday, has holes all over the roster. It’s hard for me to picture the Saints plugging all those holes while the 37-year-old Brees is still in his prime.

Bring back Mike Carey? I never thought I’d say this, but I actually missed Mike Carey yesterday. Carey, the former NFL referee who took a job as an analyst for CBS, was mercifully taken off the air this season after repeatedly getting calls wrong last year. But CBS could have used him during Sunday’s Titans-Lions game, when Matthew Stafford took an illegal low hit and the announcers went on and on and on trying to figure out why it wasn’t penalized. The answer is that it wasn’t penalized simply because the ref didn’t see it, which a former ref like Carey would hopefully have been able to explain. (It took Mike Pereira, who analyzes officiating on FOX, to chime in on Twitter and explain that the hit should have been flagged.)

There’s still a lot of football left to play. If your team is 2-0, you feel like celebrating today. If your team is 0-2, you feel like crying today. But remember that we have a long way to go before the season is over. The Jets, Cowboys and Falcons all started 2-0 last year and missed the playoffs. The Texans and Seahawks both started 0-2 last year and made the playoffs. Don’t lose hope if your team isn’t playing well. Although if you’re a Jaguars fan, maybe it is time to lose hope.

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44 Responses to “NFL morning after: When does Gus Bradley start rebuilding?”
  1. jasons81 says: Sep 19, 2016 7:19 AM

    Regarding the Stafford hit, if it was indeed improper then the refs made it up to him by ignoring that obvious fumble on his last drive.

  2. jagsfanugh says: Sep 19, 2016 7:22 AM

    Bradley should be fired. What a joke of a team that played yesterday.

  3. therealtrenches says: Sep 19, 2016 7:31 AM

    The Saints have holes all over their roster *because* of their qb, his agent, and their gargantua-sized contracts, which seem designed for the specific purpose of consuming cap space like Rosie O Donnell at a hot dog stand on her cheat day.

  4. otistaylor89 says: Sep 19, 2016 7:32 AM

    There is too much talent on that Jags offense to be producing the points that they are – way too much talent.

  5. sullijo1 says: Sep 19, 2016 7:55 AM

    Malik Jackson has 2 tackles and no sacks in 2 games. I think 85 million might have been a bit too much to pay for that level of “production.”

  6. jaxbeachsurfshop says: Sep 19, 2016 7:59 AM

    Matt Patricia time in Jax.

    FIRE GUS THE BUST.

  7. sullijo1 says: Sep 19, 2016 8:01 AM

    Time to pump the brakes on the Oakland and KC bandwagons. Oakland is definitely better, but KC is awful – both could easily be 0-2. They don’t pass the eye test as a dominating team in any phase of the game. Denver walks with that division with a QB that has played 2 games. San Diego has looked good but the injuries on offense will be tough to overcome and they have played KC and Jax – not exactly powerhouses.

  8. crit76 says: Sep 19, 2016 8:09 AM

    Fire Gus Bradley and Todd Wash now!

    Promote Doug Marrone to Head Coach and Monte Kiffin to Defensive Coordinator. Let Marrone make further coaching changes as he sees necessary. If Shad Khan doesn’t do that today, expect another 4-5 win season this year!!!

  9. RegisHawk says: Sep 19, 2016 8:12 AM

    I’ve always suspected Dave Caldwell wasn’t supplying the best material for Gus Bradley to work with.

  10. swagjag says: Sep 19, 2016 8:18 AM

    I’m sure the Jags could turn it around if they threw more screen passes.

  11. fatguystrangler says: Sep 19, 2016 8:20 AM

    Rodgers is too busy swatting flies.

  12. dickshotdogs says: Sep 19, 2016 8:33 AM

    “The Jaguars are who we thought they were!”

  13. smarterthanpft says: Sep 19, 2016 8:44 AM

    Green Bay threw the game last night. The NFL asked them to lose intentionally because of the new stadium in Minnesota

  14. cheapseater says: Sep 19, 2016 8:51 AM

    “Although if you’re a Jaguars fan, maybe it is time to lose hope.”
    😦

  15. byHim4u says: Sep 19, 2016 8:52 AM

    There is too much talent on that Jags offense to be producing the points that they are – way too much talent.
    ————————————————————-

    Agreed! And it’s sad to see them not reaching their potential.

  16. Staticphear says: Sep 19, 2016 9:08 AM

    Mike Carey? No thanks. No answer is better than then the wrong answer.

  17. shackdelrio says: Sep 19, 2016 9:10 AM

    Bradley is one of the worst coaches in league history. Why Shad Khan did not fire him at the end of last season is beyond me.

    That decision has made this another lost season.

    The team has talent. But Bradley is a bonehead, who could not coach him way out of a paper bag.

    Twice yesterday, the Jags had Paul Posluszny covering Travis Benjamin and he got torched. How does that happen?

    Poor clock management, too many penalties, a defense that stops nobody, a turnover prone offense. All the hallmarks of a Bradley team.

    Khan needs to fire him today! I don’t even want to imagine how empty that stadium is going to be next weekend.

  18. nhpats says: Sep 19, 2016 9:13 AM

    After yesterday I believe we can all agree: The Seahawks stink!

  19. Rdog says: Sep 19, 2016 9:21 AM

    Why do people always complain about the refs missing calls for the losing team? Stop making excuses. If the Lions had won the game on the final drive instead of throwing an interception, the officiating issue would be much bigger, because Stafford fumbled and the Titans recovered, but no one even noticed it. But noooo, the Titans won, so obviously the games are rigged for the Titans, right? I mean, how else would they have so many wins over the past several years? Give me a break!!!

  20. charliecharger says: Sep 19, 2016 9:31 AM

    Just leave them alone. Jax is putting together a good young defense, and I think Bortles will be fine. They are still very young. Be patient. Bill Walsh started out 8-24 his first two years in San Francisco. The third year they won the super bowl. It takes time. Chuck Noll started slow in Pittsburgh, then won 4 super bowls. I am totally excited about the Jags’ future. They are building the right way.

  21. jags2daship says: Sep 19, 2016 9:38 AM

    As a hardcore Jags fan yesturday was disappointing to say the least. GUS BRADLEY IS GARBAGE

  22. 12brichandfamous says: Sep 19, 2016 10:00 AM

    Saints rebuilding with a Hall of Fame level QB is a problem.

    They have $40 M in cap space being paid to players no longer on the roster and $20M+ to an old player at the end of his career.

    40% of cap is tied up before hiring 52 other players. No wonder the talent level is so low.

  23. thebirdofprey says: Sep 19, 2016 10:02 AM

    I think its safe to say you are 100 % right on your assessment on Bradley. He was a great defensive coordinator in Seattle.

    I thought he lacked talent in Jacksonville. Now they have one of the most stacked offenses in NFL and high priced/high drafted defense and can’t win a game.

  24. stairwaytoharvin says: Sep 19, 2016 10:02 AM

    People loved to rag on Carey, but just because he didn’t predict the outcome of a replay doesn’t mean he was wrong. Prime example, everyone and their mother knew Boyd was down before the ball came out in the Steelers-Bengals game, but the call stood because Morelli is a horrible ref. Yet, if Carey was reviewing that play, said it would be overturned, and it stood, people would’ve lambasted him for being “wrong”.

  25. unbridledsexy says: Sep 19, 2016 10:12 AM

    If someone would let Alex Smith know that is indeed a football game next Sunday that he needs to show up for I would greatly appreciate it.

  26. jgedgar70 says: Sep 19, 2016 10:18 AM

    I thought I had seen too much in this world in 46-plus years of living to ever be shocked again. I was wrong.

    Gus Bradley has a lower winning percentage than Rich Kotite??????????????????????

  27. whodat101 says: Sep 19, 2016 10:46 AM

    That saints comment must meab you write about teams you don’t watch. They’ve list two games by 4pts. That’s a team that can’t finish not a rebuilding team. They played great defense all game and the saints didn’t capitalize on three turnovers, which is on Brees. Show me a rebuilding team that’s lost by last second field goals. #garbagewriting #talkingoutyourass

  28. backintheday99 says: Sep 19, 2016 11:02 AM

    Tom Coughlin. Full circle.

  29. goattoday says: Sep 19, 2016 11:10 AM

    I really believed the Jags would contend with the Texans for the AFC South with Titans 3rd, Colts last. So far so good on the Colts, Titans & Texans. Jags are a mystery.

  30. stevenr1227 says: Sep 19, 2016 11:14 AM

    Titans showed some grit yesterday, Cox was getting beat all day long and got ran over by Stafford lol, but he made the play to win the game. Titans D in 2 games only gave up one TD…Titan Up !!!

  31. jag1959 says: Sep 19, 2016 11:15 AM

    therealtrenches says:
    Sep 19, 2016 7:31 AM
    The Saints have holes all over their roster *because* of their qb, his agent, and their gargantua-sized contracts, which seem designed for the specific purpose of consuming cap space like Rosie O Donnell at a hot dog stand on her cheat day.
    __________________

    I am a Giants guy but that simply is not true and somehow it gets promulgated while their GM Mickey Loomis is let off the hook. Brees’ biggest cap hit was last season at $23.8M (the 3 years before that it was $10.4M, $17.4M & $18.4M) yet the team was carrying $34M in dead money last year. This year his hit is $17M but the team has $38M in dead money for guys that are no longer on the roster. THAT’S SEVENTY TWO MILLION DOLLARS OF DEAD MONEY IN TWO YEARS. More than they paid Brees in the last 4 years. Yet we keep hearing about Brees’ greed and Loomis still has a job. If this was happening in any of the top 25 media markets everyone would be talking about it and Loomis’ name would be a national punchline.

  32. jonwill57 says: Sep 19, 2016 11:20 AM

    Gus Bradley = anti-Rooney Rule…that’s why he got hired and that’s why he won’t be fired anytime soon.

  33. lunar2013 says: Sep 19, 2016 11:32 AM

    Something’s wrong with Aaron Rodgers. = Yeah, his footballs aren’t over-inflated. Deflategate affected Aaron’s game which was the opposite effect they wanted from that fiasco.

  34. MichaelEdits says: Sep 19, 2016 11:37 AM

    When? Never. The first step in the rebuilding project is to replace Gus Bradley.

  35. ezpkns34 says: Sep 19, 2016 11:51 AM

    “Bring back Mike Carey?”….it sounds like you just want them to have a ref to go to in those situations. That’s fine, but that doesn’t mean they have to rehire a guy who was awful

  36. ezpkns34 says: Sep 19, 2016 11:54 AM

    If Bradley is fired, he’ll certainly get his pick of D-coordinator positions, that’s for sure

  37. joefelicelli says: Sep 19, 2016 12:10 PM

    Coming from a huge Bears fan, there are many happy thoughts coming when I see the statistical decline of Rodgers over the last couple of seasons. But there is a very clear reason for that…actually 2 of them:

    1) Offensive line play. Rodgers is almost as badly protected as Cutler has been in Chicago. Hard to be an elite QB when you can’t set your feet and throw on 5 and 7 step drops on timing. Most of Rodgers’ big plays now are improvised scramble-throws.

    2) Play Calling. McCarthy is not looking like a very good coach. Whether he believes his own hype, or just isn’t as focused, he is hurting the Packers more than anyone else is. The only caveat here is that he might be trying to protect a declining player, but there is no logical reason for Rodgers to be declining. As a coach, your job is to put the team in the best situation to win. And believe me, after the last 25 years watching the Bears, I know exactly what it looks like to have bad coaching hurting the team.

    I love to see him struggle, but as usual, the QB gets all the blame as well as the credit. Rodgers is not as bad as he looks, but he also was not as good as he looked before the dropoff.

  38. logic4sale says: Sep 19, 2016 12:29 PM

    For Rodgers, the answer is simple. RUN THE BALL! Lacy is averaging 4.3 YPC yet has only seen 26 touches through 2 games. Go back two-three years ago when Rodgers, Jordy and Cobb were lighting it up and what is the X Factor? EDDIE LACY. McCarthy has to know this. I’m a nobody and I can see it.

  39. therealtrenches says: Sep 19, 2016 12:55 PM

    jag1959 says:
    Sep 19, 2016 11:15 AM
    therealtrenches says:
    Sep 19, 2016 7:31 AM
    The Saints have holes all over their roster *because* of their qb, his agent, and their gargantua-sized contracts, which seem designed for the specific purpose of consuming cap space like Rosie O Donnell at a hot dog stand on her cheat day.
    __________________

    I am a Giants guy but that simply is not true and somehow it gets promulgated while their GM Mickey Loomis is let off the hook. Brees’ biggest cap hit was last season at $23.8M (the 3 years before that it was $10.4M, $17.4M & $18.4M) yet the team was carrying $34M in dead money last year. This year his hit is $17M but the team has $38M in dead money for guys that are no longer on the roster. THAT’S SEVENTY TWO MILLION DOLLARS OF DEAD MONEY IN TWO YEARS. More than they paid Brees in the last 4 years. Yet we keep hearing about Brees’ greed and Loomis still has a job. If this was happening in any of the top 25 media markets everyone would be talking about it and Loomis’ name would be a national punchline.

    —————–

    You call facts myths, and then “promulgate” your own myths as facts.

    Drew Brees’s contract takes up the highest percentage of cap space in the NFL and it has for a few years now. Look it up.

    What’s more, the Saints currently only have 9 million in cap space.

    Of course Loomis is also to blame. I’m not defending him. But for years now, Brees’s contracts have given him a much narrower margin for error than other GMs. Why you would want to defend Brees is beyond me. The guy made his money. The idea that someone who is such a great guy would sign another cap crippling contract is astonishing. Meanwhile, Brady continues to restructure contracts to do what’s best for the team.

  40. laces out says: Sep 19, 2016 12:56 PM

    Shad Khan has handled the direction of his team the right way his entire tenure. I applaud him for being patient with his coach and didn’t jump the gun on a change last year since the team was still a work in progress and Bortles was improving.

    But now with added talent, Bradley’s ceiling is becoming clear and he can’t blame the rebuild much longer.

  41. xavier179 says: Sep 19, 2016 2:10 PM

    Its about time that the one man show in Green Bay started to shows signs of deterioration.

  42. binarymath says: Sep 19, 2016 2:42 PM

    Bradley is struggling, but he’s not replacing Rod “0-16” Marinelli, Kotite, John McKay, or Dave Shula at the bottom of the coaching barrel any time soon.

    He cannot (yet) match McKay or Marinelli’s perfect seasons, and I would put him behind Kotite and D. Shula in terms of career (lack of) achievement.

  43. iamedreed says: Sep 19, 2016 3:27 PM

    I am a Giants guy but that simply is not true and somehow it gets promulgated while their GM Mickey Loomis is let off the hook. Brees’ biggest cap hit was last season at $23.8M (the 3 years before that it was $10.4M, $17.4M & $18.4M) yet the team was carrying $34M in dead money last year. This year his hit is $17M but the team has $38M in dead money for guys that are no longer on the roster. THAT’S SEVENTY TWO MILLION DOLLARS OF DEAD MONEY IN TWO YEARS. More than they paid Brees in the last 4 years. Yet we keep hearing about Brees’ greed and Loomis still has a job. If this was happening in any of the top 25 media markets everyone would be talking about it and Loomis’ name would be a national punchline.
    ———————————————–

    your cap numbers for Brees are wrong- he averaged 20 million per season so you’re missing about 10M from those cap hits

    and his cap hit for 2016 is 24.25M

  44. chesswhileyouplaycheckers says: Sep 19, 2016 11:03 PM

    iamedreed says:
    Sep 19, 2016 3:27 PM
    your cap numbers for Brees are wrong- he averaged 20 million per season so you’re missing about 10M from those cap hits

    and his cap hit for 2016 is 24.25M
    ——————-

    Brees did not average $20M. The listed cap numbers are correct. He signed a 5 year deal for $100M but the $30M 5th year was just voided, so he saw $70M of that $100M. The value of his current deal is effectively $24.25 this year but his cap number is $17.25M. Those numbers can be verified at OTC and Spotrac

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