No, the Jaguars aren’t tanking

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Every year, one or more teams will be pegged as potentially positioning themselves to be so bad that it ultimately will be good. This year, the Jaguars definitely are not one of those teams.

As coach Doug Marrone explained it on Monday, if the team stinks, he’ll be fired. Ditto for G.M. Dave Caldwell. Indeed, they both almost ended up out the door after the 2019 season. It’s possible that the promise and potential of sixth-round rookie Gardner Minshew last year prompted owner Shad Khan to give Marrone and Caldwell a year to show what they could do with Minshew as the Week One starter.

The latest spike in scuttlebutt regarding a potential tank job happened when the team waived running back Leonard Fournette on Monday, a move that was a long time coming. The trade that sent defensive end Yannick Ngakoue to Minnesota also isn’t evidence of tanking; Ngakoue didn’t want to play for the Jaguars, and Jacksonville got a second-round pick and another selection that could increase from a fifth-rounder to a third-rounder.

Although few have much faith in the current roster (not getting a public look in the preseason and first-rounders like cornerback C.J. Henderson and defensive end/linebacker K’Lavon Chaisson helps keep any buzz under control), the Jaguars are trying to win. More specifically, they’re trying to make chicken salad in the aftermath of three failed seasons of Tom Coughlin serving as executive V.P. of football operations.

Amazingly, few of the voices publicly dumping on the dysfunction in Jacksonville have mentioned the reality that, without Coughlin there, things could instantly improve. Ramsey wanted out after a post-game interaction with Coughlin, and things were so bad that the NFL Players Association warned players against signing with Jacksonville because of Coughlin, just days before he was fired.

It’s always good for an NFL team to enter a season with low expectations. In Jacksonville, they can’t get much lower. With Jay Gruden running an offense that may be a little more wide open when it comes to throwing the ball, Minshew could build on a solid rookie season and, when added to a defense with real potential, the Jaguars could change the “tanking” narrative, quickly.

48 responses to “No, the Jaguars aren’t tanking

  1. The Jacksonville Jaguars are a better team than people think, and they’re going to upset some teams this season.

  2. Coughlin took them to the AFC championship game in 2017. That was their only successful season in the past fifteen.

  3. it really doesn’t matter what the coach says he’s not making the personnel decisions, but if their GM is not tanking, then he’s just an idiot.

  4. Something bigger is going on in Duval. Their best CB wanted out, their best DE wanted out, their 1st round RB wanted out, who’s next?

  5. If they had some type of lottery system for the first pick, tanking wouldn’t be an issue. With Trevor Lawrence coming out, I would expect teams that never considered tanking in the past, to consider it this year. Lawrence will be the highest rated QB to ever get graded coming out of college. I’m not saying he’ll be the best QB ever, but he will receive the highest grades.

  6. Losing culture that results in three stars wanting out so bad?

    Yeah…they’re tanking. It’s not on purpose. It’s the product of the culture there. Marrone and Caldwell should have been shown the door when Coughlin was walked out.

    It’s not tanking by design. It’s tanking through negligence. Different method, similar result.

  7. Minshew had a good year but it was even more heavily dependent on Fournette than you’d think. Fournette called out protection schemes like Zeke does for Dak. At best the Jaguars are gonna win their way out of the Trevor Lawrence sweepstakes.

  8. When you look at the state of the teams in their division, and the moves those teams have made this offseason, it’s hard to come to the conclusion that the Jags aren’t tanking.

    A QB like Lawrence can rightly be seen as a potential savior, who can take the team out of the basement and potentially make the team a desired destination for free agents.

    But I feel for Lawrence. This isn’t Mahomes, coming to a team that was already a well-built playoff team. Or even Watson, going to a team with clear playoff readiness. This is a guy coming to the worst team in the league with barely any discernible identity or direction. It’s very easy to see his career being derailed before they achieve success.

  9. The Dolphins would like a re-do on all of the PFT articles from a year ago and through most of the season, based on this report.

  10. Not tanking? I don’t care what the reason is, name me 2 players on the Jags current roster that are better than the 2 that just left. Also, as far as an immediate improvement with Coughlin gone – what have the Jags done to earn that confidence? Coughlin won 2 Super Bowls as Head Coach with the Giants. In the Jags organization, he coached them to 2 AFC Championship games and GM’s them to their 3rd AFC Championship game. How many AFC Championship games have they been to? Puhleeeze. Tom Coughlin has always said that if you are 5 minutes early then you are on time to his meetings. To today’s Jag’s player – that being disrespected. You tell me where the problem is…

  11. The problem is the Jaguars weren’t a good team before Coughlin, and in his brief tumultuous stint they did have a year of success where they almost reached the Superbowl. Also there’s problems with the team that goes beyond Coughlin because Yannick still wanted off the team after he was gone and was uncompromising about it. Which hints at there’s either problems with Dave Caldwell, the Khans, or both

  12. How are we defining tanking exactly? The players and coaches are surely not intentionally trying to lose. But one could certainly argue that if these moves were “a long time coming” then the team put itself in a terrible roster position by its lack of action.
    They’re looking to the future, rather than trying to win now. Isn’t that basically what tanking is?

  13. It seems like Coughlin brought in some needed discipline but may have taken it too far. There’s a NYT article about how he had amassed 700,000$ in fines for minor stuff like sock color and missing yoga sessions. The team ended up cancelling those fines.

    He’s gone now, so I don’t think you can blame all this on him but he may have been part of the problem last year. I think he’s a hall of fame coach but that doesn’t mean he didn’t make some mistakes here.

  14. So many people underestimate the real value of the head coach.
    Belichick, Payton, Harbaugh, Reed, Carroll. Put one of those guys in there, and there is an immediate upgrade.

  15. This is textbook tanking.

    I’m wondering how the NFL feels about the likelihood of the most heralded QB to come out since 2012 going to a franchise that should have been contracted or relocated 20 years ago.

  16. Starts at the top. Kahn and Goodell are strategically setting up the Jags to move to London England. Why would anyone want to play for that organization?

  17. Have drafted some great talent over the last few years, only to end up trading them away. Seems that players want out of there after a few years, and they’re always starting over. Can’t win with Coughlin and Marrone. As for Minshew, nice moustache, but he’s not the answer.

  18. NinersFan1973 says:
    September 1, 2020 at 2:23 pm
    This is textbook tanking.

    I’m wondering how the NFL feels about the likelihood of the most heralded QB to come out since 2012 going to a franchise that should have been contracted or relocated 20 years ago.
    ___________________________

    Yeah, your right. They should have moved the 49ers to Mexico a long time ago.

  19. Caldwell is finally done taking out the trash. Now it’s time to trust the process florida football team fans.

  20. How can you 3 say “Team made a bunch of horrible trades but tanking isn’t one of the reasons because it means the coach and front office will be fired” as if we aren’t smart enough to ask if the people in charge of the team are making horrible decisions why keep them around?
    Truth is tanking occurs in the league, and it occurs by front offices making questionable moves like this. And of course you claim it doesn’t occur because you don’t address the issues. Hogwash.
    Why protect the league from tanking when other sports openly admit they do it as if the NFL is too good to do it? Hogwash.
    Is it out of the realm of possibilities to you three that the coach/GM don’t have a handshake agreement to tank this season and not get fired next year? We see through this.
    If you admit they are tanking who is hurt? Why you are, so this like a lot of your reporting is mistruths and hogwash. Do better

  21. If they make Minshew shave, then you know they’re Tanking for Trevor and/or Losing for London. Otherwise, Caldwell showed he knows how to put together a winning formula (2017), and now he’s working against the clock to replicate it.

  22. It sure LOOKS like they are tanking. Getting rid of their present talent in return for future assets like they did with Ramsey and Ngakoue is precisely what tanking is, sabotaging your present in hopes of a better future.

    Dumping Fournette for nothing in return is just flat out ridiculous tanking.

    Of course, for some teams tanking makes an awful lot of sense and the Jaguars seem to be one of those teams.

  23. iowanderingwonderer says:
    September 1, 2020 at 3:16 pm
    It sure LOOKS like they are tanking. Getting rid of their present talent in return for future assets like they did with Ramsey and Ngakoue is precisely what tanking is, sabotaging your present in hopes of a better future.

    Dumping Fournette for nothing in return is just flat out ridiculous tanking.

    Of course, for some teams tanking makes an awful lot of sense and the Jaguars seem to be one of those teams.
    ________________________________

    Mark Long of the Associate Press is saying the players were revolting and wanted Fournette gone.

  24. The problem with the accusation/term of “tanking” is that it implies that you understand motives for moving talented players.

    Ngakoue was so adamant about getting out that he took like 5 less million to go to the Vikings.

    Dumping Fournette I will bet you turns out to be TRULY (despite what the coach is admitting) is more about attitude and currently unknown possible behavioral/legal trouble than it is talent.

    Both of those moves free up $$ for the future, and the Ngakou trade produces draft picks.

    Plain and simple, at some point teams decide to shed themselves of expensive contracts (even if players are talented) in order to rebuild.

    I would argue the Jags are rebuilding. If you want to call that “tanking” – implying they are deliberately trying to lose) then go ahead, but it implies a motive you can’t prove.

    Not to mention NO NFL scout/coach/GM is as utterly STUPID as a fan who thinks “Let’s lose all our games so we can draft the highest rated QB next year.”

    That is just so mindlessly stupid, no NFL person thinks that way.

  25. All those Floridians jump to the team thats winning. All the Jax fans will abandon ship and be Tampa Bay fans cause of Tom Brady. Or the ones further south will watch Tua’s rise. They all jumped ship when Dan Marino left.

  26. At least the Sixers were honest when they were tanking…

    There is very little, if any, proof that NFL teams tank. There are countless examples where all a team has to do is lose a final game to get the No. 1 pick and they go out and win…

    Part of the reason that’s been the case is because rarely will one NFL player make such a significant difference that it’s worth destroying a season to get said player… The exceptions are when a player like John Elway, Peyton Manning or Andrew Luck, the ultra rare sure thing QB… A once in a decade type player and most believe Lawrence has the chance to be as good as the other guys listed…

    The Jags were favorites to be the worst team in the league before they got rid of Ngakoue and Fournette. These two moves just makes them the overwhelming favorites to get the No. 1 pick.

  27. “Every year, one or more teams will be pegged…”. I don’t think it means what you think it means.

  28. Coughlin took them to the AFC championship game in 2017. That was their only successful season in the past fifteen.

    And then signed Bortles to a big contract. Um is either still in the league?
    Also Tom was President not the coach

  29. Right…sure…they aren’t tanking, right…

    They’re one injury from signing my grandma to be their starting RB, but they aren’t tanking…

    By the way my grandma has been dead for 20 years

  30. “What exactly do the players allegedly have against Coughlin? Just curious”
    ____________

    It stems from an arbitration case the Jags lost to Dante Fowler. (I believe there were a couple other guys in the same boat but Fowler was the one that got all the attention.) Fowler was rehabbing on his own over the offseason, which the CBA specifically allows. Coughlin didn’t like that so he fined him $700,000 for skipping a bunch of “mandatory” offseason rehab appointments the team had setup. But, again, the CBA specifically allowed what Fowler was doing and also prohibits the team from making offseason appointments like that mandatory. No way this could have been a simple misreading of the rules because the CBA is very clear and Coughlin was clearly in the wrong on both fronts. Totally a jerk move by him.

  31. What is the next step beyond dumpster fire? Garbage truck inferno? Landfill nuclear armageddon? The jags are about to find out.

  32. 100% tank job. They want Lawrence and I don’t care what Marrone says. What’s he going to say, “oh yeah, we’re tanking”?

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