I watch a ridiculous amount of football. Most people who know me will confirm this fact. When I’m not watching football, I’m reading about football, thinking about football and looking forward to the next season even while the current season is in progress (a trait acquired by a lifetime of Philadelphia Eagles fandom). So, it should come as no surprise that these hours spent analyzing this game in my own head lead me to make certain declarations, many of which are ludicrous, but some eerily accurate. Today, I’m making one such declaration: The 2012 Jacksonville Jaguars are on pace to be the worst NFL team of my lifetime (dating back to 1979).
Before we get into the hard numbers, let’s take a look at some characteristics of the Jacksonville Jaguars. Say nothing of the fact that they’re remarkably (if not historically) awful on the field, they’re the Jacksonville Jaguars. The most maligned, oft-forgotten team in NFL history. The occasional bright spots in Jags history are completely overshadowed by a dated color scheme and godawful uniform situation. While the clothes may not always make the man, asking those men to take the field in the most Mid-1990′s of all Mid-1990′s uniforms should be punishable in a court of law. The 90′s were a terrible time for professional sports uniforms, but everyone for the Detroit Pistons and Toronto Raptors to the New England Patriots and Baltimore Ravens have managed to overcome their 90′s hangover and offer up redesigned uniforms… not the Jags. The Jacksonville Jaguars are the Toad the Wet Sprocket of the NFL. You remember them when someone mentions them, have a hard time remembering the songs, and they look/sound exactly like the era in which you first heard of them.
While some men have been bold enough to take up the charge of wearing the teal and gold, and some have actually been pretty good, the current crop of Jags fit perfectly into the general Jaguarism that surrounds them. Let’s take a look at Jacksonville’s depth chart:
Offensively, their number 1 and number 2 receivers are Cecil Shorts and Justin Blackmon. Until Maurice Jones-Drew returns, the ground game is being led by the completely underwhelming attack of Rashad Jennings, backed up by Jalen Parmele. I can’t claim to be a Jalen Parmele expert, but based on his career stats of 15 carries for 62 yards and no TDs, I’m not convinced that the Toledo standout will be breaking apart NFL defenses any time soon (note: Parmele’s yards per carry is a bit inflated when you factor out one particular carry which went for 26 yards).
Defensively, we see the lone, tiny bright spot in the Jaguars roster. Amidst a sea of “Who?” and “Oh, that guy?!” defensive superstars, we find Paul Posluszny and Russell Allen. Posluszny and Allen have each tallied 70 tackles this season, placing them at a tie for 12th in the league in total tackles. While such a nice start to the season from your linebackers corps should be a sign of pride for any team, when you consider that the two are responsible for almost 25% of ALL tackles recorded by the Jacksonville Jaguars, the otherwise impressive numbers begin to take a backseat to the general ineptitude of their surrounding teammates.
The surrealist nature of the Jacksonville franchise is far more understandable when you factor in their owner, Salvador Dali.
You can make any number of statements regarding the general ineptitude of the Jaguars. Statements such as “Blaine Gabbert would be on the practice squad for a quarter of teams in the NFL” or “At least a dozen NFL franchises have third-string WRs and/or RBs who would start in Jacksonville”. But opinions are just that, opinions.
So, how bad is this team, really? Let’s look at some Jacksonville Jaguars Fun Facts:
- The Jacksonville Jaguars have amassed a whopping 709 rushing yards through this season. To put that in perspective, if the Jacksonville Jaguars were a person, they would rank behind Adrian Peterson, Marshawn Lynch, Doug Martin, Alfred Morris, Arian Foster, Chris Johnson and Stevan Ridley in total rushing yards in the league. It should also be noted that the Jaguars, at this point, have played one more game than any of the men listed above them.
- Jacksonville has throttled defenses with a mighty TWO rushing scores through the first half of the season. Again, assuming that the entire Jacksonville offense is one person, Mr Jag would be behind men like Andrew Luck, Jackie Battle, Larod Stephens-Howling and Jamie Harper in total touchdowns this season. He would be tied with such first-ballot Hall of Famers as Jovorskie Lane, Shaun Draughn and Colin Kapernick. Yes, San Francisoco’s backup QB has been more effective running the ball than the Jacksonville Jaguars.
- An improving Blaine Gabbert has already doubled his ESPN Total QBR from last season. Blaine Gabbert’s current QBR is 41.3.
- Defensively, the Jacksonville Jaguars have forced six fumbles. Charles Tillman has forced seven.
- The Jacksonville Jaguars have fewer interceptions than Tim Jennings.
- JJ Watt has more sacks to his name this year than the entire Jacksonville defense.
- According to ESPN Stats, Pierre Garcon has one more defensive touchdown than the Jacksonville Jaguars.
- Prior to last night’s humiliation at the hands of the Indianapolis Colts, the Jacksonville Jaguars had outscored New York Giants’ kicker, Lawrence Tynes, by exactly fifteen points this season.
So, there you have it. Ice cold, inarguable facts which point to one of the worst statistical seasons a team has ever had, or is particularly capable of having. On top of that, with injuries plaguing the team every week, the best of the season may be behind the Jags. This team may, somehow, be on the downhill slide and looking to get worse, and without a single potential win left on the schedule (barring a potential win over Tennessee at home), there isn’t much light at the end of the big, teal tunnel.
Fortunately, the draft is ahead. Perhaps more fortunately, a move to Los Angeles complete with a total change of front office, player personnel and culture may likely be ahead. Congratulations, Jacksonville. You’re the best friend 31 other NFL teams have ever had.
My early condolences to Matt Barkley.