Some people are fans of the Jacksonville Jaguars. But many, many more people are NOT fans of the Jacksonville Jaguars. This 2022 Defector NFL team preview is for those in the latter group.
Your team: Jacksonville Jaguars.
Your 2021 record: 3-14, and I promise you that this team’s 1-15 season the year prior was more dignified. The 2021 Jaguars got dusted more often than a set of venetian blinds. Eleven of their losses came by double-digit margins. They opened their season with a loss to a Texans outfit that, right up until that moment, was the most embarrassing organization in the league. They lost to a Jets team that had 20 players out with COVID-19. They had a turnover differential of -20, seven worse than the next team. Their mascot nearly pulled an Owen Hart. They hired the Texans’ PR flack away from Houston only to watch her leave the NFL altogether at season’s end. They had an onside kick returned for a touchdown. Their No. 1 draft pick—the best QB prospect since Andrew Luck—got outplayed all season long by Mac Jones. I wanna fucking die. Aren’t these people professionals? How do you fuck up THIS badly? Who was in charge of this shit salad?
Oh. Right. Show the video.
Terrible video. I wasn’t even turned on by it, and I’m turned on by everything. That’s Urban Meyer, who suffers from a rare brain condition that causes rage blackouts, uncontrollable kicking spasms, and spontaneous dry humping. You might remember last preseason, when Urban had already disgraced himself by attempting to hire known racist Chris Doyle as his strength coach, and when he attempted to buff his halo one final time by inviting Tim Tebow’s promise ring to training camp to play tight end. Fortunately for you and me, that was only the BEGINNING of Urban’s disgraces. So many disgraces, I’m surprised he didn’t re-animate the corpse of Aaron Hernandez and send it on a five-state killing spree.
Let me try to recap Urban’s first season in Jacksonville, although I’m bound to miss a humiliation or six. He bailed on calling a QB sneak against the Titans because he said his quarterback wasn’t “comfortable” running that play, only to have that same QB immediately tell the press that he was perfectly comfortable with it. He insisted that he was playing players who hadn’t played at all. He benched the team’s best offensive player for fumbling and then had his assistant physically restrain that player from going back onto the field. He called all of his assistant coaches losers, even though A) career records indicate that’s untrue, and B) HE’S THE ONE WHO FUCKING HIRED THEM. He accused his own wideouts of running the wrong routes.
And that’s all of the minor shit. There’s more! The video clip up above was taken less than a full month into the season, when Urban skipped out on the plane ride home from Cincinnati—a game in which Jacksonville racked up a 14-0 lead and still lost—to bump-n-grind, golf-bro style, with a random woman at his own, shitty steakhouse. Urban then skipped out on a team meeting after that video was made public. Did my man resign in the wake of this scandal? Sorry, but only a loser, perhaps one of his quality control assistants, would surrender to the woke mob so meekly. Urban stayed on with the Jaguars, only to get fired a couple of months later after it came out that he had kicked his own kicker:
“It certainly wasn’t as hard as he could’ve done it, but it certainly wasn’t a love tap,” Lambo said. “Truthfully, I’d register it as a five (out of 10). Which in the workplace, I don’t care if it’s football or not, the boss can’t strike an employee. And for a second, I couldn’t believe it actually happened. Pardon my vulgarity, I said, ‘Don’t you ever f–king kick me again!’ And his response was, ‘I’m the head ball coach, I’ll kick you whenever the f–k I want.’”
I will shit out a pristine sushi dinner before I see an NFL head coach destroy his career with such quickness and vigor. But hey, Urban is gone now. Things can’t possibly get worse, even though the 2021 Jags just proved that they always can. Let’s see who the new guy in the barrel is…
Your coach: “WHO’S UP FOR A HOT DOG?!”
That’s former Eagles head coach Doug Pederson, who was out of work in 2021. Just enough time away from the league to watch the Eagles somehow prove themselves right in firing him. No head coach has ever won a Super Bowl with two different franchises, and this man won’t be the first. I could make so much money simply by betting on the Jaguars to not accomplish things.
Pederson’s hiring was the result of a search for Urban’s replacement that took so long that even Dan Snyder got impatient with it. The Jaguars were five seconds away from hiring Byron Leftwich as their head coach before Leftwich told them to go fuck themselves. Then they wanted to hire Kevin O’Connell, only they literally forgot to put in an interview request for him during the open playoff window. And so they had to settle for the least revered Super Bowl-winning coach since Brian Billick. In a way, Urban Meyer’s tenure was a blessing because it distracted the general public, along with God himself, from the Jaguars’ deficiencies in every other aspect. They won’t have that luxury with Picnic Dad at the helm, because look who’s still the GM:
That’s Trent Baaaaaaalke, whom Leftwich reportedly wanted shitcanned before he signed onto this ash heap. But Jags owner and car bumper impresario Shahid Khan was like MY PRECIOUS BAALKE and swatted back Leftwich’s ultimatum. Hence, this team is about to experience a reboot of the Doug Marrone era, only with less punting.
Your new offensive coordinator is quarterback development guru Press Taylor:
“In the quarterback room, when his errors were pointed out, (Carson) Wentz would sometimes make irrelevant excuses and Taylor wouldn’t correct him.”
Good thing the Jaguars don’t have their own highly drafted quarterback who’s already on the verge of permanent psychological ruin!
Your quarterback: Breckin Meyer: stud version.
That’s former Clemson superstar Trevor Lawrence, who stands as living proof that quarterbacks headed into the draft don’t pull an Eli Manning anywhere near enough. Going by PFF’s metrics, only five starting quarterbacks were worse than Trevor Lawrence a season ago. Daniel Jones wasn’t one of them. Taysom Hill wasn’t one of them, and Taysom Hill isn’t even a quarterback. You can write 2021 off as a fluke because it was Lawrence’s rookie season, but rookie QBs don’t get redshirt privileges anymore. You could also blame it all on Urban, but I once saw Aaron Rodgers win a Super Bowl with Mike McCarthy as his head coach.
I also saw, with my own eyes, Lawrence throw the ball last season with all the accuracy of a seven-year-old playing mini-golf. So you’ll excuse my lingering skepticism. The only cool thing I’ve seen Trevor Lawrence do lately is debunk a rumor that he blew his signing bonus on crypto and frankly, that was the one time I would have preferred that Barstool be right about something.
Your backup is CJ Beathard, who is still alive.
What’s new that sucks: Blessed with the No. 1 overall pick for the second consecutive year—here’s hoping for a third straight!—the Jaguars had a chance to draft one of the most heralded edge-rushing talents in draft history to play opposite Lawrence, giving them cornerstones on both sides of the ball for the next decade plus. Instead, they drafted Travon Walker.
The Jaguars also could have drafted an offensive tackle to fortify a line that was among the worst in football a year ago, but declined to take one in any round. Instead, they extended left turnstile Cam Robinson and signed perpetually injured guard Brandon Scherff away from the Commanders. Lawrence will have as much time to throw the ball as you do to make a connecting flight at O’Hare.
But Baalke wasn’t finished wheelin’ and dealin’ just yet. He also signed wideout Christian Kirk to a deal that even De Smith thought was a bit rich. Kirk is a brilliant wideout so long as you have two better wideouts playing above him. The Jaguars do not. What they DO have is a quickly aging Marvin Jones, bull tit Zay Jones, and former Giants pass-dropper Evan Engram. Also, running back Travis Etienne is back from injury just in time to get injured again. USFL defenses will be terrified.
Over on defense, Walker brings a whopping 9.5 collegiate sacks with him to the edge-rushing position. So formidable. Also, the Jaguars signed Darious Williams away from the Rams, presumably after interviewing him in the correct timeframe. I have nothing else to add.
What has always sucked: The nice thing about having the Jaguars around is that all of the other shitty franchises always have a worse team to point to.
“At least we’re not Jacksonville” should be on the crest of every other major American city. I could use this space to make the requisite jokes about Thursday Night Football, and London, and Limp Bizkit, and the Jaguars’ status as the most forgettable organization in North American pro sports outside of the Arizona Coyotes. But that’d be doing the Jaguars a favor, because they’re a metastasizing tumor of a franchise. Their fans get more excited for school resegregation than they do watching their team upset Buffalo. They never call the right play at the right moment. All of their draft picks go bust. And their home state Florida is a test lab for the Republican Party’s worst ambitions. Fuck Ron DeSantis with a rainbow flagpole.
Ratto says: Shahid Khan owns Fulham, which just returned to the Premier League for the third time in his ownership, which is to say Fulham has also been relegated three times in his ownership. His winning percentage with the Jags (.279) is better than his points percentage in Fulham’s three Prem seasons (.251), which means he is better with football than futbol. He is on the other hand very successful in the English Championship, which logically means he would dominate the SEC.
What might not suck: This is the team that inexplicably walloped the Colts in Week 17 and kept them out of the playoffs. All they have to do is play Carson Wentz every week and they’ll be solid.
HEAR IT FROM JAGUARS FANS!
Being a Jaguars fan is, without a doubt, one of the worst things in my life.
I went to Europe for my two-year COVID delayed honeymoon this summer. Had a blast until I went to the Tower of London and one of the guys there was wearing a Jags hat. Literally ruined the rest of my vacation.
I got a text from an old weed dealer’s roommate who I hadn’t spoken to in four years asking me if I could come on his podcast to talk about the Jaguars, presumably because I am the only person who can name more than two players on the team.
I got a Ramsey jersey and he left one month after the assurance period ended. I have de-stitched the letters and now have a blank #20 jersey.
I am moving to London next month and it will be fun to see an actually full stadium for one of their games.
Before last season I told a friend that there was like a 20% chance that Urban would be a good coach, 20% that he would be mediocre, and 60% that he would be a complete disaster. The man exceeded my expectations in all ways, showing his ass off and on the field. He can get fucked sideways, and I hope his wife cheats on him with the pool boy.
In 2014, at a sports bar in Oakland, I asked the bartender if they were going to show the Jags game. She asked me what sport that was. I hesitated for a second, shrugged, and responded, “Football?”
Doug Pederson isn’t fixing this with an ice cream party.
The Jaguars do not have a single player on their team that they drafted before 2017. As a reminder: between 2008 and 2017, the Jaguars drafted in the top 10 every single year.
2020 1st round pick: CJ Henderson, traded for a 3rd round pick one year later
2017 1st round pick: Leonard Fournette. Cut by Jags in 2021, signed by the Bucs and won a Super Bowl. Jaguars received no compensation.
2016 1st round pick: Jalen Ramsey: perennial all-pro, Super Bowl winner and likely HOFer – plays for the Rams.
2014 2nd round pick: Allen Robinson. Jaguars let walk as a free agent in 2018 and received no compensation, Robinson signed with the Bears, has been top 20 in WR receiving yards since then despite playing for the Bears. He has been better than any WR the Jaguars have had in the meantime.
2012 3rd round pick: Bryan Anger, a punter (!). Made his first Pro Bowl in 2021. With the Cowboys.
2010 1st round pick: Tyson Alualu, still in NFL and contributing as an defensive lineman. For the Steelers
2006 1st round pick: Marcedes Lewis: will tie the NFL all-time record for seasons played by a tight end in 2022. Has played the last four of those seasons for the Packers, in the process taking multiple trips to the NFC title game.
The Jaguars are a great team to follow if you enjoy watching players leave to have great success somewhere else.
Being a Jags fan as of late is akin to waiting in line for a roller coaster, and when you get to the front, the attendant says it’s closed for maintenance.
Trent Baalke is still here! The big brain behind hiring Jim Tomsula, Chip Kelly, and Urban Meyer is still running a football team! The Jags could have hired anyone to replace Urbs but they insisted that fucking Baalke had to be part of the package.
The greatest day of my preteen life was when Jacksonville was awarded an NFL franchise. But now they’re like the old boat ownership joke. The second best day of my life will be when they finally leave, once the city and its rubes have been bilked out of every last cent and are forced to convert to a Marlboro Miles-based economy.
Florida is a pyramid scheme. Jacksonville is the bottom level of that scheme.
Since Shad Khan took over in 2012, the Jags have had one season where they didn’t lose 10 or more games. His soccer team in London is the laughingstock of England. I was only mildly surprised to find out that the son, Tony Khan, lists on his Jaguars resume that he was a “National Merit Semifinalist” in high school and that he attended a high school where “his graduating class had the highest ACT average of any class.”
Baalke overpaid so much for a receiver that it shut down the free-agency market for a few days. He gave a $50 million contract to a left tackle that PFF grades as a bench player. The best explanation I’ve heard for the #1 draft pick is that Walker “got that dawg in him.”
If we win six games, it’ll be a miracle. Would be the first time in five years.
The summer before Covid. My dad and I finally went up to Canton to visit the Hall of Fame. The gift shop there had packs of cards for players from every team except for, you guessed it, the Jags. They had a little presentation about the Hall, and they ended it with some light trivia. If you got a question right they gave you a card of a player from your favorite team. I got one right, shamefully told them I was a Jags fan, and the two people doing it looked at each other and said, “Whoa! I don’t think we’ve ever had a Jags fan here!”
Last year’s Urban Meyer debacle should have been the final nail in the coffin of my fandom for this team. Instead my son convinced me to get Prowl Passes (basically season tickets without a specific seat) for his birthday. I’m a terrible father.
Maybe this will finally be the year where Goodell gets his wish for a London-based franchise & Khan moves the Jags from here for good, freeing my Sundays for more uplifting activities like heading west to a Matt Gaetz rally or walking around the Okefenokee Swamp wearing a cow carcass.
Like a fool, I told my family I would give up the Jaguars if they didn’t win 10 games in the 2017 season. Those fucking bastards did it. I hate them.
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