JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- It was ugly in Baltimore on Sunday, and it’s unlikely to get any prettier for the Jacksonville Jaguars this season.
The 40-14 loss to the Ravens at M&T Bank Stadium was the Jaguars’ 13th in a row, which tied the franchise record for most consecutive losses, set over the 2012 and 2013 seasons. With Chicago and a resurgent Mitch Trubisky coming to Jacksonville next week and the season finale in Indianapolis against the division-leading Colts, the Jaguars are staring at the worst season in franchise history.
A complete housecleaning should be expected when the season mercifully ends in two weeks.
Owner Shad Khan has already fired GM Dave Caldwell and it would be a surprise if head coach Doug Marrone and his staff aren’t let go shortly after the season as well -- or after a new GM is hired. Linebacker Myles Jack threw his support behind Marrone earlier in the week and made the point that Marrone didn’t get enough credit for the 2017 success and received too much blame for the debacles of the past three, but that’s unlikely to be enough to save his job.
The housecleaning might not stop there: A complete re-evaluation of the football part of the organization has to be done, from scouting to player personnel and strength and conditioning to equipment. What has happened in the past 13 years is unacceptable -- one winning season and 10 seasons with 10 or more losses since a playoff appearance in 2007 -- and since it spans three GMs and four head coaches (not counting 2011 interim coach Mel Tucker), it’s a complete organizational failure.
It has been a mess in Jacksonville for a long time, but the 2020 season has set a new low for a franchise that has had more than its share.
Describe the game in two words: Lamar Jackson. But not for the reason you might think. The last time these teams met was three years ago in London, the Jaguars won 44-7. That was the season the Ravens decided to make plans for the future at QB and drafted Jackson the following spring. The Jaguars, however, re-signed Blake Bortles and bypassed Jackson and instead drafted DT Taven Bryan, who has been a major disappointment and earlier this season lost his starting job to undrafted rookie Doug Costin.
Troubling trend: The Ravens sacked QB Gardner Minshew five times on Sunday and not all of the blame belongs on the offensive line. One of the criticisms of Minshew is he sometimes leaves the pocket too early, plus he looks uncomfortable and unwilling to trust what he sees at times and make the throw. So this can’t be coincidence: The Jaguars have given up 28 sacks in the eight games in which Minshew has started and only nine in the six games in which Jake Luton and Mike Glennon have started.
Biggest hole in the game plan: Ravens were down two of their top three cornerbacks in Marcus Peters and Jimmy Smith and three of the five that were active were listed as questionable on the game status report because of injuries. But the Jaguars were unable to attack that weakness in the first half. Minshew completed 8-of-11 passes but for only 53 yards and was sacked four times. The goal each week is to get James Robinson going, but the Ravens’ defensive game plan clearly was to shut down Robinson, who managed just 18 yards on nine first-half carries, and make Minshew beat them. Minshew didn’t have success until the second half, when the outcome was no longer in any doubt.