OK, it's time to explore the seemingly endless offering of theories and explanations for the Jaguars' collapse. The list has been compiled; the homework has been done. Here's 10 popular reasons the Jaguars are 2-5.
- Jags need an offensive coordinator--Well, they already have one, but he's the head coach and Jags fans are overwhelming in their agreement that two men are needed for two jobs. ESPN's Joe Theismann advanced the opinion that Mark Brunell needs someone with whom he may speak while on the sideline, and the fans jumped on Theismann's theory as though it was an out-route. In rebuttal, consider this: The Jaguars have 16 coaches. Will another one really make a difference? Anyhow, it's a good bet Tom Coughlin will hire or appoint an offensive coordinator during the offseason, so, the fans will get their way, but the new guy may be talking to someone other than Brunell next season.
- The play-calling is too conservative--What? Are you crazy? The Jaguars lead the league in pass attempts. They're 54 passes above the league average. St. Louis, considered to be the most wide open team in the league, is considerably beneath the Jaguars' average per game. This theory holds absolutely no water.
- Injuries have hurt--No question; the Jaguars have suffered injuries to key personnel. Leon Searcy and Carnell Lake are two players this team could not afford to lose.
- Chemistry is bad--Yeah, but the Jags have good physics. Give me a break. Have you ever seen a losing team that had good chemistry? Or a winning team that had bad chemistry? In 1996, on the day Andre Rison was cut, the atmosphere in the Jaguars locker room was frighteningly tense. Every media person in that locker room that day believed the Jaguars were finished and Coughlin's job was in jeopardy. Six days later, they began a seven-game winning streak that carried them to the AFC title game. Forget the chemistry theory.
- Maybe they're not as talented as we think--Maybe you're right. Consider the lineup the Jaguars have put on the field the last few weeks. Do you think opponents have seen things on tape they believed they could exploit, and have exploited? The draft has not yielded enough players for us to consider the Jaguars to be a stocked team.
- The schedule is significantly tougher than last season's--Bingo. The schedule is stronger and the Jaguars are weaker, and that's a bad combination.
- Brunell can't play anymore--He's not the runner he used to be, and that's all Jacksonville fans seem to remember about Brunell; how he ran like a wizard through the Denver secondary in the '96 playoffs. However, he's probably a better passer now than he's ever been, and if the Jaguars decide in the offseason that they can't live with Brunell's big contract, every on-the-verge team in the league who needs a quarterback will throw big bucks at Brunell. See 8. for the reason Brunell's passer rating is down.
- The offensive line stinks--These guys are really trying, but four starters from last season are gone and the Jaguars are left with a rookie at left guard, journeymen at center and right guard, and a right guard at right tackle. Is it any wonder Brunell is on pace to be sacked more times than any quarterback in NFL history? Has there ever been a quarterback who's led the league in sacks and passer rating? Of course not.
- Success has its price--Yeah, and the price is losing. The more you win, the more your salary cap is eaten up. The higher you finish in the standings, the lower you fall in the draft order. Decline is inevitable.
- No fly-overs--Now you've got it. This season was doomed on the day of the home-opener, when bad weather cancelled a scheduled fly-over. How you gonna win without a fly-over? The Jaguars have fly-overs scheduled for each of the next two home games, but it may be too late.
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