Jags routed by another former coach in 36-22 loss to Titans
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Gus Bradley isn’t worried at all about his job security as coach of the Jacksonville Jaguars.
His quarterback Blake Bortles says he doesn’t think about that topic.
Yet, being routed by a pair of former Jaguars coaches in the span of five days can’t be very helpful to Bradley’s future in Jacksonville, and some of his other players are concerned.
After Jack Del Rio and his Oakland Raiders beat the Jaguars in Jacksonville 33-16 on Sunday, the Tennessee Titans and Mike Mularkey — the coach owner Shad Khan fired after one season — embarrassed the Jaguars 36-22 on Thursday night in a game where their play matched the flat mustard of their uniforms.
“I’m not making any excuses,” Bradley said. “It was bad.”
This loss dropped Bradley’s record in four seasons to 14-41, and he already came in with the second worst winning percentage for any coach in NFL history with at least 50 games of experience. Only Bert Bell (Philadelphia, Pittsburgh) fared worse, and he also was the owner.
The Jaguars melted down so much late in their loss to the Raiders that Khan reportedly spoke to the Jaguars on Monday trying to learn what has gone wrong after he spent millions upgrading both the roster and their home stadium. Khan made it clear earlier this year that a winning record was the “reasonable expectation.”
Bradley said the session with Khan went about an hour.
Jacksonville already has had its bye earlier this month, and this will be the last time the Jaguars (2-5) have more than a week between games the rest of this season if Khan decides he can’t wait to make a coaching change. Asked if he expects to still be the coach when the Jaguars visit Kansas City on Nov. 6, Bradley said he does.
“I worry about this team and why did we perform like that in the first half and figuring out OK, how can we get it right?” Bradley said.
Bortles said he knows the NFL is a business. But he said the coach wasn’t the person committing penalties, turning the ball over or not making plays.
“Somebody’s got to take the blame eventually, I get that,” Bortles said.
Wide receiver Allen Hurns said he is worried about Bradley being fired.
“No matter what it is, you try not to listen to it or let it get to you, but it’s kind of impossible now,” Hurns said. “Hopefully they just stick it out with him.”
As ugly as that loss to Oakland was, the Jaguars looked even worse against the Titans.
Tennessee nearly had more points (24) than the Jaguars had total offense (29) late in the second quarter. The Jaguars did have more personal foul penalties (two) than first downs (one), and they even had the ball go off the back of Arrelious Benn’s helmet when he drew a penalty for interfering with Marc Mariani trying to catch a punt.
Jacksonville rarely threatened Marcus Mariota. He had plenty of time to throw most of the night, and he found Titans running wide-open over and over again. By halftime, Tennessee had outgained the Jaguars 354-60 and led 27-0.
“The first half was inexcusable,” Bradley said. “We didn’t come out to play. I don’t know what the answer is. Do we play with some anxiety? Yeah, I can say I felt like we pressed too much. ... There’s not a lot to be said, but it wasn’t good enough obviously.”
Bortles struggled to find time to throw against Tennessee’s pass rush. He even bounced one pass after Bradley gave him a vote of confidence early this week, saying: “I firmly, firmly believe in Blake Bortles, without a doubt.”
But the Jaguars’ run game was so poor that Bortles also led them in rushing with 11 yards on two carries through three quarters. He finally helped Jacksonville avoid being shut out when he found Julius Thomas for a 10-yard touchdown pass in the third quarter. Bortles added a two more TDs in the final 3:11 to make the final margin more respectable.
“It’s a broken record,” Bortles said. “It’s a lack of execution, it’s dumb mistakes. The same stuff every week.”
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