After the Miami Dolphins dumped Joe Philbin could Jacksonville be the next from the Sunshine State to do so with Gus Bradley? Let's examine Bradley's future with the downtrodden team.
London Calling .... Bad For Bradley
The Jaguars do have some good young talent and a potential franchise quarterback in Blake Bortles, last year's No. 3 overall pick. But there's no doubt that ownership and the front office wanted to see a step forward this season. The Jags were 4-12 in Bradley's first season in 2013 and then 3-13 last year. That earned Jacksonville the No. 3 overall pick again for the 2015 draft and the team took University of Florida defensive end Dante Fowler to solve the pass-rushing problem. Alas, Fowler tore his ACL on his first-ever practice with the Jaguars back in May and won't play this year. This team just can't catch a break.
Jacksonville enters Sunday's 9:30 a.m. ET time game at London's Wembley Stadium -- which will be live streamed for free over Yahoo, an NFL first -- at 1-5 and a loser of four straight. That lone win was in Week 2 over Miami on a 28-yard field goal with 40 seconds left. Jacksonville has the worst point differential in the NFL at minus-63 and sportsbooks expect the team to be 1-6 after Sunday as the Jags are 6-point underdogs on NFL picks against Buffalo.
That the Jaguars are playing in London should worry Bradley (8-30 overall). Philbin was fired after a Week 4 loss in London to the New York Jets. The first coach fired in 2014 was Oakland's Dennis Allen. He was let go following a Week 4 loss to the Dolphins in London. So ... a Florida team in London and a coach on the hot seat. Hmmm. Plus if you are going to fire a coach, you do it on the bye week so the interim guy has a chance to make his changes, and the Jags are on the bye next week.
Get that resume ready Gus!
Jags Likely To Look Offense
Bradley previously was Seattle's defensive coordinator and was hired in January 2013 by the Jaguars to become the organization's fourth head coach since 1995. The Eagles also had shown interest in Bradley before they hired Chip Kelly from Oregon. But the Bradley hiring was a surprise to many because multiple reports had Jaguars GM David Caldwell pursuing then-49ers offensive coordinator Greg Roman. He is now in the same role, ironically, with Buffalo.
And if you look at the modern-day NFL, it's an offensive league. Most recent head coaches hired have offensive backgrounds. So Bradley perhaps wasn't the right call. Plus the Jaguars need a guy to tutor their franchise player in Bortles. Jacksonville has some other good young players on offense in rookie running back T.Y. Yeldon and receivers Allen Robinson and Allen Hurns. Potentially also receivers Marqise Lee and Rashad Greene. The Jags are looking at another Top-5 pick in the 2016 draft. They are probably the favorites right now on NFL odds to get the No. 1 pick.
What an offensive mind also would do is energize a rather apathetic fan base -- there's a reason the Jaguars don't mind giving up a home game each year to play in London. Many believe the team might eventually move there when the NFL decides it wants a full-time team overseas and can make the logistics work.
Barring a huge turnaround, I don't see Bradley back next season -- he is the +350 favorite on NFL odds at Bovada to be the next coach fired. I also don't expect the Jaguars to make a change during the year. Bradley no doubt would land on his feet as a defensive coordinator somewhere.
So who might the Jaguars target to replace Bradley? Roman is still a possibility depending on how the Bills' offense shakes out the rest of the way. Roman seemingly has turned Tyrod Taylor into a solid NFL starting quarterback, although Taylor is questionable to play this week vs. the Jags after missing Week 6. Roman also has strong ties to Caldwell as he was his college roommate and teammate at John Carroll University.
The Jags could hire from within and promote assistant to the head coach/offensive line coach Doug Marrone. He spent two years as Buffalo's head coach and the Bills were 9-7 under him in 2014. But Marrone strangely took an opt-out clause in his contract to become essentially a free agent. That gamble backfired considering he never got a look as a head coach anywhere.
Were the Jaguars ready to spend big money, the Saints' Sean Payton could become available and he would be a home-run hire. However, Miami might have eyes on Payton and the Dolphins would throw $8 million a year at Payton. The Jaguars don't have a history of doing that. Two other current NFL offensive coordinators, Chicago's Adam Gase and Atlanta's Kyle Shanahan, also could be possibilities.