The Jacksonville Jaguars are setting a new standard for futility in the NFL. After another blow-out loss to the Indianapolis Colts, the Jags now have a +/- of -98 on the season, and it’s only week 5. They have become the NFL’s version of the Kareem Abdul-Jabbar sky-hook; they are the surest bet around. We know they’re going to produce bad football, and there’s nothing anyone can do to stop it. While the Jags may be the new standard for futility, the GOLD standard for futility in recent memory is still the 0-16, 2008 Lions. Although the Jags still have a long way to go if they want to wrestle such an honor away from the Lions, let compare and contrast the two teams at this point in their respective seasons.
The 2008 Lions put up 16.5 pts/gm through their first four games of the season. By no means were the Lions setting the world on fire offensively, but those numbers aren’t horrible. The Jaguars on the other hand have put up 31 points TOTAL through 4 four games, 7.75 pts/gm. That kind of offensive output is putrid. Both teams had to play two quarterbacks early in the season with the Lions playing Jon Kitna and Dan Orlovsky, and the Jaguars using Blaine Gabbert and Chad Henne. There are two schools of thought that can be assessed when looking at these two quarterback situations. First, for the Lions, how could you allow your quarterback options to be a fifth-round pick in Orlovsky, and an undrafted quarterback who got his start in NFL Europe? I know that great quarterbacks aren’t all first-round can’t miss guys. But there was serious roster mismanagement in Detroit. For the Jaguars, how could a team of professional talent evaluators miss so badly on Blaine Gabbert? He constantly looks like he has the ‘deer-in-the-headlights’ look, and if that look is gone after three years, it’s there to stay. The Lions were much more productive offensively, with lesser perceived talent at the quarterback position.
Both teams featured premiere players at their respective positions. Calvin Johnson had a dominant receiving season by any standard: 78 Rec, 1,331 Yds, and 12 TD. Maurice Jones-Drew has 57 Rush, 138 yds, 2.4 avg through 4 games. The Lions knew they had a star in the making, while the Jaguars see their star quickly fading. If you were MJD, would you risk another 250 carries on your body for this team…..? Didn’t think so.
The Jaguars only need 1 win to avoid the embarrassment of being placed in the same conversation as the 2008, 0-16, defeated Lions. But so far, they look worse to this point than those hapless Lions. The evidence is clear, but they still have 12 more opportunities to avoid NFL futility fame.