JACKSONVILLE. Fla (AP) — The Jacksonville Jaguars are guaranteed another losing season, their ninth in the past 10 years.
The Jaguars (1-9) locked up their latest sub-.500 record with a 27-3 drubbing at the hands of unbeaten Pittsburgh on Sunday. It was Jacksonville’s ninth consecutive loss — fifth by double digits — and the 100th in nine seasons for owner Shad Khan.
Everyone is waiting for Khan to make the expected move of firing general manager Dave Caldwell and/or coach Doug Marrone, the first step in a much-needed overhaul that would signal a new direction after a decade of dysfunction.
A new regime would undoubtedly address the team’s quarterback situation with a draft pick that’s looking more and more like it will be No. 2 overall, behind the winless New York Jets.
So there’s hope (once again) for the Jaguars, who host Cleveland (7-3) on Sunday.
And as bad as football in Jacksonville has been in recent years, it could be worse. The Browns had a losing record 16 times in 17 years (2003-19) before breaking through this season behind quarterback Baker Mayfield.
Detroit, the St. Louis/Los Angeles Rams and the Oakland Raiders endured similar pain in the past two decades before finding success. The Lions had 10 straight losing seasons (2001-10), including a winless one. The Rams did the same between 2007 and 2016. The Raiders posted a losing record 11 times in 13 years between 2003 and 2015.
Finding a quarterback played a role in each team’s turnaround.
Marrone knows he hasn't had the right guy in Jacksonville, whether it was Blake Bortles, Cody Kessler, Nick Foles, Gardner Minshew or current rookie starter Jake Luton, who threw four interceptions against the Steelers.
Marrone appears resigned to his expected fate. He talks weekly about his players sticking together and not pointing fingers or giving up.
“You can control practice times. You can control scheduling. You can control a lot of things. But you cannot control the heart and the soul of what goes on in that locker room,” Marrone said. “And it’s such a fragile part of what we do as coaches and players. … I believe this team has it and I think that whatever happens in the future, these types of situations, they’ll put a callous on some guys.”
Marrone is 24-37 in three-plus seasons in Jacksonville, including losses in 15 of his past 18 games. Eleven of those 15 have been by double digits.
“At the end of the day, I’m going to have to look in the mirror and say, ‘OK, have I done everything I possibly can? Have I exhausted every avenue? Have I motivated to the best of my ability? Have I kept everything together?’” Marrone said.
“I’m not going to say that’s a win; that’s part of my job, that’s my responsibility. And that’s one I take a lot of pride in. And I haven’t always been able to do that. You guys know about the past, so I haven’t been able to keep things together at times. But I feel like I owe these guys everything that I have. That’s just how I feel.”
Not much besides running back James Robinson, who has been the team’s best player all season. He is the NFL’s first undrafted rookie to top 1,000 yards from scrimmage through his first 10 games. He has 762 yards rushing and 249 receiving.
WHAT NEEDS HELP
Jacksonville ranks last in the NFL with nine sacks and will be without 2019 Pro Bowl pass rusher Josh Allen for several games because of a left knee injury. The Jaguars were in a D-line hole to start the year because of trades (Yannick Ngakoue, Calais Campbell), injuries (Rodney Gunter, Dontavius Russell) and opt outs (Lerentee McCray, Al Woods).
Rookies DaVon Hamilton, K’Lavon Chaisson and Doug Costin have been solid despite not getting sacks.
Middle linebacker Joe Schobert had a season-high 13 tackles against the Steelers and will now face his former team, Cleveland. Schobert spent his first four years with the Browns.
Offensive tackles Cam Robinson and Jawaan Taylor were no match for Pittsburgh’s Bud Dupree and T.J. Watt, leaving little time for Luton in the pocket.
Rookie safety Daniel Thomas (arm) is headed to injured reserve. Allen, cornerback D.J. Hayden (knee) and guard Andrew Norwell (arm) will miss multiple games, Marrone said. Rookie cornerback Chris Claybrooks (groin) also could miss time, further depleting a position that’s already without starter CJ Henderson.
9 — number of consecutive games Jacksonville has with at least one turnover, coinciding with its losing streak.
Browns safety Ronnie Harrison gets his turn on Jacksonville’s Revenge Tour, looking for a win like Green Bay tight end Marcedes Lewis and Steelers defensive lineman Tyson Alualu enjoyed the previous two weeks.
More AP NFL: https://apnews.com/NFL and https://twitter.com/AP_NFL