Gus Bradley had nearly everything a head coach could ask for: Patient owners familiar with the cutting edge of sports analysis, a general manager aggressive in acquiring talent yet patient with him, and a talented young quarterback he helped select with a No. 3 overall pick.
Yet after not quite four full season in Jacksonville, Bradley is 14-48 as a head coach. His winning percentage of .226 is the second-lowest in NFL history, per Pro Football Reference—behind only Bert Bell, who oversaw the Philadelphia Eagles in the runup to World War II.
The Jaguars' Week 15 loss to the Houston Texans was a microcosm of Bradley's time in Jacksonville: Flashes of great defensive play, some promising individual efforts, even a shining period where triumph seemed assured.
After a scoreless first quarter, the Jaguars drew first blood—and second and third, running up a 13-0 second-quarter lead. Then a rare holding penalty during a punt occurred in the worst possible place: The end zone, where it resulted in a bizarre safety for the Texans.
And those exact two points would eventually make up the Texans' margin of victory.
Texans quarterback Brock Osweiler, he of the rich free-agent contract, was benched for #DraftTwitter darling Tom Savage. Savage immediately got the Texans into scoring position; four straight Texans field goals were broken up by halftime and a 100-yard kickoff return for a touchdown by Jaguars wideout Marquise Lee:
But even that free touchdown wasn't enough for the Jags to hang on to victory. The Jags' bend-but-don't-break defense up until that point in the game did as it has done 11 other times this season: It broke. Savage and Texans tailback Lamar Miller combined to lead the go-ahead touchdown drive.
Despite getting two more possessions with which to answer, Jaguars quarterback Blake Bortles couldn't mount a credible threat. His day—and Bradley's tenure in Jacksonville—ended fittingly, with a moonball interception.
There's plenty of talent in Jacksonville, and a gifted offensive mind could even wring some decent play out of Bortles, who has all the tools. But Bradley's proven again and again that he's can't even build a winning defense, let alone a winning team.