Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Jaguars as bad as it gets

Squad worse than '95 expansion team

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Don't say the Jacksonville Jaguars are starting from scratch, because that's an insult to a team of the same name that actually did start from scratch.

Chances are, those 1995 Jaguars would beat this bunch, which is quite possibly the worst team in NFL history.

Jacksonville has lost it first seven games by an average of nearly 21 points -- double-figure margins in all of them, and a differential of epic proportions if it holds up over a full season.

According to STATS LLC, the only team to fare worse was something known as a Chi-Pit Cards-Steelers, a 1944 amalgamation of two franchises that didn't enough players to field teams of their own because of World War II. They went 0-10, losing by an average margin of 22 points.

The Jaguars can't blame a war for their problems.

They've done this all by themselves.

Bad trades. Horrendous draft picks. Ill-advised signings.

Throw it together, and you're left with a franchise that doesn't even stack up to the expansion team I covered back in '95.

Those Jaguars, as expected, weren't very good. But they went 4-12, a record this group would be thrilled to achieve, and established the framework for a surprising run to the AFC championship game the very next year. That team's quarterback was a young Mark Brunell, who would go on to a long career in the league. These Jags have Blaine Gabbert, who looks like something out of The Walking Dead.

There's no chance of Jacksonville making the playoffs this year or next. Team officials have made it clear this is merely the start of a total makeover that will take a minimum of three seasons to complete.

Rest assured, Gabbert will not be part of that plan. The 10th overall pick in the 2011 draft has already proven to be a colossal bust, his one touchdown pass this season countered by seven interceptions.

Journeyman Chad Henne isn't much better, but he'll start Sunday in London when the Jaguars take what is likely to be their eighth straight whipping at the hands of defending NFC champion San Francisco.

As if all that eavesdropping wasn't bad enough, now we're about to impose the Jaguars on one of our European allies.

Yikes.

"Obviously, if you're a Jaguars fan, you want to do better," team owner Shad Khan told The Florida Times-Union in Britain this week. "But we know the process we started, which is pretty much starting from the ground up, cleaning house and doing something we probably should have started earlier."

Rubbing salt in the wounds, the Web site PredictionMachine.com recently ran a series of simulated games between the current and expansion Jaguars, which found the '95 squad won more than 60 per cent of the time by an average score of 19-14.

-- The Associated Press

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition October 26, 2013 C5

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