JACKSONVILLE, Fla. If a 40-point drubbing at New England didn’t get Jacksonville owner Shad Khan’s full attention, then what’s being planned for the team’s season finale just might.
Frustrated fans are revolting against the Jaguars and have Khan in their crosshairs.
Hundreds, if not thousands, have changed their social media profile pics to a clown donning Khan’s signature moustache. And they’ve started replying to every Jaguars post or live feed with countless clown emojis.
Next up: They’re planning to don clown costumes — red rubber noses, face paint and colourful wigs at the very least — when the 2-14 Jaguars host 9-7 Indianapolis at TIAA Bank Field on Sunday.
The goal is to persuade Khan to fire general manager Trent Baalke, whose reputation and repeated mistakes have been under the microscope since NFL Network reported that Baalke would be retained in 2022 and assist in the team’s coaching search.
Dallas defensive co-ordinator Dan Quinn, Green Bay offensive co-ordinator Nate Hackett and Tampa Bay offensive co-ordinator Byron Leftwich reportedly declined to interview with the Jaguars during the final two weeks of the regular season, leaving many to wonder whether Baalke’s presence was an issue.
Baalke’s resumé includes three consecutive NFC championship games with San Francisco (2011-13) and reports that he was a problem behind the scenes while working with ex-NFL coaches Jim Harbaugh (2011-14), Jim Tomsula (2015), Chip Kelly (2016) and most recently Urban Meyer (2021).
Baalke inherited a Jaguars team that had the No. 1 draft pick (quarterback Trevor Lawrence), five of the first 65 selections and about $100 million (U.S.) in salary-cap space. Somehow Jacksonville got worse, arguably a bigger laughingstock than it’s been at any other point during Khan’s decade of dysfunction as owner.
Khan fired Meyer on Dec. 16. In the three games since, the Jaguars have been outplayed by equally woeful Houston and the New York Jets, then thoroughly embarrassed in a 50-10 loss at the Patriots on Sunday.
It was just four years ago Jacksonville and New England met in the AFC title game, with the Patriots eking out a 24-20 victory after trailing by 10 in the fourth quarter. The Jaguars are 14-50 since and have parted with nearly every starter from that team. The Pats are 40-25 over the same span, with two Super Bowl appearances and are now returning to the playoffs for a third time.
“I haven’t been around the NFL long, so I really still don’t even know how everything completely works, but I’m just trusting who is in leadership positions,” Lawrence said. “At the end of the day, my job is to be a quarterback and to lead this team. I can only do so much, and that’s what I’m going to do.
“Other than that, I’m just going to put my head down, go to work, and I have faith that we are going to come out in a way better spot next year than we are right now. I 100 per cent believe that, and I’m just looking forward to doing that because a lot of these guys deserve it.”
The Jaguars have lost eight consecutive games and will end the season with a 17-game skid on the road and 16-game slide against NFC opponents.
They have dropped 10 straight against AFC South foes, a streak that could reach 11 with a loss to the Colts — with potentially thousands of clown-clad fans in the stands.
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