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Khan: Jags’ 1-5 finish ‘an organizational failure’

todayJune 30, 2024 11

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    Michael DiRocco, ESPN Staff WriterJun 26, 2024, 08:07 PM ET

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      Michael DiRocco is an NFL reporter at ESPN. DiRocco covers the Jacksonville Jaguars. He previously covered the University of Florida for over a decade for ESPN.com and Florida Times-Union. DiRocco graduated from Jacksonville University and is a multiple APSE award winner. You can follow DiRocco on Twitter at @ESPNdirocco.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — The Jacksonville Jaguars‘ late-season collapse in 2023 still bothers owner Shad Khan.

So much so that when asked about it on Wednesday he called the 1-5 finish that cost the Jaguars an AFC South division title and playoff spot an organizational failure.

“You fail as an organization,” Khan said after a news conference alongside Jacksonville Mayor Donna Deegan to celebrate the agreement between the Jaguars and the city on a $1.4 billion stadium renovation project. “I look at it as an organizational failure.

“… When we talk to the players — Trevor [Lawrence], Josh [Allen], all of these players I talked to — it’s like, ‘How could this happen?'”

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There were multiple reasons for the stumble after an 8-3 start. Among the most problematic were:

Too many injuries, especially to receivers Christian Kirk (groin) and Zay Jones (knee) and Lawrence (ankle, shoulder, concussion). Ten starters or key players missed a combined 48 games.

The run game struggled. The Jaguars had the second-most runs in the league that went for no gain or a loss (120), and a league-high 26.5% of their rushes either gained 0 yards or lost yardage.

Defensive issues, most notably missed tackles (126, the fourth most in the league, per Pro Football Reference) and a stark decline in stopping the run (they gave up 44.4 more yards per game on the ground in the final six weeks than they did in the first 12).

The only game the Jaguars won in the final six weeks came against the Carolina Panthers, a 26-0 shutout in which Lawrence missed the only game of his three-year career because of a shoulder injury. Jacksonville lost to Tennessee 28-20 in the regular-season finale after failing to get into the end zone on consecutive downs from the 1-yard line with seven minutes to play and receiver Calvin Ridley dropping what could have been a touchdown pass with two minutes to play.

So even though the Jaguars finished with a winning record (9-8) for the second season in a row — something the franchise hadn’t accomplished since 2004-05 — the season was a massive disappointment that still bothers Khan nearly six months later.

“Not to be able to win two out of the last six games, it still stings,” Khan said. “Even though the season’s over, it’s like I still can’t believe we couldn’t do it.”

But recalling the collapse couldn’t bring Khan down on the day after the Jacksonville city council voted 14-1 to approve an agreement between the team and city on a $1.4 billion renovation of EverBank Stadium.

The deal brings the Jaguars one step closer to securing the long-term stability of the franchise, with the final hurdle getting the agreement approved by 24 of the NFL’s 32 owners at the league’s meetings in October in Atlanta.

The Jaguars and the city have agreed to each contribute $625 million to the renovation, but the city also has agreed to pay $150 million over the next two seasons on maintenance and repairs to prepare the stadium for construction. That means the city will be responsible for 55% of the total cost.

“A lot has changed from the inaugural season for the Weavers [original owners Wayne and Delores] in 1995, to my first year in 2012, right through to today as we prepare to celebrate the Jaguars’ 30th anniversary in the NFL,” Khan said. “But there’s been one constant throughout: Everyone wants to doubt Jacksonville. As of last night, that should no longer be the case. Not a good day for the Doubting Thomases.”

Said Deegan, a Jacksonville native: “I hope you all believe now.”

Written by: Ag Entertainment

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