Jaguars locked into franchise's worst season


Jaguars locked into franchise's worst season

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (AP) There's nothing the Jacksonville Jaguars can do to prevent the worst season in franchise history.

It's on coach Mike Mularkey's resume now.

It also could lead to his ouster, along with general manager Gene Smith.

The Jaguars (2-12) clinched their spot in history with a 24-3 loss at Miami on Sunday, the team's seventh defeat by 16 points or more this season.

Not even Jacksonville's inaugural team in 1995 - a group comprised of mostly rookies and street free agents - was overmatched as often. Coach Tom Coughlin's rag-tag bunch finished 4-12 back then, losing four games by at least 16 points. The 4-12 record is the worst in franchise history.

The Jaguars would have to win out to get that many victories in 2012. More likely is another lopsided loss Sunday when New England (10-4) brings the league's most prolific offense to town.

``No one thought we'd be in this situation with only having two wins this late in the year,'' linebacker Paul Posluszny said Monday. ``I think we have too many guys who can make plays and do things the right way. But for whatever reason, we haven't been able to bring it all together to win.''

The Jaguars have dropped 10 of their last 11 games, setting the stage for changes under first-year owner Shad Khan.

Smith, the team's architect the last four seasons, is likely gone. Jacksonville is 22-40 during Smith's tenure, failing to draft or acquire a single Pro Bowl player. He seemingly whiffed with defensive tackle Tyson Alualu in 2010 and quarterback Blaine Gabbert in 2011.

Former owner Wayne Weaver convinced Khan to keep Smith last year, and Khan allowed Smith to lead the search for a new coaching staff. So Smith was the one who suggested Mularkey and was the driving force behind decisions to keep several assistants from the previous regime.

All of them could be gone in two weeks.

``Like I said to the players, if you do everything the right way and you do it the best you can, you'll be successful here and wherever else that will be,'' Mularkey said. ``That's the only thing I will go by or anybody else that's going to be in this building is going to go by. We're going to just do the best we can.''

Mularkey and his players insist no one is quitting, although the Jaguars have been outscored 26-0 in the third quarter of the last three games and gashed on the ground in the second half of those losses. They allowed 139 yards rushing against the Dolphins after intermission, following poor performances against the New York Jets (116 yards in the second half) and Buffalo (158 yards in the second half).

``Who would (quit)? That's what losers do,'' said running back Maurice Jones-Drew, who is questionable to return from a sprained foot this week. ``We have a losing record, but there are no losers in here. We get paid to do our job and we're going to give everything we've got to do it. A loser is going to be the one who gives up and doesn't care. Effort has never been the case with this team.''

A lack of talent is the real issue.

No doubt, injuries have taken a toll on Jacksonville. Between Jones-Drew, Gabbert, guard Will Rackley and linebackers Daryl Smith and Clint Session, the Jaguars have had their share of missed starts, but every team in the league deals with injuries. The good ones have enough depth to overcome those setbacks.

The Jaguars, though, seem a long way off.

Against the Dolphins, they had two touchdowns taken off the scoreboard and got stopped three times on fourth down. They finished with 10 penalties, none more costly than an illegal substitution called against offensive tackle Guy Whimper that nullified a TD and proved to be the catalyst in the latest one-sided affair.

``This year didn't go the way anyone wanted, but we'd like to build on the coaches and players that are here,'' Posluszny said. ``(Changing coaches), that's not the winning formula. You look at winning organizations throughout the league and they don't go through things like that. Three head coaches in three years would not be a positive thing.''


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Wizards Tipoff podcast: Should Bradley Beal be an All-NBA selection?


Wizards Tipoff podcast: Should Bradley Beal be an All-NBA selection?

On the latest episode of the Wizards Tipoff podcast presented by Greenberg and Bederman, host Chase Hughes was joined by guest co-host Travis Thomas to break down Bradley Beal's All-NBA chances and John Wall's injury rehab.

They also discussed the crazy Eastern Conference playoff race, Trae Young's draft stock and essentials for a good snow day.

You can listen to the episode right here:

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Caps prospect watch: Signing season?


Caps prospect watch: Signing season?

The 2018 NCAA Hockey Tournament bracket has been announced and only one Capitals prospect, Brian Pinho, is still in the running.

Providence College was selected as the No. 2 seed in the East Regional and will play No. 3 Clarkson in the first round on Friday, March 23 on ESPNU. The winner will play the winner of Notre Dame-Michigan Tech on Saturday with a chance to advance to the Frozen Four.

The college season is over for the rest of the Capitals' college prospects which begs the question, will any of them sign an entry-level deal with Washington?

In the spring when seasons end for colleges, junior leagues and European leagues, we see a flurry of signings across the NHL as teams sign their prospects and young free agents.

Among the Caps' college prospects, the most likely candidate to sign would be Shane Gersich. Gersich just wrapped up this third season at the University of North Dakota, finishing second on the team in goals (13) and tied for third in points (29). The Capitals will certainly make a push to sign him considering his talent and because if he returns to college for a fourth year, he stands to become a free agent on Aug. 15, 2019.

Brad Elliott Schlossman of the Grand Forks Herald reported Wednesday that North Dakota was still awaiting Gersich's decision on whether he planned to return to college.

Quinnipiac defenseman Chase Priskie is in a similar situation, but it he has decided to head back to school for another season.

“That wasn’t a season I’d want to leave on,” Priskie told the New Haven Register. “When I came here as a freshman I saw our senior class, Garteig, St. Denis, Soren Jonzzon, and they left such a legacy that guys still talk about them. Same for Sam Anas and Devon Toews. They were all such great players and some of the best people for our program. When I leave, I want to be talked about like they are.”


Other prospect notes:

  • For Pinho, now a senior at Providence, this marks an opportunity for him to finish his college career the same way he began, with a national championship. “I don’t think I realized at the time how hard it is just to get back to the tournament,” Pinho told the New Haven Register. “So that’s something we older guys have been telling the younger guys. You never know when you’re going to be back and you have to make the most of it when you’re there.” (You can read the full feature on Pinho here)
  • The end of the season may suddenly be near for goalie prospect Ilya Samsonov. Metallurg Magnitogorsk finds itself down 3-1 in its series with Ak Bars in the KHL playoffs meaning their season could be over as early as Friday. Of course, the big news to watch after that is whether or not Samsonov would come to North America. If he does, he would most likely go to Hershey to play for the Bears. With only 10 games remaining on Hershey's schedule, however, the sooner Samsonov's team is ousted from the playoffs, the better. At least from a Washington perspective.
  • All three of Washington's WHL prospects have reached the WHL playoffs. Moose Jaw (Dmitriy Zaitsev) finished with the best record in the league and will play Prince Albert in the first round. Swift Current (Beck Malenstyn) finished second in the East Division behind Moose Jaw and will play Regina. Everett (Garrett Pilon) won the U.S. Division and earned the top seed in the Western Conference. They will play Seattle in the first round.
  • Dmitriy Zaitsev remains out after taking an illegal hit last week. He did not play in either of Moose Jaw's final regular season games, but was a full participant in practice on Wednesday.
  • Adam Carlson has found his groove in Kansas City. Playing for the Mavericks of the ECHL, he won each of his two starts this past week allowing only one goal on 43 shots. He was named the 2nd star of the game for both games.
  • Madison Bowey recorded an assist on Friday and two more for Hershey on Saturday for three over the weekend in his first week back with the Bears. Bowey has spent the majority of the season with the Caps, but the additions of Michal Kempny and Jakub Jerabek at the trade deadline meant there were just too many bodies up in Washington and not enough playing time to go around. As Bowey is waiver exempt, he became the odd-man out and was sent to the AHL. It would not be surprising to see him recalled by Washington when the NHL playoffs begin.
  • Defenseman Jonas Siegenthaler brought his goal total up to five for the season with two goals against the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins on Monday. The Bears really wanted to emphasize his offensive game this season to see if Siegenthaler could be developed into a two-way player. His strength is definitely is on the defensive end of the ice, but he will be a more versatile player if he can also be a threat offensively as well. You can see the highlights of Siegenthaler's two-goal game here:

  • Forward Hampus Gustafsson was recalled to Hershey last week and did not wait long to make an impact. He scored his first career AHL goal on Friday. He also added an assist making that game his first career multi-point game as well.
  • Tyler Lewington was suspended two games by the AHL for a punch he delivered to Bridgeport's Scott Eansor in Friday's game.

Who are the Caps' top 10 prospects? Find out here in this week's updated rankings