The Jacksonville Jaguars were competitive for approximately one quarter against the Indianapolis Colts, only to see the game follow the same narrative all their games have followed through four weeks. Through a quarter of the season, the Jaguars have spent more time compiling yards in garbage time than they've spent still being competitive in the game. It seems like every 2013 Jaguars game is over by halftime or soon after.
One of the main reasons the Jaguars aren't competitive this year is the complete lack of an NFL-caliber quarterback. Former GM Gene Smith's pride and joy, Blaine Gabbert, is a complete bust and a replacement-caliber player, and backup Chad Henne isn't any better.
The Jaguars haven't had competent quarterback play since David Garrard was at the helm, and they haven't had outstanding play at the position since the days of Mark Brunell. It's been long enough.
Jacksonville ended the 2012 season with a 2-14 record, bad enough to land them the second overall pick in the 2013 NFL Draft, but that draft was extremely light on quarterbacks. The quarterback class in 2014, however, has the potential to be one of the best in recent memory.
Louisville quarterback Teddy Bridgewater is one of the 2014 NFL Draft's jewels and was rated prospect #2a in Matt Miller's initial 2014 Big Board. Bridgewater is widely considered to be the best quarterback prospect in college football and possibly one of the best in the past decade.
Through four games of the 2013 season, Bridgewater has torched opposing defenses for 14 touchdowns and 1214 yards through the air. He's completed 71.8 percent of his passes and has only turned the ball over once. Simply put, he's the real deal.
Will the Jacksonville Jaguars end up with the first overall pick in the 2014 NFL Draft?
Could the stars be aligning for the Jaguars to land Teddy?
Gus Bradley and Dave Caldwell would love to have Teddy Bridgewater under center in 2014, but no team loses games on purpose for the sake of draft positioning. It's in the Jaguars' best interest to be as competitive as possible while also landing a quarterback of the future.
How can the Jaguars be all-in for a quarterback prospect that will demand a pick in the top two selections while also competing hard and trying to improve? Simple: competition.
The Jaguars should put a priority on giving young players a chance to show they belong on the roster for the future. Guys like Maurice Jones-Drew, Marcedes Lewis, Paul Posluszny and Jason Babin will be gone by the time the Jaguars are good enough to challenge for a playoff spot. Coach Bradley should make it a point to rotate in players like Jordan Todman, Denard Robinson, Clay Harbor and LaRoy Reynolds to see how they perform in different situations.
Jacksonville's offensive line has looked porous to date, but maybe untested players like Austin Pasztor or Drew Nowak could give them a boost. Perhaps D.J. Williams could have success in a "move" tight end role similar to how the Texans used James Casey in the past.
It might hurt the 2013 Jaguars' chances of winning to give inexperienced players a shot to make their mark, but it will benefit the team in two ways: It will help them identify players that could help them in various roles in the long run, and it will give them a leg up in the Teddy Bridgewater sweepstakes. Given the quality of quarterback play the Jaguars have received in recent years, Bridgewater can't don the black and teal soon enough.
Tank for Teddy IS Tank for the sake of the Jaguars. The tank is officially off and rolling. Hop aboard! It's going to be a long ride, but it'll be worth it.