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Clown party? Frustrated Jags fans trying to elicit GM change

Associated Press logo Associated Press 1/3/2022 By MARK LONG, AP Pro Football Writer
FILE - Jacksonville Jaguars owner Shad Khan is shown on the field before an NFL football game against the Miami Dolphins at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in London, Sunday, Oct. 17, 2021. 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. (AP Photo/Gary McCullough, File) © Provided by Associated Press - Sports FILE - Jacksonville Jaguars owner Shad Khan is shown on the field before an NFL football game against the Miami Dolphins at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in London, Sunday, Oct. 17, 2021. 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. (AP Photo/Gary McCullough, File)

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (AP) — 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 mustache. 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 colorful wigs, at the very least – when the Jaguars (2-14) host Indianapolis (9-7) at TIAA Bank Field on Sunday.

Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback Trevor Lawrence scratches his head while heading to the locker room after a 50-10 loss to the New England Patriots after an NFL football game, Sunday, Jan. 2, 2022, in Foxborough, Mass. (AP Photo/Steven Senne) © Provided by Associated Press - Sports Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback Trevor Lawrence scratches his head while heading to the locker room after a 50-10 loss to the New England Patriots after an NFL football game, Sunday, Jan. 2, 2022, in Foxborough, Mass. (AP Photo/Steven Senne)

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 would assist in the team’s coaching search.

Dallas defensive coordinator Dan Quinn, Green Bay offensive coordinator Nate Hackett and Tampa Bay offensive coordinator 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.

Jacksonville Jaguars interim head coach Darrell Bevell during the first half of an NFL football game against the New England Patriots, Sunday, Jan. 2, 2022, in Foxborough, Mass. (AP Photo/Steven Senne) © Provided by Associated Press - Sports Jacksonville Jaguars interim head coach Darrell Bevell during the first half of an NFL football game against the New England Patriots, Sunday, Jan. 2, 2022, in Foxborough, Mass. (AP Photo/Steven Senne)

Baalke’s resume includes three consecutive NFC championship games with San Francisco (2011-13) and reports 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 in salary cap space. And he somehow made Jacksonville worse and arguably a bigger laughingstock than it’s been 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 and 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.

Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback Trevor Lawrence (16) hits the turf after a sack by New England Patriots outside linebacker Dont'a Hightower, top, during the first half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Jan. 2, 2022, in Foxborough, Mass. (AP Photo/Steven Senne) © Provided by Associated Press - Sports Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback Trevor Lawrence (16) hits the turf after a sack by New England Patriots outside linebacker Dont'a Hightower, top, during the first half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Jan. 2, 2022, in Foxborough, Mass. (AP Photo/Steven Senne)

“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, and I can only do so much, and that’s what I’m going to do.


Video: Antonio Brown strips down and leaves field mid-game (The Washington Post)

UP NEXT
UP NEXT

“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% 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 a 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 – and with potentially thousands of clown-clad fans in the stands.

WHAT’S WORKING

The Jaguars are closing in on the No. 1 pick for the second straight season. It was celebrated last season, with Jacksonville positioning itself to land a generational quarterback. There’s not nearly the buzz this time around, with pass rushers Aidan Hutchinson (Michigan) and Kayvon Thibodeaux (Oregon) considered the top prospects.

WHAT NEEDS HELP

Lawrence’s ball security has become an issue again. The rookie has eight turnovers in his last four games, looking so out of sync Sunday that interim coach Darrell Bevell considered pulling him in the fourth quarter.

STOCK UP

Laquon Treadwell has at least four receptions in six straight games, making a case to return next season. A first-round pick by Minnesota in 2016, Treadwell has 30 catches for a career-high 410 yards.

STOCK DOWN

Whatever chances Jacksonville's assistants coaches had of returning next season seem to be dwindling.

INJURIES

Tight end James O’Shaughnessy (hip) is expected to return for the finale.

KEY NUMBER

6 — number of consecutive wins – yes, wins — the Jags have at home against Indianapolis. The Colts last won in Jacksonville in 2014.

NEXT STEPS

Finding the right coach and general manager combination who can help Jacksonville end its losing ways.

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