DISCLAIMER: First off, let me apologize to Shane Clemons for this article. Sometimes I have a very sarcastic sense of humor. And to those of you that have thin skin & no sense of humor....well, try to lighten up & laugh a little. Sorry Shane-O, the Jaxson De Ville made me do it.no comments
This Sunday, the Jacksonville Jaguars will play host to the Cincinnati Bengals. To the national media, there's not much on the line, but to the Jacksonville Jaguars, everything's on the table.
Jack Del Rio has had some fine, fine moments as the Jaguars' head coach. Remember 2007? Do you remember David Garrard on 4th and 2 cutting through the Steelers defense to set up the game winning field goal in the playoffs against the Pittsburgh Steelers? Do you remember? I do.
I have wondered if I am the last remaining "keep Jack" guy out there, and I doubt that I am, but our numbers are dwindling. Some would say that it's crazy to continue to trust in a coach that's never had his team win the division, and I would tend to agree under different circumstances.
Let's face the facts here. Jack Del Rio took over a team that had just gone through it's first, and probably still largest, roster implosion. The team that Jack Del Rio took over in 2003 was terrible. Still, it wasn't long until he had turned it around and had the Jaguars competing at a high level.
Then the terrible drafts came. It wasn't like the Jaguars would hit on one guy and miss on the next. It was more like they'd hit on one guy in the draft and follow it up with 4 or 5 misses in a row. There's a reason Jack Del Rio has never won the AFC South. He's, frankly, never had the players.
There's another huge reason the Jaguars haven't won a division crown since the days of the AFC Central. Peyton Manning. This past summer, I did a lot of research on Peyton Manning, and I've found that he's at the top of virtually every significant passing stat in the history of the game. He's truly one of the greatest players to ever play, and he's been healthy, until recently, since he was drafted. We shouldn't be surprised that the Del Rio era has been tough as fans.
Now let me ask everyone a question. Is it really his fault that the Jaguars have no good wide receivers? Is it his fault that David Garrard didn't continue to develop into an elite quarterback? Is it his fault that they haven't had a talented team since 2007? No. He doesn't decide who is and isn't on the team. That's Gene Smith's job. Del Rio has a say in personnel moves, I'm sure, but he doesn't have the final say. My point boils down to one simple truth. You can't make a cake out of crap.
Sure, I'm disappointed that this season hasn't gone the Jaguars' way to this point, but I'm choosing to look on the bright side. Blaine Gabbert is the Jaguars' man of the future, and he's already showing flashes of brilliance. The defense is unbelievably better than it was last year. You don't think Del Rio, a defensive coach, had something to do with that improvement (new talent doesn't hurt either)? This team may have taken a step back on offense, but as a whole, the Jaguars are getting better.
I realize that it will be tough for Del Rio to keep his job, and I hope that he finds another great opportunity if he's forced out of Jacksonville. He's always done great things for the Jacksonville community, and it'd be a shame to have a good coach such as Del Rio lose his job to poor personnel decisions made by other people. Let's not forget Blaine Gabbert in all of this. The way to develop a young quarterback is not by putting him in a different offensive system every season. That doesn't work; just ask Alex Smith.
In all reality, I think it'd take 9 wins for Del Rio to keep his job. I don't think Wayne Weaver could legitimately justify firing his coach for getting a young team such as the Jaguars over .500. The season is still young, and the Jaguars' schedule has been brutal. At the very least, Del Rio deserves the rest of the season to turn it around. I'll be driving the "Del Rio Band Wagon" all season. Feel free to hop on.
Good morning folks. It's game day, and I'll be taking a different route today. Normally, I'd give you 5 things to watch for, but today, there should only be 1 thing. Kill kill kill.
The Jaguars' coaching staff was heavily criticized last week for not going for the win. They were accused of being far too conservative in their play calling. That can't be the case today.
The Saints have a very high powered offense. They will be scoring points today. I don't think there's any doubting that, and this game could be a blow out. There's no other way of looking at it. The Jaguars don't match up well.
The Jaguars have 1 and only 1 chance of winning this game. They have to go for the kill. Screw going for the jugular veins; the Jaguars should be going for the carotid arteries. If the Jaguars have a 10 point lead in the 4th quarter, they should try to make it a 17 point lead. There should be no sitting on anything today if they want to get back to .500.
Regardless of the outcome, the Jaguars will likely face less criticism following this game than they did last week. I'm being realistic here. No one, outside of maybe the Jaguars themselves, expect the Jags to pull off this upset. The match-ups don't look good, and the Jaguars haven't shown that they can score points on a regular basis. This is a learning phase for Blaine Gabbert, and opening up the playbook completely isn't the answer. Maurice Jones-Drew will be the work horse today, and I wouldn't have it any other way.
Long over due, yes I know. I have tabulated all new prospect rankings in the last month and am sure they will change again very soon. Currently we are picking top-5 (yes I know) but while a down season means more jeers and boos, it also brings a lot of good quality top-end talent to our team. For instance here we are taking the best Widereceiver in the Nation and a top-3 pass rusher. If I were to post more of the mock (which I do have) we are also taking a Right Tackle in the Third (Tanner Hawkinson, Kansas), a Corner in the Fourth (Desmond Trufant, Washington), an Offensive Guard in the Fifth ( Amini Silatolu, Midwestern State), and finally a Runningback (Bernard Pierce, Temple) in the Sixth. With out further delay, to the mock-mobile!
I was walking today when I ran into my friend John. We naturally started talking about the Detroit Lions and football in general. The conversation quickly turned to Matthew Stafford and finally Blaine Gabbert.
In this short conversation, I brought up the fact that everyone wants to blame Jack Del Rio for the Jaguars' poor offense, but no one wants to give him credit for the 4th ranked defense in the NFL.
From there, I pointed out that Del Rio is a defensive coach, and he probably leaves the offense more to Dirk Koetter than people want to believe. I said firing a head coach isn't always the best solution, and I voiced my opinion that Jack Del Rio is more of a scapegoat than anything. That's when the line of the week; hell, the line of the year was uttered by John.
Firing a team's head coach doesn't mean they'll start sh**ing rainbows.
For all the times that I've tried to be rational about hanging on to Jack Del Rio as the head coach of the Jaguars, I've never been able to be that concise, to the point, and on target.
Let me expound a little bit here. Jack Del Rio isn't in charge of getting players to Jacksonville. That's Gene Smith's job. I really think he's done a good job, but the process has been slower than expected.
Jack Del Rio is a good coach. Let's suspend judgment on him. The whole point is that the Jaguars won't be sh**ing rainbows just because Jack Del Rio is gone.
We've been hearing since the end of the 2008 season that the re-building process takes time. Changes won't happen over night, and this team will do it the right way this time. We've heard that "this time, we're for real." I've been patient. I was pleasantly surprised when the Jaguars were playing meaningful games in December late in the 2009 season, and I was even more surprised when they were 1 game away from winning the division last season. Unfortunately, this team hasn't stepped forward offensively.
At this point, I think that the offense of last season along with the defense of this season would make a damn good team. The defense has made huge strides, and I have no doubt that they'll get better as the season progresses, but the offense has been terrible at best. In case the Jaguars are unaware of this fact, here's a news flash. You have to score points to win games. In today's NFL, you have to score touchdowns, and that's been a big problem.
I don't want to mislead anyone. I'm still patient, and I'll continue to be patient. I think the Jaguars have their quarterback of the future, and I'm a little relieved that he's now in the driver's seat. Whether the Jaguars will clean house in the coaching department at the end of the season remains to be seen, but I'm now at the point where I think it's not a bad idea. In fact, I wish they had done just that at the end of the 2008 season.
I don't know if you've looked at the upcoming schedule, but it doesn't look good for the Jaguars. The Jags play the Saints, Bengals, Steelers, Ravens, and Texans before their bye week. I see 1 win in that stretch, and that's not an exaggeration. This team has it rough, but the season isn't lost just yet.
As an optimistic fan, I now have to ask; what if? What if the Jaguars can pull off a thrilling upset win over the Saints? All of a sudden the Jaguars have a should win game against the Bengals that would get them to 3-2. Then, the Jaguars play a very winnable game against the Steelers, followed by another winnable game against the Ravens. I don't like being a crazy person, but is 5-3 really that much of a stretch? I don't think it is, but there's a lot of work to be done.
The Jaguars need to let their offense throw the ball more. I don't think it's reasonable to think that Gabbert will be lighting it up for 300 yards, 3 TDs, and 0 INTs anytime soon, but this guy was drafted to be the franchise quarterback. Let him throw it 30 times a game. If he can get to 200 yards passing with a couple of TDs, this team could win a lot of games. The Jaguars have a very good defense. If they could score 24 points per game, they wouldn't lose many of them.
The defense, while very good, needs to get some big plays. They were able to reek havoc against Mark Sanchez, and that's what they need to be able to do against the Saints this weekend. Drew Brees takes some chances. If they can capitolize on a few of them, they could pull it off. It's all about seizing big plays.
Am I being opimistic? Hell yes I am, but this season is just 3 weeks old, and I'm not ready to give up on this team just yet. You should hand on to hope too. You'd be surprised how little anger results from it.
Well that was an eventful day. Cam came crashing down to earth and brought with him a monsoon of biblical proportions. Really…the only thing missing was the locusts and the Pirate ship in Tampa.