Jacksonville Sports News, Sam Kouvaris - SamSportsline.com

What the Jaguars Need: Everything?

It’s pretty easy to assess what the Jaguars need as they go forward: just about everything. The plus in having the second pick in the draft is that no matter who they pick, they’ll need him.

Let’s just start with what players on this team some other organization would want.

On offense, MJD, if healthy, is a premier back. Blaine Gabbert is still a project but other teams would take him. Greg Jones and Brad Meester still have a year or two left and Marcedes Lewis, while underperforming, would be a commodity on the open market. Justin Blackmon and Cecil Shorts began to emerge this year. Eugene Monroe might be the best offensive player the Jaguars have and that’s about it.

So they have an immediate need at guard, on both sides (Will Rackley?) right tackle (what ever happened to Eben Britton?) and WR (will Laurent Robinson every play effectively again?)

On defense, Jason Babin should stick around and Jeremy Mincey has a new contract. All of those other guys at DE and DT are serviceable but nobody’s a star. Nobody’s a game changer. At LB, Daryl Smith changes the landscape, giving some help to Posluzny and showing that the team needs another elite LB. Cox and Harris look like guys who can play cornerback. Scobee and Anger can kick and punt. This team I just mentioned got on the field about zero times together all year.

In the off-season the top priority will be pass rush (again). Clint Avril might be available and somebody at linebacker who can cover and also get to the quarterback. On offense they need to shore up the offensive line, find somebody who can catch and stay healthy and most of all get better quarterback play.

Chad Henne is a suitable backup, a game manager you can go to in a pinch-hit role. But he’s not going to win games for you. In fact, all of it comes crashing down if your quarterback can’t play. So no matter who the coach is, what kind of front-office changes they make, if your quarterback can play, it makes up for a multitude of sins.

If the standard turnover on a NFL roster is about 40%, the Jaguars are looking at half of the guys on the team this year being gone. At least.

And in free-agency Shad Khan won’t be shy about spending money. Despite the $60 million he shelled out for Mincey, Ross and Robinson, only two get two wins, he’s not afraid to make the big play for a real difference maker.

Jacksonville Sports News, Sam Kouvaris - SamSportsline.com

Players Win Games

It’s not too hard to figure out the reason there are “haves” and “have-nots” in the NFL: Players. You can talk all the scheme, coaching, personnel people you want but in the end, on the field, it comes down to players.

And good ones.

A couple of years ago, the Miami Dolphins had the first pick in the NFL draft, meaning they had the worst record in the league. They took a starting offensive lineman, singed some free-agents and the next year went 11-5.


It was a quick fix, but the players in place had some success en-route to the playoffs. Tom Coughlin has won two Super Bowls with the New York Giants. In both seasons he was about to be fired halfway through the year. But his players stepped up, they developed a pass rush with just the front four, got hot on offense behind a running game and Eli Manning and went on to a championship. Why? The players started to play. Coughlin didn’t change his style; he didn’t start running different plays. He just had the players who were capable of making something happen.

While Coughlin was here in Jacksonville the Jaguars had championship capable teams about half of the time. Guys like Mark Brunell, Jimmy Smith, Kennan McCardell, Kyle Brady and Clyde Simmons were top-flight players. Any team would have wanted them. But when things went sour for Coughlin, those careers were either over or near an end, meaning success was hard to come by.

It’s a running joke that when a player or coach leaves the Jaguars they have some kind of instant success. Former Offensive Coordinator Dirk Koetter is a good example. He’s a run-of-the-mill assistant who didn’t find success as a head coach in college but is hoping for a shot at the top job in the NFL. With the Jaguars he had virtually no success because of a lack of production at the quarterback position. Put him in Atlanta with Matt Ryan and all of the sudden he’s a world beater. Jack Del Rio’s success in Denver as their defensive coordinator has a lot to do with Peyton Manning being their quarterback and Champ Bailey running their defense.

Through the history of the league, coaches have been romanticized as big time leaders, field generals directing their troops in battle. NFL Films does a good job at creating that myth. But when you look at the great coaches in the league’s past, it’ a culture of success that they created that lead to wins. Vince Lombardi told his players, “We’ll chase perfection, knowing we won’t catch it but along the way, we’ll achieve greatness.” Tom Landry put together Hall of Fame players on defense and finally won championships with Roger Staubach at quarterback. Bill Walsh created a scheme, but It took Joe Montana and company to implement it.

Coaches create an atmosphere of success.

Players win games.