The Jaguars will win the Super Bowl.
That’s right, they’re going to win it. I don’t know when and I don’t know if it’ll be under the new head coach, but they’re going to win the Super Bowl. Shad Khan won’t accept anything less. Getting to the playoffs will be the first step. Winning in the post-season, the second. Playing in the big game the third and finally winning it will be the goal achieved.
How can I say that?
Because Khan is going to make it happen.
Wayne Weaver obviously tried. He spent money and twice the Jaguars were close to playing on Super Bowl Sunday. But even by his own admission, Weaver knew what he didn’t know and was a little too patient with making personnel changes that could have produced more wins and maybe even a championship season.
Khan doesn’t have any of the encumbrances that Weaver faced. If he needs to make a change, he will and he’ll do it without looking back. While I’ve said he’s a thoughtful, patient and measured businessman (and appears that personally as well) he will take action when necessary.
Weaver said his biggest regret was firing Tom Coughlin when he did. Coughlin didn’t appear to be ready to relinquish the personnel, GM part of the job as he did later in the New York. I don’t know if Weaver asked him, but that might have been the best move at the time. Coughlin has had multiple playoff wins and a Super Bowl Championship since then. Weaver also said he was a bit “too patient” with some of the people working for him making the football decisions. Wayne was respectful of his “football people” to a fault. In retrospect he hung with James “Shack” Harris and Jack Del Rio too long. He gave David Garrard a new deal when he didn’t deserve it.
But that’s all in the past.
Shad Khan won’t be a patient but he won’t fly off the handle either. “You know, fans want to shoot first and ask questions later,” he said last week when talking about a new head coach and Gene Smith’s future. Khan wants to be proactive but do the right thing. “Paralysis by analysis,” is something he said won’t happen.
Smith is working on kind of an “audition phase” of his tenure with the Jaguars. That sounds crazy after a career of working with the same team from the bottom up but with a three-year extension on his contract, Smith has a chance to show Khan what he’s all about.
So far, Khan has been very complimentary of Smith’s knowledge of the league and what needs to be done when it comes to hiring a head coach. You could say Gene has “institutional knowledge” when it comes to the NFL. “I’ll always be a scout at heart,” Gene has told me several times. But he’s going to have to be much more than that to be Shad Khan’s General Manager. Khan wants leadership, decision-making and results.
Smith has a tepid track record so far as the sole personnel decision maker for the Jaguars. His first round picks, Tyson Alualu and Eugene Monroe have been solid but not great based on their draft position. Nobody knows about Blaine Gabbert although he certainly has the physical tools to be an NFL quarterback. Clearly that’s what Smith saw in him and is, by necessity, his biggest fan. If Gabbert isn’t a “franchise quarterback” Smith’s tenure with the Jaguars under Khan could be short.
His role in picking the new head coach will also go a long way in determining his future with the Jaguars. Last time he recommended Mike McCarthy. Weaver hired Jack Del Rio. Jack’s out of a job, McCarthy has arguably the best team in the league and already one of those “gaudy rings” as Wayne described it on his finger.
But the Jaguars are going to win a Super Bowl. And they’ll do it in Jacksonville. Khan’s a big thinker with big ideas he can make happen. So when things start rolling, look at the guy at the top. He’ll be the one with the big smile under that moustache.