With the post-season looking like something that’s on the other end of a wrong-side telescope, the Jaguars fans are looking at the current team and questioning how good they really are. Without a bunch of stars, (and if you look at the roster who’s really going to the Pro Bowl) the Jaguars have to play as a tight team to be a contender.
This year, guys who were supposed to take the next step just didn’t. So it makes sense to review the personnel decisions made since Jack Del Rio took over for Tom Coughlin.
Here’s the list of first round picks:
- Byron Leftwich
- Reggie Williams
- Matt Jones
- Marcedes Lewis
- Reggie Nelson
- Derrick Harvey.
Do any of those guys scare anybody?
Leftwich is gone, Williams is a possession receiver at best. Jones has been a better player this year but not a world-beater by any means. Lewis is solid but as a first rounder people were thinking Tony Gonzalez. Nelson is a good athlete and a ball hawk but either can’t cover or can’t figure out how to play the defense that’s called. You can’t judge Harvey yet, but an impact player he’s not.
So who’s making these decisions?
You could say Maurice Jones Drew is the best draft pick they’ve made in the past six years. No matter because it hasn’t been hit and miss it’s been mostly miss when it comes to the draft picks.
There are a lot of moving parts when it comes to building a team. Certainly Del Rio is a driving force in the decision-making. In fact, when he cut Leftwich, he moved to the front of the power structure as the lead decision maker.
James Harris is supposed to have an equal vote as the personnel director and Gene Smith as the lead scout has a lot of input. But there are assistant coaches, scouts, other personnel guys and even Wayne Weaver as part of the process on draft day so if you’re going to affix blame, you can point to the whole organization.
This year is a different story. While it might come down to talent, and the team doesn’t have a superstar to lean on, this team’s attitude from the beginning was a sense of entitlement.
“We went deep in the playoffs last year so we’ll be back this year,” was the over riding theme of training camp. And training camp wasn’t much. Not a lot of hitting, not a lot of stress on a team that Jack Del Rio thought would take the next step.
Maybe write this year off to experience. A learning process.
Del Rio now knows that he has to keep a firm hand on the wheel. The players should understand that nothing is given to you in this league.
Here’s the bottom line though: This team has to play as a team and it’s Del Rio’s job to get them together. If he can’t do that, it’ll be a long time before they contend again.