Jacksonville Jaguars general manager Gene Smith, head coach Mike Mularkey and quarterback Blaine Gabbert have all produced undesirable results in their current positions. Of the three, Smith’s exit is the one that seems to be most urgent.
Somehow, the 1-8 Jaguars are in the top echelon of the NFL in terms of payroll:
Lots of tidbits from Jaguars owner Shad Khan. One is that team is $17M above cap and has sixth-highest payroll.— Mark Long (@APMarkLong) November 7, 2012
Maybe that’s why they were unable to acquiesce to the holdout demands of Maurice Jones-Drew—also known as their best player and one of a very few that could start for essentially any team in the NFL.
Nuggets from Jaguars GM Gene Smith: 1. Team needs more talent. 2. WR Cecil Shorts will be more involved. 3. Pass rush is top concern ...— Mark Long (@APMarkLong) October 10, 2012
It’s difficult to evaluate a coach when the players with whom he works are far less talented than the average NFL roster. The same goes for a quarterback. Smith shocked NFL fans by drafting California punter Bryan Anger in the third round of the 2012 NFL draft.
Punters are people too, but they don’t need to be drafted that early.
That sort of selection seems to be a luxury pick. Jacksonville’s defense is not a top-tier unit that would have benefited greatly from a field-position advantage, and Anger won’t be punting points on the board.
The Jaguars’ biggest offseason free-agent signing was also a questionable move. Smith signed wide receiver Laurent Robinson to a five-year, $32.5 million contract. The problem with that deal has less to do with Robinson’s talent and more to do with his injury history.
He’s not a No. 1 receiver, as it appears that he was signed to be for Jacksonville while rookie Justin Blackmon develops. Robinson’s 11 touchdowns with the Dallas Cowboys last year proved his talent, but his production came as the second, third or fourth option in the passing game.
Additionally, he has never played a full 16-game season and has bounced to his fourth team (in the regular season) as a six-year NFL veteran. Robinson is certainly a player that can help an offense, but it appears as though the Jaguars simply outbid the rest of the NFL for his services.
Eventually, the sum total of a general manager’s mistakes will catch up to him. In the case of Smith, it has already done so in the NFL standings—but it hasn’t in terms of his job security.
Follow Jamal on Twitter: Follow @StatManJ