Jacksonville Jaguars: Potential Candidates to Replace Gene Smith

David LevinSenior Writer IINovember 16, 2012

Jacksonville Jaguars: Potential Candidates to Replace Gene Smith

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    At some point, speculation over who will replace Gene Smith as the Jacksonville Jaguars general manager will become a reality.

    Based on a 6-19 record over the past two seasons, the change can't come fast enough for some fans in the Jacksonville area.

    Holding down one of the most important positions in the Jaguars' front office has not been an easy one for Smith, who has been a part of this organization since the team was awarded a franchise in 1993 and began play in 1995.

    While Smith has hit on a few players in the draft (Eugene Monroe), he has failed miserably on others. And with his career basically hanging on the arm of Blaine Gabbert and free agents who have been injured (Clint Session and Laurent Robinson) a solid grade cannot be given to his overall performance.

    If this were a college course, Smith would fall well below passing.

    There are many new and even old faces that could be considered to replace Smith after the 2012 season, should team owner Shad Khan make a decision to do so.

    That decision should not even be questioned, as this team needs to move in a new direction with better talent and more playmakers at the skilled positions.

    Drafting players is a science unto itself, and while Smith may have been qualified when he replaced James “Shack” Harris in 2009, the talent level has fallen off to a point where the Jaguars are standing in the deep end of a community pool.

    Here is a look at some candidates who may get a call after this season finally comes to an end.

Mike Holmgren

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    Holmgren to Dallas? It was a hot rumor last week and still continues to get some play in the media.

    But could Holmgren and Jerry Jones coexist?

    Holmgren just completed a painful tenure in Cleveland as the president of the Browns and is now looking for work. He was successful in stints with Green Bay and then Seattle, where he helped take both teams to the Super Bowl.

    If Shad Khan cleans house completely after this season and we are looking for a head coach, then Holmgren becomes a name to consider.

    If you are looking for someone to evaluate talent, are you comfortable with him as your leader?

    Cleveland did not have Brett Favre or Matt Hasselbeck passing the ball, or better receivers and strong defensive stoppers. It was Holmgren's job to help find those types of players, and he failed to do so in his tenure in Ohio.

    Does he have enough fire left in his belly to even attempt to do the same thing with Jacksonville?

    Holmgren began his NFL career as a quarterback coach and later as an offensive coordinator with the San Francisco 49ers, where he won two Super Bowl rings. He knows a thing or two about quarterbacks, which may aid in deciding whether this team sticks with Blaine Gabbert or not.

Terry McDonough

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    He's the only insider who I could see getting a look, and I pray that is not the case.

    According to www.Jaguars.com, "Terry McDonough was promoted by General Manager Gene Smith to Director, Player Personnel on Jan. 12, 2009. He scouts the top collegiate players throughout the nation, as well as the top free agency prospects each year." 

    If that is the case, then is he as much to blame for the inconsistency we see on the field each week?

    And how ironic would it be for McDonough to take the job from the very man who hired him to help make key personnel decisions?

    I'm not saying this wouldn't work, but a fresh start appears to be needed.

    McDonough also defended the drafting of Bryan Anger in the third round in 2012.

    That is not a key moment you want to advertise when staking your claim to be the next general manager.

Nick Caserio

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    You would think any member of the New England Patriots staff coming to Jacksonville would be a good thing.

    But in the immortal words of Lee Corso, "Not so fast, my friends."

    Caserio is currently serving as director of player personnel for the Patriots and worked as wide receivers coach for the Patriots squad the year Tom Brady threw an NFL-record 50 touchdown passes in 2007.

    That actually is a good thing, because it means he has not only been in the front office and helped procure players, but he has seen successful player development firsthand.

    The one thing that I would be cautious about is whether or not Caserio is more Scott Pioli than anyone else. Pioli, who is now the general manager in Kansas City, took a lot of heat recently for the talent-deficient team the Kansas City Chiefs have become.

    And as we all know, the Chiefs are fighting with the Jaguars to remain out of the cellar of the NFL.

    Pioli also brought in former Patriots defensive coordinator Romeo Crennel to coach the Chiefs, which has not proven to be a wise choice. Would Caserio pull the trigger on bringing some of the Patriots staff with him?

    The offense is pretty good, and Josh McDaniel's name might be bantered about if Mike Mularkey is released. It could also mean that Tim Tebow might get another chance to start in the NFL, since it was McDaniel who drafted Tebow for the Broncos in 2010.

    Yes, everything comes back to Tebow.

Eric DeCosta

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    This is a road the Jaguars have already traveled, and it yielded limited results.

    Are they willing to ride back up to Baltimore and select another Ozzie Newsome protege?

    The Jaguars picked from the Ravens' litter when they plucked James "Shack" Harris to be their general manger following the firing of Tom Coughlin, who served as head coach and general manager.

    Harris and then head coach Jack Del Rio shared in the decision making, which included the choice to release Byron Leftwich and go with David Garrard.

    DeCosta, 41, is one of the great young minds of the NFL.

    He was named Assistant General Manager for the Baltimore Ravens this year and prior to this position served as Director of Player Personnel for the Ravens, being heavily involved in both college and pro scouting. Before that, DeCosta was Director of College Scouting in Baltimore, where he oversaw the NFL draft.

    All of these key placements for DeCosta could be beneficial to a team that has made good selections in recent years, but has not had huge returns on its investments.

    I personally like this move, should it happen. I also like the fact that if it were to happen, and Joe Flacco and the Ravens stub their toes trying to negotiate a new contract, it could lead to the Ravens quarterback testing the free-agent market.

    Flacco is a rising star, in my opinion. He is certainly a better option than Blaine Gabbert.

Mike Tannenbaum

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    This is a huge "if" scenario.

    The Jets sold the mortgage on its franchise to select Mark Sanchez to lead the team to the promised land. In his first two seasons in the league, it looked like a solid move. Two AFC Championship games gave the Jets and their fans hope for a more successful future.

    The last two seasons have been anything but hopeful.

    And to make things a little more uneasy in New York, the Jets are losing, the quarterback play has been on life support (sound familiar) and some guy named Tebow is taking heat in the media and from his teammates.


    Both head coach Rex Ryan and Tannenbaum could be on the chopping block after this season, which means both could be available. Could this be a three-person package deal?

    Yes, it is another way for Tim Tebow to finally come home. Just another scenario that could play out, and while the Jaguars have been one of the more drama-filled teams this past offseason, the brass in New York know a thing or two about drama as well.

Charley Casserley

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    While I think Casserly likes his job with the NFL Network, I will never leave him out of the conversation, because he is one of the best NFL minds.

    Casserly recently served as Senior Vice President & General Manager, Football Operations, for the Houston Texans from 2000 to 2006. He was in charge of all football operations for the club.

    While he did not have a hand in the changes that have evolved in the team's evolution into one of the NFL's best, he did work with current head coach Gary Kubiak.

    Casserly also knows a little about winning in the postseason. He spent 23 years with the Washington Redskins, where the team went to four Super Bowls, winning three. He was an assistant to Bobby Beathard, who helped build the Redskins into perennial powerhouses.

    Could the 64-year-old Casserly be interested in trying to create another powerhouse that could take more than five years to show a return on his type of building process?

Bill Polian

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    He may not be the most popular choice, but he would be the best choice.

    His architecture of the Indianapolis Colts, as well as his work to make Peyton Manning and his cast and crew one of the best in the NFL, is a testament to how good he is at evaluating talent.

    I question what will happen when Polian and Shad Khan butt heads, if they do.

    Jim Irsay left a lot of responsibility for the Colts to Polian and his staff. They were the ones who brought in key talents and found players off the street to work with Manning in the passing game.

    Obviously, it was successful.

    Can Polian work with someone like Khan, who wants to be involved in major aspects of the team? Will Khan's desire to have an international fan base and a foreign flair affect what the creative team will try to do?

    Can Polian take what's already in the city and on the roster and mold it to fit the goals of the Jaguars? Blaine Gabbert is not Peyton Manning, but he has the skills to be a darn good football player in time.

    How patient will Polian be with this team?