I have received numerous requests to give some input on the Jacksonville Jaguars this offseason. I live in Jacksonville. I have been a fan since before the franchise was fully created. I was a season ticket holder the first six years before buying diapers became a higher priority.
I about soiled myself during the improbable playoff run in 1996. I about threw myself off the Main Street Bridge when we lost to the freakin' Titans for the 3rd time in 1999, thus taking us out of the Super Bowl.
Hell...My first wedding was in the colors of Teal and Gold. Long story short...I love my Jags!!!
That is what makes the next part of this article painful to say. I HAVE NO FAITH IN WHAT THE JAGS ARE DOING!!! Whew...ok...I feel better now. Let me go over a few things first in the GOOD pile.
1) Releasing malcontents...I think in the Jags thirst for success, they lost track of what's most important to a small-market team. Character. We brought in the trash instead of taking it out.
Whether it was a GM decision or Jack Del Rio's, I'm glad they are getting their heads straight.
2) They are making the hard choices...Even though he will always be a DAMN GATOR, I will miss Fred Taylor. What's amazing is that he played in Jacksonville for ten years, yet I only feel like I started appreciating him recently.
I agree he probably still has a couple years left in him but in today's NFL, you have to know when to move on. I feel that same way about Paul Spicer and Mike Peterson. It was time to try out players who are younger & CHEAPER!
3) They brought in Torry Holt for a tryout...This was very important because the Jags are DEVASTATED at the WR position. With the release of Matt Jones (under-achieving coke-using idiot) and not re-signing Reggie Williams ( incredibly stupid under-achieving coke-using idiot), WE BE HURTING!!!
It appears that Mr. Holt has been woo'd successfully by the much-hated Titans, but I'm hoping for the best.
Now for the bad pile...& it's the true definition of a pile!!
1) They are talking QB in first round...I am not an idiot. I know David Garrard struggled statistically last year. But if you think about it, statistically is the only place he struggled. He single-handedly kept the Jags in most games he played. It is not his fault we had so many offensive line injuries last year.
It definitely wasn't his fault that the running game disappeared. I believe Garrard did an OUTSTANDING job last year considering the circumstances.
I also realize he is 31 years old and we need to prepare for the future, but MARK MY WORDS...if we use our first round pick (in the top 10 no less) on a quarterback, the city will officially know that the Jacksonville Jaguars are "REBUILDING."
Blackouts & disinterest will quickly follow. Unless a STUD like Matthew Stafford somehow falls in our laps, I hope we trade down. Accumulate more picks, then draft the best DL or WR available.
2) The team is coming out & saying we will only draft "character" guys...I know what you are saying. "Didn't you previously say that was a good thing?" First of all...Don't you question me...I'm the writer!!!
Secondly, and more seriously, you should always release bad characters, but you should NEVER paint yourself into a corner. When you say that character will come into play in your draft decisions, you have just told 31 other teams that there are players that you won't touch.
That is the equivalent to showing your cards at the poker table. Why should a team trade-up to take B.J. Raji when they already know the Jaguars won't draft a player who failed a drug test. It just isn't good business.
3) Tra Thomas & Sean Considine....Wow!!! Can you just feel the excitement!!! This is the entire offseason free-agent signings of the Jacksonville Jaguars. Makes you want to rush out & get a second job so you can afford to...buy the NFL package to watch other teams!! That is why no matter what Torry Holt wants, GIVE IT TO HIM!!
I know we got burned by Jerry Porter last year but that is because the Jacksonville Jaguars can be VERY STUPID sometimes. Porter is a malcontent, in his past, currently, & he's probably pissing someone off at a coffee shop right now. He always had a "Me First" mentality & was constantly hurt.
So guess what...He got his $16 MILLION in the bank, got hurt, became a distraction in the locker room, & pissed off his teammates, coaches, and an entire city. YOU GOT WHAT YOU PAID FOR!!! Torry Holt is a GOOD GUY.
He has been excellent receiver for many years. He is known for mentoring young receivers. He is the kind of player the Jags used to sign (Clyde Simmons, Leon Searcy, Carnell Lake, & Hardy Nickerson for example).
Like Fred Taylor, I believe he has a couple years left in him. So please Jags...I'm begging you...Sign him!!
So that's where I stand on the Jags right now. If I were the GM this is what I would do:
1) Sign Torry Holt, then sign Mike Furrey to a low incentive-based contract to complete a veteran WR base. Look for the FASTEST WR you can get in the second or third round of the draft. No more slow & tall possession guys please!
2) Draft the best DT available unless you can trade down to get more picks. You went nuts with the cutting stick this offseason...We need more bodies. You do better with second and third round picks anyway!!
3) Look into defensive secondary free agents that just completed four-year contracts, didn't stand out, and weren't resigned. Bring them in & see if you can find a diamond in the rough. I want to see so many players at our first camp that it looks like a Bon Jovi concert!
4) Whoever we draft, get assurance that we will not be dealing with any hold-outs. Derrick Harvey (a DAMN GATOR) held the Jags & it's fans hostage last year for such a prolonged period that his rookie year was a wash. Don't let it happen again.
5) PAY MAURICE JONES-DREW. He is the only player on our roster that is known outside our state. He shows up for every game. He's a GOOD GUY. I mean it...SIGN HIM!!!!
There are a lot of things that need to happen to the Jaguars before we will be competitive again in a very tough division. We may not just finish fourth, we may be the fourth-rated team.
I will remind Jaguars management of something that I believe they have misunderstood. I know the major reason we sold out Jacksonville Stadium in the beginning was because of pre-sold seating & a new team excitement.
What I believe management has overlooked is that the fans RESPECTED our earlier rosters. It was filled with castoffs, under-achievers looking for a new start, & veterans playing out the string while mentoring the rookies.
You know what though...they cared. They played entire games. They looked PISSED when they lost. I miss that & I'm sure I'm not alone.
I hope management keeps making the right moves that motivates fans to come to the games before I have to buy the NFL package so I can keep up with the "Los Angeles Jaguars"...God I hope not!