Jacksonville Jaguars head coach Jack Del Rio, who took over the job in 2003 after former head coach Tom Coughlin parted ways with the organization, signed a five-year contract extension last Thursday.
Although his salary was not disclosed, it is expected to be a substantial jump from his original five-year $6.5 million dollar deal.
Despite those numbers, however, his job was in danger at the start of the 2007 season after the team self destructed at the end of 2006, finishing 8-8 and missing the playoffs after going 12-4 in 2005.
When asked if he thought the Jaguars could be Super Bowl contenders in 2008, Jaguars owner Wayne Weaver said "We believe the arrow is up and we be able to compete at the very highest level this year".
Del Rio had some comments of his own, saying that "The key is to build a strong team that can make it to the playoffs on a yearly basis".
Del Rio has done a very good job of doing just that, and the Jaguars have made the playoffs two of their last three seasons under his stead.
When he came to the Jaguars from the Ravens in 2003, he was faced with uncertainties at quarterback and major salary cap problems.
The salary cap issues started when the Jaguars "over pursued" the Super Bowl after losing two AFC championship games in four years while under the rule of Tom Coughlin.
With Del Rio's extension out of the way, the Jaguars are attempting to close the deal on a contract extension for quarterback David Garrard.
Garrard, who has been with the team since 2002, was backing up first round draft choice Byron Leftwich until the start of the 2007 season when coach Del Rio made the decision to cut Leftwich and make Garrard the starter.
The move paid off big time, as Garrard compiled a 102.2 passer rating while throwing 18 touchdowns and just three interceptions in his first full season as a starter.
With these two major moves and a few other tweaks, the Jaguars are attempting to put themselves in position to challenge the long-reigning AFC South Champs, the Indianapolis Colts, for divisional supremacy.
"I truly believe we can do that," said Wayne Weaver when asked if he thought the Jaguars would be able to give the Colts a run for their money this season.
The fans of the Jaguars would like to think so too, Mr. Weaver.
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