For every positive, there is a negative. For every advancement, there is a retreat. Every up has a down side. These are the realities of life, and the roster maneuvers for the Jacksonville Jaguars this offseason have the potential to succeed wildly, or fail miserably.
The team has made several significant moves this year that have the possibility of proving to be brilliant moves that will lead to a quick turnaround, or they could wind up being bad decisions that leave the team searching for answers.
Among these moves, they have drafted potential fixtures at left and right tackle, released one of the Jaguars few potential hall of fame candidates, put their faith in a 5'7" running back to be the face of the franchise, and decided to avoid targeting a long term solution at quarterback.
Each decision has the potential to be the key factor in either making or breaking the Jaguars in 2009.
So, if one decision stands above all others as being the move that could wind up being the tipping point for the team going one way or the other, which one is it?
The debates will rage on for months, but in the end what happens on the field will give a clear indication about what worked and what did not.
What move this year could be the impetus for a quick turnaround?
There are plenty of options to select from, but in the end it will be the improvements in the passing game that will determine success and failure for the Jaguars. The one move that could prove to benefit the team the most is the decision to upgrade the receiving corps through subtraction. While technically this is actually a block of moves, in reality it is just one single maneuver deftly executed by a brand new General Manager.
Gene Smith had a problem on his hands with distractions and disappointments in the locker room, and the bulk of these came from the receiving corps in 2008.
The team did itself no favors by bringing in Jerry Porter based on his track record in Oakland. His attitude was well documented there, but the general consensus was that a change of scenery would prove itself beneficial for the angst filled receiver.
Unfortunately, that proved to be misguided logic, and Porter’s attitude eventually bubbled to the surface after a hamstring injury turned into a frustrating year.
Matt Jones was back, but he was dealing with the ramifications of a drug arrest prior to the start of training camp that left the coaches disappointed, the fans disenchanted, and the locker room distracted.
Reggie Williams was coming off of a season where he set a franchise record for touchdown receptions, but his yardage and other stats were still a disappointment. Wide speculation surrounded his future and whether or not he had one in Jacksonville beyond 2008.
Gene Smith has moved quickly to fix the issues and fill the holes left by dumping the players who proved to be major disappointments. After releasing Jerry Porter and Matt Jones, and allowing Reggie Williams to leave in free agency, the roster purge was completed.
When the dust settled, Dennis Northcutt was the only receiver remaining who had been a significant contributor in 2008. Mike Walker was the most talented receiver on the team.
Since then, the Jaguars made moves to sign veteran receiver Torry Holt, and they drafted two prospects in April.
The significance of the moves is readily apparent. Every one of the new players in the receiving corps showed an eagerness to dig into the play book and start the process of becoming intimately familiarized by the scheme. That is a major shift in attitude from the more laid back approach Reggie Williams and Matt Jones had become infamous for in past years.
If the Jaguars do see a significant change in fortunes in 2009 for the positive, the moves made to fix the problems with the receiving corps will wind up being the lynch pin in turning things around quickly.
Next up: the move that could break the team in 2009.