There is simply no other way around it.
"What we have is a good, solid, tough defensive lineman who is about 6′5″, 285 and he plays hard," Del Rio said. "So let’s appreciate what he is and stop worrying about whether he’s measuring up to a standard that has been set by somebody else beside me, Gene Smith or his teammates. Once we do that, we’ll be in better shape."
"He’s going to grow into a 280, 285-pound body. He’s got tremendous closure on the quarterback. He’s played his best football in big games,"
I'm not a terribly reactive person. I can sit back and appreciate the big picture and take it all in. I believe in the "10,000 foot perspective", where judgment and analysis are tempered from the day to day moments. But today's comments by Del Rio broke my soul. If we accept Del Rio's premise that Derrick Harvey is not a fast edge rusher but a "rugged player", then Harvey joins the ranks of Reggie Williams, Matt Jones, Marcades Lewis, and Reggie Nelson, athletic project players who, to date, have not lived up to any expectations. When we lauded Reggie Williams as the best run-blocking Wide Receiver in the game, that's a bad thing. When UCLA's pass catching machine is heralded as the "Next Kyle Brady", there's a problem. When we're scheming Reggie Nelson away from Reggie Wayne and to Sean Considine, there's an issue, and when Derrick Harvey is "just a tough player" at end and that expectations for sacks are our unrealistic, then there's nearly a decade of bad first round draft picks. I'm not going to even mention Byron Leftwich and the six years of first round prospects that the Jaguars have passed on in order to take this amalgamation of talent and potential.
Derrick Harvey, not expected to be a sack machine, that's rich Jack. It's one thing to admit that you've failed in identifying and developing a player to put the team in a position to win, it's another thing entirety to blame the media, the fans, and even your assistant coaches for the lack of performance by Harvey. Gene may have the Conn, but there's an anchor on this team, and I've come around the realization that Jack Del Rio is no longer the man for the job. We've had too many missed opportunities to build a legitimate roster and develop into a powerhouse. I'm sorry for the doom and gloom, but there's one element left of the James Harris era that's still lingering, and that's Coach Del Rio.
I'm expecting backlash for this, but the facts are there. Jack Del Rio has not put this team in a position to compete. How sad is it that we joke amongst ourselves about the importance of the Jaguars 2nd round draft picks. When we drafted Derek Cox and gave up our 2nd pick in next years draft, I dreaded the thought of losing the one consistent bright spot in our draft. It's like I've already given up on whoever we take first overall.
I'm dreadfully frustrated with Jack, as you can tell. He is already on the defensive, managing expectations, getting into the head of Harvey and Garrard, and it's not what I expected out of a developmental year. This is a time for the team to grow and turn into something special, not a time for the head coach to dig himself in and insulate himself from expectations. Frankly, he needs to grow up and face the fact that he's as much responsible for the direction of the team as anyone, he was part of the decision making trifecta and should be held accountable. If that means a sudden and rapid change at the top, than so be it.