I was dreaming of playoff glory for the Jaguars as I was watching the Jets- Patriots game last night, and after the Jets won and I had watched all the postgame interviews and analysis I was thinking about the recent cries from a large number of our fellow Jaguar fans who had been calling for Jack DelRio's firing. The thing that made me think of the JDR job situation here in Jacksonville was my buddy (who was down from NY to visit and was watching the game with me) was telling me before the game that he "knew the Jets would win". I asked why he thought that - since the Pats had crushed them in Gillette just a month before. He responded that he knew that Rex Ryan had the right gameplan, but the Jets didn't execute in the previous game but they would in the playoff game. Then, in the postgame presser LB Bart Scott said: the plan was basically the same as in the Monday Night loss, we just executed it this time.
That's when it hit me: it really is about players, not plays. We can blame JDR and Dirk Koetter all we want, but if the players aren't executing the gameplan - are the coaches really at fault? It's easy to lay the blame at the feet of the coach when a season falls short of the playoffs, but isn't that failure really on the players? If Koetter designs a play where Jason Hill is open across the middle, but the pass is over his head - didn't DK do his job correctly? If, on third down, our defense allows a pass to be caught short of the sticks, but the tackle is missed - isn't that on the defender, not JDR or Mel Tucker? My point is, last year the Jets almost missed the playoffs and still made the AFC Championship Game. During the time when they thought they were not going to postseason, Jet fans were clamoring for Rex's head. They wanted him gone. Now with some tweaking and new additions they are in back to back AFC Championship Games. Maybe keeping JDR and allowing the young guys to learn and buy into his system, and adding good players through drafting and smart free agency moves, our Jaguars will rise to the top.