Really, what does it do? Most decent coaches in the league wind up at around .500 in wins and losses. If you're looking for outliers, Belichek is a coaching genius and had a career 63% win ratio, and Tony Dungy has 66%. Let's be serious though, those guys are Hall of Fame coaches with a couple of all-time greats at QB for them. A better example would be Tom Coughlin, who coached the Jaguars for their first eight years of existence. He has a 55.4% win ratio, and he's a good coach. A super bowl winning coach. A coach who took a 2nd year franchise to the AFC championship game. Jack Del Rio is a .508 coach on an average team. Seriously, how much of a drop off is that, and how many more wins would a different coach have brought to the team? Of the guys out there, I'd imagine the difference is negligable.
Honestly, based on the talent of the teams he's dealt with, I think he's done an incredible job. Think about it: look at the Jaguars roster this. Half of those guys are castoffs and young guys. Now look at all the guys on IR and the injuries this team went through this year. Think of the 4th downs and good time management that led to the last minute wins. Del Rio should get a medal for getting this team to .500 this year. Go watch the "Hard Knocks" they did in for the Jags in 2003-04. I watched it and found myself really sad. If not for Byron Leftwich, Reggie Williams and Matt Jones, this team could have been great. We had the defense and a powerful running game. Then we collapsed in 2007 and never got the defense back. Still, for reasons I will explain, I think Wayne Weaver will have to fire Jack Del Rio.
I should have written this article before the game, but here it is now: It's not about the team, it's about the fans. I know that seems like a strange concept to some, but think about it: Head coaches don't really do much teaching of the players. Gene Smith runs the Jaguars draft, so Del Rio has very little say in personnel decisions. Del Rio doesn't call the plays on offense, Dirk Koetter does, and Dirk has done an excellent job. So what does Del Rio really do? He's a positive figure in the community. He gives us hope for the future of our team and leads them. The problem is, he hasn't led us to enough that can be measured.
How do you measure a successful team? If you measure it as being competitive, the Jaguars were competitive almost every year of Del Rio's tenure. The problem is that Del Rio didn't get us to the playoffs enough and we couldn't beat the Colts. Is that his fault or Peyton Manning's? Still, one playoff win in 8 years doesn't look good. Never mind that the team's roster collapsed in years 4 and 5, and that he's made the team competitive, even during rebuilding. Fans don't separate the first 6 years, where Del Rio was working with a bad GM and an old roster, from the last two where Del Rio has coached players with marginal talent to more thrilling wins than they could rightfully deserve. Del Rio is a good coach, but I believe he will be fired because of fans and appearances.
The Jaguars promised to turn over a new leaf and get back to winning ways. We replaced the GM and most of the players, but the Jaguars went from a promising 7-5 to a flailing 7-9. Forget that it was impossible to make the playoffs with so young a team, it's what we as fans expected. Again this year, Wayne Weaver asked for improvement for the fans' sake. Well, if you've replaced the GM and half of the team and nothing has changed, where do you go next? You tell the QB you need more out of him. Garrard rededicates himself and now who is left to blame when the team goes south in the last 3 games? The coordinators? Koetter did a great job of playcalling and Del Rio took some ownership of the defense on himself this year. The only person you can blame is the head coach. I don't think Del Rio is the problem, just the Goat. While it is unfortunate, the outcry is too strong for the team to keep Del Rio and tell the fans that Weaver is doing his best to give the city a winner. JDR will likely be fired soon, but it can't be helped. He had chances to save his career. Very slim ones, but chances. We gave him a half-court shot and he almost made it, but in the end he fell a little bit short. It's nobody's fault, it's just a move that, I think, will be made.