The Jacksonville Jaguars currently sit at 1-5 after the first six weeks of the season, which means they've tied the worst start in franchise history. It's a team that's playing solid defense, but has arguably the worst offense in the entire NFL. Yes, they are starting a rookie quarterback, but other teams in the same situation don't seem to be so inept moving the football and scoring points. Jaguars head coach Jack Del Rio isn't on the hot seat, he's standing in a blazing inferno.
This is the second time in Del Rio's career that a Jaguars team has started the season 1-5, the first time coming in 2003, Del Rio's first season as head coach. That season, the Jaguars wound up 5-11 and didn't pick up their second win of the season until Week 10. This Jaguars team is in the same situation, but I don't know if they can pick up a win Week 10 and Jack Del Rio may not even be on the sideline by then.
I don't want to turn this into a Fire Del Rio thing, but I think at this point it's inevitiable he's going to be fired be it at the bye week or at the end of the season. Firing Del Rio isn't going to fix this football team however, because not only does this football team lack adequate coaching, it lacks adequate talent at critical positions. When Jack Del Rio is fired, Jaguars owner Wayne Weaver needs to turn his gaze to general manager Gene Smith, who's been given full control of the roster since 2009 and do a serious evaluation of his performance.
I don't think Gene Smith has done a bad job per say, but I don't think he's really done a good job either. Yes, Gene Smith fixed the Jaguars defense, but he did it by shelling out money in free agency when he was billed as someone who was going to build through the draft. Eight of the eleven defensive starters were either on the roster when Smith took over or signed as free agents. Even though the defense is playing well, the biggest hole on the defense when Gene Smith took over is still there, a pass rushing defensive end. The best one on the team, Jeremy Mincey, was on the roster when Smith took over.
Yes, Gene Smith took over a bad football team in 2009 that swung for the fence in 2008 and struck out, but it shouldn't take this long to fix it. Not only is this roster not "fixed", but it's still got glaring holes that either haven't been addressed or have failed to fix. Namely, the wide receiver position. Since Gene Smith took over, the Jaguars have drafted four wide receivers, three are still on the roster and only one has any kind of impact.
The offensive tackle Gene Smith took with the 10th overall pick Eugene Monroe, while not a bad football player, is just an average left tackle. You need more than average when you're picking 10th overall. The cornerback Smith gave up a 2nd round pick to move up and get, Derek Cox, has also been just an average player who's missed time with injury in 2011 and quite frankly his absence isn't noticable. You want a guy you give up a future second round pick to be noticed when he's not playing. The other offensive lineman you drafted that year, Eben Britton, looks to have back issues now but also wasn't really playing that well and seemingly lost his job to an offensive tackle you picked up off another team's scrap heap and subsequently moved to guard to replace the other rookie offensive lineman Smith drafted, who's been downright awful.
Smith got good players in defensive tackle Terrance Knighton, Tyson Alualu, and Mike Thomas, but that's not enough. This 1-5 football team is full of Gene Smith players, you can't blame it on Shack Harris anymore. It's his quarterback (who I like), it's his wide receivers, and it's his offensive line. While he has built a solid defense through free agency, quite a bit of his draft picks leave a lot to be desired, especially for being as highly billed as he was. He missed on defensive ends, who while they were late round picks, were billed as starting caliber players. One was cut after his rookie season and the other struggles to get in on the rotation and plays special teams.
When Jack Del Rio is fired, Wayne Weaver is going to have to turn his attention to Gene Smith and ask himself if he is the man to build the Jaguars for the future. He may have hit on quarterback Blaine Gabbert, but quarterback was a position that had to be drafted this year. Gene Smith has had three offseasons to work, it shouldn't take this long to rebuild a roster. Guys Smith drafted in 2009 need to start showing significant improvement in 2011, their 3rd NFL season, and they aren't. The holes on this football team when he took over were cornerback, defensive end, wide receiver, and offensive line. The holes on this football team entering Week 7 of the NFL are cornerback, defensive end, wide receiver, and offensive line.