Few figures in the history of the Jacksonville Jaguars get the fans in more of a frenzy than Jack Del Rio. There are probably more unanswered questions about him as a coach today than there were the day he was hired. How is it that Tom Coughlin lasted less time than Del Rio despite a superior playoff record, 2 divisional titles, and 2 conference championship appearances? The answer is simple, Del Rio is still waiting on his shot, and he's about to get it.
It wouldn't be fair to say that Del Rio hasn't had a shot at all. In fact, he did have a few good years from 2005 to 2007. His playoff record as a head coach is an unimpressive 1-2, but those two losses were both at the hands of the Patriots. On top of that, he is the only head coach that has ever led his team to 2 victories at Pittsburgh in the same year. By the way, the Jets and the Ravens both had that opportunity this year, and they both failed. Has Del Rio's tenure as head coach of the Jaguars been great to this point? No, not really, but it can't be considered a failure either.
Del Rio is getting his first shot with a team that will not only get very good, but they will stay competitive. I promise, I'm not just drinking the Kool-Aid either. Gene Smith has been and will continue to assemble a young, talented team. It's up to Jack and friends to develop that talent into on the field performance. Derrick Cox is a great example of the work that the Jaguars coaches have invested in this team. He had a great first year, but he stumbled out of the gate in 2010. By the end of this season, however, Cox was playing the best football of his life. Gene Smith even called him the best DB on the team. It speaks volumes about the coaches that they were able to get him back on track in such a short span of time. He started, then he was benched, and then he replaced David Jones as the starter again. That's a lot for one season.
Jack Del Rio is the longest tenured coach in NFL history to not have a divisional title. Some say Wayne Weaver is too patient. Some say he's insane for expecting something different. I'm with Mr. Weaver. I don't think the Jaguars are beating their heads against a brick wall and expecting a different result. Jack Del Rio is loved by his players, and that can be a big deal. Ask Brad Childress. Don't be too hasty to judge a coach that has led his team to four 2nd place finishes within an eight year span. We have to remember that Tom Coughlin never coached against Peyton Manning.