EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - SEPTEMBER 18: Jack Del Rio, head coach of the Jacksonville Jaguars watches during a game against the New York Jets at MetLife Stadium on September 18, 2011 in East Rutherford, New Jersey. (Photo by Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images)
It's only two weeks into the season and I don't want to say the season's lost, but it doesn't look good. It's two weeks removed from Jack Del Rio making the decision to cut David Garrard and go with Luke McCown and less than 24 hours removed from Luke McCown throwing 4 interceptions and being benched. The Jaguars should be and likely could be making their second quarterback move in as many weeks. Right now, the season looks like it will be in disarray.
I don't want this to seem like I'm overreacting to a loss, because I said all week I didn't think the Jaguars would win, but this is something I've said all offseason, especially after the draft.
The Jaguars should have blown it up in February and started over.
There was a "Jack Del Rio Job Watch" last February, as there was in the same time in 2010. I've said before I'm indifferent on the head coaching spot as is, but it's clear it's not working. Brian Fullford of JaguarsBlog.com wrote post-game that the team should fire Jack Del Rio. I don't necessarily agree with firing Del Rio prior to week 3 of the 2011 season, but I can get behind his premise. The team needs to move forward, as it stands Del Rio is more of a deadman walking.
Wayne Weaver said back in February that with an impending lockout, it didn't make a lot of sense to change the coaching staff and install a new system on short notice. While it made sense at the time, it doesn't make much sense now. The team has since cut their quarterback of the past five years and look to be getting ready to start the rookie they drafted in April. The defense sports nearly six new "starters" that are learning the system on the fly, as well as Mel Tucker being a "new" defensive coordinator.
What difference would it have made?
It would have been prudent for Weaver to make the decision in February to blow the team up and finally admit they're rebuilding, especially given the fact that the team drafted a quarterback in the top 10 and look to potentially be starting him in week 3 of the season. The team has operated under the false pretense that they can compete for the playoffs while in actuality they're still in the middle of rebuilding a team. Since general manager Gene Smith took over in 2009, the team has put forth the belief that they're not rebuilding, just retooling.
All that public belief does is frustrate fans, because the team is rebuilding, despite what they say publicly. This roster has gone massive overhauls at major positions with young players. It puts an unrealistic expectation on the team when you fail to admit the obvious. Really, the worst thing for the fans last year was the team getting a lot of luck, finishing 8-8 and a game away from the playoffs. The team overachieved and put unrealistic expectations on the team in 2011. Does anyone still think this is a playoff team... ? We told ourselves a lot of excuses in the preseason, but it's now week 2 of the regular season and things don't look great.
If the Jaguars would have simply admitted what was going on before the lockout, this would be easier. The team could have just started Blaine Gabbert out of the gate and gotten the growing pains over with. While they preached not "rushing" him into the fold, rookies Cam Newton and even Andy Dalton seem to have no problem playing at the NFL level. Is Gabbert any less prepared than Newton or Dalton? Both suffered the lockout and one team had a coaching change.
Instead of struggling to tread water, the team should have dove underwater and swam to shore.
Hopefully, the team bites the bullet and starts Blaine Gabbert going forward, but then you've got to deal with the inevitable coaching change for the 2012 season. As it stands, the Jaguars would be eating a season to deal with a coaching change in 2012. They could have killed two birds with one stone in 2011.
Going 6-10 when you've been fed all offseason that you're going to compete for the playoffs is infinitely more frustrating that going 6-10 with a new coaching staff and a rookie quarterback.