(While I have been commenting a bit as of late on the site, I have been focusing most of my time preparing for my 3rd actuarial exam. Having just finished taking it today, I finally had some time now to post these thoughts that have been going through my mind as of late)
If you recall my “9/11 post” I discussed how I envisioned the ownership and coaching changes as a potentially monumental moment in Jaguars history and that we as fans might someday look back on those 2 moves and see the beginning of the success of this team as stemming from those days. As much as I still think that Khan will turn out to be a phenomenal owner, I am definitely convinced that the “turning point” for this franchise is not yet behind us.
I recall when Gene Smith was hired how excited I was, and how I was convinced that following the brutal moves that went down under Shack Harris’ regime, Gene would bring a new mentality to this team and prove to be a great General Manager. Up until recently, I was still not entirely convinced that I was so wrong. However, as I came to my senses, it became apparent to me that Gene Smith might actually be worse than Shack Harris, if only because of the expectations for improvement over Shack as well as the infamous “In Gene We Trust” slogan that became so popular.
As I have made known on this site, I am very much in favor of unconditionally firing Gene Smith at the end of the season, and looking elsewhere for a new GM. In an attempt to help prevent a future letdown similar to the one that ensued with Gene Smith, I figured I would detail, what in my mind are some important traits of the future GM.
(A) He cannot be someone who is currently affiliated with the Jacksonville Jaguars
a. This team is a disaster right now and as much new blood as humanly possible should be brought in to help turn this debacle around. Gene worked for the Jaguars during Shack’s tenure and look where this team is now. They are still a bad team with not a whole lot of reasons to be hopeful
b. To expand on the “as much new blood as humanly possible should be brought in” part, this does not only apply to the GM and front office. While I definitely am referring to the coaches (some of whom I actually think are doing a good job), with regard to one “QB bust”, I still think it would be insane to totally get rid of him. As I have advocated previously, and will still be advocating for the future barring some really terrible performances during the remainder of the season, a legitimate competition for the starting job should be established with an early-mid round QB being drafted.
(B) He cannot simply be a scout
a. The role of an NFL GM is more than just being able to scout and draft really well. I will admit that those two things are extremely important, but there is still more to being a GM. Gene Smith was a scout par excellence, and look where that has gotten this team. In fact, I might suggest that not one “great” team in the NFL today has a GM who is almost exclusively thought of as an excellent scout.
b. While each and every NFL team has different structuring of management, I think that finding a guy who has familiarity with the scouting side of things as well as the “football operations” side of things would be a huge positive.
(C) He must have a track record of success but it should not be too big
a. This one might be a bit perplexing, and so I let me explain what I mean. You obviously want a guy who has proven to be very good at what he does. However, I am not entirely certain that you want an “old” guy who has been very good at what he has done for very long, and yet has never taken the next step.
b. To go one step further, even if there might be a person out there who has been a GM and has built successful teams, I am not sure he would prove to be the best candidate for the job.
i. To stop beating around the bush, let me say it straight out that Bill Polian is not the man for the job. He may have done nicely prior to his Indy days, but he was just not very good as Indy GM, despite having a guy like Peyton Manning penciled in as his QB. Furthermore, it is of my opinion that the game of football is changing, and I am not sure a guy like Polian would be able to thrive in successfully building a team that could thrive in the NFL as it is today.