Alfie’s post regarding the length of Gene Smith’s rope really has gotten me thinking the past few days. While I think Shad will give Gene at least another year after this one, I think I have concluded that I am not a fan of that move, and that is very well could be time for Gene to go after this season, regardless of the result.
As most people know, perhaps the single most important role for any GM is putting together a good draft class year in and year for his team. Free Agency is nice, but in the end it is more often than not $$ and player preferences that decide where a given Free Agent chooses to sign. On the other hand, when it comes to the draft, it is almost entirely on the GM to get the good players on his team.
When it comes to Gene Smith, I feel like he is just not all that great at this whole draft thing. He has made his “base hit” selections consistently, and is yet to really make that “home run selection” that pans out. To be very honest, I think Gene is almost totally risk averse which is not good when it comes to being a GM; the way I see it, a team built without taking risks will always be a consistently mediocre team. While I will not say that I think he is a terrible scout, I do think that other than his risk averseness, another major issue I have with him when it comes to the draft is his inability to feel out the market. I have said this before, but I feel like Gene does not get a sense of how other teams value certain players, and as a result spends higher draft selections on players when he could get these guys later. I cannot say that I know that with certainty, but I still feel like Cox and maybe even Pot Roast could have been had at least a round or two later than they were taken (just for fun, if you see who else could have been had that round, you find 2 very notable players in Mike Wallace and Ladarius Webb).
So the question now arises of who I think should take over as GM. I do not claim to be an expert on all the potential candidates, but I was talking to a Giants fan that made a comment that really stuck in my mind; we were discussing the Giants ability to draft and he mentioned how much Jerry Reese benefitted from working under Ernie Accorsi. This had me thinking that the best candidate is almost definitely working outside the organization, and very well might be working under one of the better GMs in the league. When I think of whom the top GMs are in the NFL, I think of what teams’ fans probably go into the draft year in and year out really confident that the team will come away with a strong draft class. The two teams that immediately come into mind are the previously mentioned Giants (with Jerry Reese as GM) and the Baltimore Ravens (with Ozzie Newsome as GM). Perhaps one of the guys working under these two guys could be the answer for the Jaguars GM position?!
On a totally different topic, the pass rush issues are also on my mind. While it probably is a very stupid conclusion, I think that unless substantial improvement is seen this year, Joe Cullen might be pretty quickly wearing out his welcome as D-Line coach. Am I thinking the coaching really is the issue? Not really sure, but I think that the most logical first step at this point is bringing in a new coach.