The Jacksonville Jaguars are entering a rebuilding phase in 2013 after the last "rebuild" attempt failed under general manager Gene Smith. New general manager David Caldwell is now tasked with building the franchise in the image he sees fit, with the blessing of owner Shad Khan and the understanding that it's not going to be an easy or quick fix.
Gather all the young ones and listen as we tell, of days of old when the earth was whole before the hammer fell. Once there were cities, of steel and glass and stone, where now lie only ruins of dust and ash and bone.
Prior to the start of free agency the Jaguars released veteran safety Dawan Landry and cornerback Aaron Ross, which led to some confusion from the Jaguars fan base as to what the team was planning to do going forward, because it also looked as if the team was going to lose some other veterans in free agency, such as cornerback Derek Cox, leaving the team with just four total defensive backs on the roster.
The people of the old world growing fat and blind, exalted thieves, fools and liars ignoring every sign. Then came days of darkness. Then came nights of flame. They knew their world was ending and they wept in fear and shame.
One of the biggest mistakes the franchise made in the past while "rebuilding" is refusing to admit where they were at. Instead of actually rebuilding, the team tried to do two things at once. The Jaguars front office tried to field a playoff caliber team while at the same time rebuilding a roster, and that just doesn't work.
When Gene Smith took over the front office didn't want to admit to themselves they needed to actually rebuild, but they did things that signaled rebuilding. The team purged bad contracts, but they also signed big contracts in free agency and clung to players that were clearly on their decline. The team also seemingly failed to try to address the most important part of a rebuild, which is getting a quarterback, until their hand was forced in 2010.
Now we few remain to keep the fires alight. All is as it should be. All is set to rights. Now there are no cities. No tyrants and no slaves. The old world lies in ruins, a new one in its place.
If you read the tea leaves for the Jaguars heading into 2013, it's going to be an "eat year" in the rebuilding process. The team has new guard in place and will be built how they want, to fit the scheme they want, etc.
The offensive and defensive line need to be rebuilt.
Barring a massive step forward from Blaine Gabbert, they'll need to find their quarterback of the future in the next two seasons, because without the quarterback you're never going to finish rebuilding.
The 2013 Jaguars are going to look much different than the 2012 Jaguars, and that's exactly how it should be. It's not that Caldwell and staff aren't trying to win in 2013, it's that they're trying to win in 2014, 2015, 2016, etc. They're trying to build for the long haul and when you do that you have to make tough decisions. You have to cut some players. You have to take a few punches to the gut.
Gather all the young ones and make them listen well, of days of old when the earth was whole before the hammer fell.
There hasn't been many franchises or fan bases who've taken as many gut punches as Jaguars fans, but we have to understand what's going on here. We're trying to get back to what it was in the 1990's.
The sustained success.
I know it's tough to head into a season supporting a team you know probably isn't going to win many games, but it's for the better. They new regime is admitting what they have, which is something the old one failed to do. I don't know if Caldwell and Gus Bradley will be successful, but I understand it's not a quick fix situation. Patience has been asked and shown by this fan base and all we want is a winner, and if all goes to plan that will happen.
Enjoy watching the team grow this season and remember the big picture, however.