USA TODAY Sports
David Caldwell approaches Free Agency and the NFL Draft as the Jaguars' Face of the Franchise.... at least behind the scenes. Turning such a negative season into a positive future requires some fresh perspective, and Caldwell seems primed to deliver.
Taking over an NFL franchise remains one of the toughest jobs in sports. Each new General Manager attempts to change their team as quickly as possible to fit the look they find to be the most competitive, both on and off the field. Caldwell took the logical approach of forming a relationship based on strong communication with the Head Coach of his choice-Gus Bradley. Together, these two men decided on a path for the football team and plan to get there as soon as possible.
The initial transformation process includes: reviewing game tape from the last few seasons in order to determine who to keep and who to cut, working with current personnel to fit new schemes, addressing key positions both through the Free Agency Period and the NFL Draft, and taking risks on uncertain commodities through the draft.
Certain GM's also find themselves to be strapped early on by a bad cap situation. This proves detrimental to building a franchise in the early years as the initial goal of any starting GM stands to eliminate the negatives from the previous regime, then build positive perspective and orientation for the franchise. Winning cures all ailments on the football field and Caldwell can initiate that winning with smart moves regarding the roster.
Caldwell may begin to eliminate more and more players before the draft arrives with full force. This early elimination process will be player-specific and could be due to a highly negative locker room presence, a bad scheme fit or possibly a bad contract situation. Teams that hire a new GM usually require this complete overhaul as the team wasn't in a winning position beforehand--thus the new GM.
Caldwell correctly believes in ridding the franchise of all major ties to the previous regime and completely restarting the franchise, as shown by the quote below:
“When I talked to Shad in terms of a culture change along the football side I felt like it was more of that. I felt like it was an atmospheric change. I felt like that to do that, you’ve got to have a fresh start across the board.”
Caldwell needs, at minimum, two season for the fanbase to accurately gather an idea for how the team plays with his fingerprint atop the logo. With owner Shad Khan seemingly putting every bit of time, money, and energy he can spare into pushing this franchise forward, Caldwell vitually moves forward without limitation.
So far, Caldwell comes across as nothing but the right choice to lead the Jaguars into the future. He seems a very capable, experienced man and I urge the fanbase to continue to give him the same strong backing throughout the upcoming season, regardless of outcome. Caldwell inherited a roster that, across all positions, couldn't be considered even average talent.
Fixing the Jaguars will take time, luckily the Jaguars picked this guy to lift the hood and start the repair.
“I learned about Shad’s automobile history here. I know one thing; out of 1,000 parts he makes, he doesn’t make rear view mirrors. We’re not looking in the past, we’re only looking forward.”
I like to think things have already gotten better in J-ville.
One final point, Caldwell addressed the quarterback situation many times. There are the constant reminders that competition will be enforced at every position throughout the process of turning this franchise around. So look for talent to be brought in at nearly every opporunity. Look for draft picks that may not immediately make sense, though I would feel comfortable assuming Caldwell wants to gather as much value as possible for the #2 pick--be that a trade or a drafted player. Then, the fan-favorite, the "Even if he's released" moment regarding Tim Tebow. Tebow will not be a part of any QB competition in Jacksonville while Caldwell reigns.
Enjoy the future under Caldwell, Jaguars fans! It seems to be worth watching.