With the end of the Super Bowl came a terrible realization, that the long avoided NFL off season is here, we won't have another football game of any sort for at least six months, and it's not until September that we'll have a game that matters. The league has the right idea with expanding the season to 17 games, but even with another week, we'll still have six months to salivate over what our Jaguars will do to move up to the next level.
Think of it this way, our season ended just a few short weeks ago. Imagine being a Dolphins fan and have been thinking about next season since week three. I don't know what I'd do with all that forward thinking.
But you know what, it's not over. In some sense, it's only just begun. While the demise of the New England Patriots might be greatly exaggerated, they teach us a lesson in how restocking your team in the off-season can produce fantastic results on the field. Of course, we won't have the same free agent crowd that gave the Patriots Randy Moss AND Wes Welker, but it's proof that a good team can get better with well planned additions.
You could retort that all the money and talent accumulated by the Patriots was ultimately worthless, as they did not win the big prize, but that's really a matter of expectations. With New England, anything less than a title is a complete and absolute failure. If Jacksonville were to win 18 games and lose the Super Bowl next year, we'd be pretty damn pleased, just cause we'd accomplish something huge. It's an expectations game, and while I'd never advocate lowering your standards for the Team, there's a difference in a roster full of veterans and expensive free agent acquisitions like in New England and a young team on the rise in Jacksonville. Expectations are different.
That said, it's time to look at what our Jaguars should do in order to make the jump from playoff contender to Super Bowl Winner. This is going to be a long process, to be attacked slowly and methodically. The NFL Off-season is by no means a simple process. It requires an understanding of the Salary Cap, franchise and transition tags, the minutiae of contracts, types of bonuses, etc.
But have no fear, Big Cat Country will walk us through every step of the way. We'll keep track of the league calendar, so we know when to expect something to happen. We'll correspond with college scouts to get the scoop on who we might draft and what to expect out of our likely picks. We'll explore free agency, see who's gonna hit the market and who's painfully out of reach.
But most importantly, we'll talk about the Jaguars during the long boring off-season where our team is often ignored and forgotten.
So smile, relax, and let's start thinking about the upcoming Free Agency period.
Which, for the record, means that the next important date is Feb. 7-21: Teams Designate Franchise and Transition Players.
So the free agency picture will get a little more clear. Those of you longing for Jared Allen or Julius Peppers, be warned, both are probable "tag guys".
Tomorrow, we begin our breakdown by looking at our own roster, starting with the Defensive Line!