Dawn of a New Era in Jacksonville
I'm about 80% sure that Vic Ketchman went to the top of the mountain again with his most recent story at Jaguars.com. If anyone must suffer for the Jaguars excesses and sins, it's our dear friend Vic, who's on the receiving end of fan vitriol each and every day. While he attempts to hold his head high and be the voice of reason, he's also as guilty as anyone else at One Stadium Place for the irrational exuberance of last season. He, like the rest of us, went along for the ride of Porter's minicamp, Williamson's flashes, and the mistaken idea that the Jaguars were Super Bowl contenders.
But, like the phoenix rising from the ashes, Vic and the Jaguars have decided to cast off their prior mistakes and relics of previous eras and move on, eyes forward, into the future. In many ways, the article Vic writes continues the approach that we've been dreaming of all along. The Jaguars, as Vic writes, were never a player or two away, because no serious contender is a player or two away, it's all about depth baby, depth.
It won't be easy, not one bit. Letting go of Fred Taylor was painful and hard, but ultimately the right thing to do. Cutting Porter and Florence was a more obvious right thing to do, but sent the message that the 2009 Jaguars are not the 2008 version.
The test of purity for Gene Smith and Co will be the draft, when they are challenged to stick to their best available player strategy no matter what the team lacks on the roster. Will they take a Quarterback over a left tackle? Will they take a Wide Receiver over a Defensive Lineman? If they're staring at Percy Harvin in the early 2nd but still have a gaping hole on the offensive line after taking B.J. Raji, do they take Percy and hope for something later, or do they reach a bit.
Every sign, every indication, every clue we've been given by the Jaguars since Gene took over is that they're sticking to the plan. I've got little reason to think that they'll stray from that as we get closer to draft day. They flirted with a few other free agents, but ultimately elected (so far) to stick with Sean Considine at safety and get back to breaking down tape for the draft.
Now, it's up to us, the fan community, to rally around what's happening and get excited again. It's not going to be exciting if you're expecting to see greatness on the field in 2009, but if you can take a step back and realize what's being constructed, every snap, every play, ever block and every tackle is an audition for the 2010 or 2011 Super Bowl Champion Jacksonville Jaguars. This season we're laying the foundation for something special.
So have faith, watch the rest of the league spend crazy money to put their team "over the top" watch the Jaguars build for the future. It won't always be fun, but with great sacrifice comes great reward, I guarantee it.