Jacksonville Jaguars owner Wayne Weaver met with the media yesterday to discuss his decision to retain current head coach Jack Del Rio. Del Rio was originally scheduled to meet with the media on Monday at 2:00 P.M., but his meeting with Wayne Weaver forced that press conference to be postponed until today at 10:30 A.M. After their meeting, Weaver met with the media to discuss his decision and answer some questions.
"One of the players I have great respect for said, 'I hope we're not having to start over. This team is this close to becoming a real good football team. Starting over would set the team back.''' said Weaver. "I don't look for players to make decisions, but it makes sense and comes from the heart. He was saying that because he really believes a new system would set the team back."
Many players voiced their approval of Del Rio on Monday afternoon. "The players like Jack, we like what he brings to the table. It's just a matter of executing better. They call the plays and we're supposed to execute them," kicker Josh Scobee told Tania Ganguli of The Florida Times-Union. "There's no one call out there that coaches make that dictate the outcome of the game. The players that are on the field, we're the guys who are making them or not making them. That's my thought process regardless of what sport you play. Phil Jackson's a great coach, but he's also had great players to help him win championships," cornerback Rashean Mathis added.
The player support for Jack Del Rio was universally supportive. ""If you replace a coach you're basically going back to Step 1," guard Uche Nwaneri told Ganguli.
"I believe with every fiber in my body that this team is an ascending team and we will be in the playoffs next season. I don't think there's any doubt about it,'' Weaver told the media. This is very similar to the charge Weaver gave Jack Del Rio last off-season, but Weaver says he saw progress. He said when he made the claim last year it was a little bit of bravado, but he sincerely hopes to makes the playoffs in 2011. "If we're not in the playoffs, it's pretty apparent that we will have a different coach,'' Weaver said towards the end off the press conference.
Question's arose for a concrete reason Weaver chose to keep Del Rio after he was asked to plead for his job for the second season in a row. Many in the media, blogosphere, and fans believed it had to do with the fact that Wayne Weaver still owed Jack Del Rio $10 million over two-years on his remaining contract. "No, money had nothing to do with it," Weaver said.
One of the most interesting notes of the press conference was when Weaver said that Del Rio was being evaluated on a 2-year basis and not on his 8-year tenure. "There's no point in looking back. We made a conscious decision to dismantle our roster," Weaver said.
None of the Jaguars assistant coaches contracts were rolled over, as they typically are on a year-to-year basis. This means they all will be working on 1-year contracts, so don't be too shocked if a few bolt for other offers when they arise.
"I've made bad decisions in my life but I wouldn't be sitting here if I didn't make a lot more good ones than bad ones." Weaver said. "Fans are going to have to trust me."