By: James Johnson (@J_1010xl)
Sunday, it was announced by Adam Schefter that the Jaguars would be relieving Gene Smith of his duties as GM. The move comes as no surprise as the Jags finished their 2012 season 2-14, a franchise low, losing their final game to the Titans with a score of 20-38. Since taking over as GM in 2009, the Jaguars have had records of 7-9, 8-8 in 2010, and 5-11 last year. On top of never having a winning record, Smith has failed miserably in drafting (which I've said countless times) and free agency. With all of that taken into account, I'm sure I won't hear a single argument when I say, it's time. Smith met with owner Shad Khan today and Schefter's annoucment is now official. As for head coach Mike Mularkey and his staff, their fate will be decided by Smith's replacement according to Schefter's report. Two of the names that Schefter mentioned as possible GM candidates for the Jags are those of Jason Litch, who is currently the director of player personnel for the Arizona Cardinals, and Tom Gamble, who serves as the same role for the San Fransisco 49ers. Gamble, however, is a name that has been associated with the Jags heavily in the past weeks as Gene Smith has been long expected to be fired. According to Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports, Gamble has been a name highly recommended to Shad and Tony Khan, who want to move forward using a new analytic revolution used by the 49ers, Patriots, and Ravens to name a few. It's an approach that Gamble is familiar with being that he currently works with the 49ers.
So I know most of you want to know about Gamble and his body of work. Don't worry over--the weeks I've been doing my homework on Gamble and a few others that most expected that the Jaguars would be looking for a GM.
Gamble's resume: Gamble has been with the 49ers for 7 seasons. Prior to earning his current position, his job was to oversee the rosters of the other 31 teams in the NFL and scout those in free agency. To my knowledge, he was given added responsibilities as a college scout in 2010 and became director of player personnel in 2011. He has worked closely with the 49ers current GM, Trent Baalke. Prior to working with the 49ers, Gamble was a scout for Bill Polian and the Colts from 1998 till 2004. It's been said that Gamble's scouting was the key to the success of the Colts in the early 2000's and that when he left, Bill Polians draft classes suffered in the process. As a result of losing Gamble, Polian was ultimately fired in 2012 as the team went 2-14. Below are some notable works of Gamble after leaving the Colts organization.
The 49ers picked up both DE Justin Smith and NT Isaac Sopoaga in 2008 via free agency. Both are currently on the roster and starters to one of the most feared defenses in the league. I could make the argument that Justin Smith is one of the best free agent pickups of this decade as he's been a vital piece to the 49ers relentless defense for years and has become one of the best defensive players in the NFL. Since being picked up, Smith has gone to the pro-bowl 4 times. The following year, Takeo Spikes was added to the roster through free agency and fulfilled his contract with the team and helped them to be one of the more stout defenses in the league.
In 2010 Gamble was given the responsibility of college scouting along with his other duties. That year they drafted both Anthony Davis and Mike Iupati in the first round to bolster their offensive line and, as of today, both are still starters of one of the better offensive lines in the league. Iupati was named to the pro-bowl this year along with MLB Navorro Bowman, who was the team's third round pick that year. As we all know, Bowman is one of the best young and rising players in the league. They also drafted a key contributor in WR Kyle Williams and RB Anthony Dixon in the sixth round of the 2010 draft as well.
The 2011 draft to me is the most impressive body of work that Gamble has taken part in since working for the 49ers. The team named Trent Baalke their new GM and Jim Harbough their new head coach. They also named Gamble the director of player personnel in the process. Under his new position, the team drafted both Aldon Smith and Colin Kaepernick in rounds 1 and 2. This is especially important because Smith appears to be one of the best young pass rushers in the league and Kaepernick seems to be the guy the team wants to be their franchise QB. If Kaepernick does become the team's guy, that would mean the team acquired BOTH a franchise pass rusher and franchise QB in one draft, which are the two most premium positions in the draft. These are two positions the Jaguars have struggled to acquire while Gene Smith has been GM here, so to see another team acquire both in one draft is certainly worth noting. They also drafted key contributors in CB Chris Culliver and RB Kendall Hunter, both of whom were drafted in the third round. The team later went into the divisional round of the playoffs losing to the Giants--one win away from going to the Super Bowl in Gamble's first year as player personnel director.
The verdict on the 49ers' 2012 season is obviously still pending as the team drafted notable names A.J. Jenkins in the first round and Lamichael James in the second. It appears the team knew that they were just a few players away from becoming a legit Super Bowl contender as they added notable names like Randy Moss, Brandon Jacobs, and Mario Mannigham in free agency. All of these were moves that showed that Gamble and the 49ers had the mindset that they were very close to contending for the Lombardi and were willing to add the veterans necessary to get.
Stay tuned as the madness of Black Monday continues for the Jaguars. I will continue to give you all summaries of each GM candidate revealed this week.
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