By: David Levin (@davidlevin71)
The Jaguars may be at the quarter mark of the season, but there is plenty that has already been determined about this team and this franchise - mainly the choices that have been made with drafting of players, free agency and roster moves since the end of the 2012 NFL year.
I am still a firm believer that the hiring of both David Caldwell and Gus Bradley are best for this team and this organization. I also believe that Shad Khan has this team’s best interest in mind. What I am worried about is the personnel decisions that have been made that seem to have forced the Jaguars to take a backstep or two. These decisions I am talking about are ones that may not have been made or ones that were avoided at the expense of saving money or keeping to a “profile” that has not proven to work yet.
Looking at the roster and how players have left this franchise for other teams, I can immediately say the failure to re-sign fullback Greg Jones and the decision to let Daryl Smith walk in free agency have hurt us the most in terms of locker room continuity. If the team could work hard to re-sign Brad Meester to a one-year deal to stay with the team, then they should have worked equally hard to sign two of the their most tenured players.
Winning football games is just as important in the locker room and training room as it is on the practice and playing field. The leadership this team lost from these two men can’t , hasn’t and won’t be replaced.
I waited a while to write this kind of blog, hoping a player like Maurice Jones-Drew, Uche Nwaneri or even Jason Babin would become the on-camera vocal leader of this club. That hasn’t happened. While we are still waiting for our “Ray Lewis” to appear from the shadows, Jones and Smith are having good years on teams that are better than ours.
It always seems to happen this way. Players (and coaches) leave our city and have great careers with other organizations. Come to think of it, Jack Del Rio is the latest individual to enjoy success away from EverBank Field as the defensive coordinator in Denver (without Von Miller).
The Jaguars will also be chastised for not going after Alex Smith, who is the best story in Kansas City, and not taking a swing at hometown favorite, defensive end Cliff Avril. Avril even hinted he would have liked to have come home to play football. Also, it must hurt that Avril and the Seahawks put 45 points on the board just two games ago.
This is a team that could have signed Tyson Clabo or Eric Winston to play on the offensive line and may be take a swing at Brandon Lloyd (he is still out there) to play receiver.
Instead, this is what we have, which is more dependent of the offensive line and quarterback positions being better in 2014. But as a writer and fan, don’t we think at some point, both Bradley and Caldwell have to take step back and say, “What could we have done to make this better?”
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