It has been so long, I think we have forgotten. We have forgotten what a full, loud stadium feels like. We have forgotten the love of a city for their team. We don’t remember what it was like to have the Jaguars be the focus of excitement. I think it is time to remember because I think those days are returning.
I have written for awhile about the spirit of this team and how I think they have turned a corner. I have felt it at mini-camp. People showed up ready to play in May. Many of these players have dedicated their off-season toward preparation and improvement.
Jack Del Rio was at the Times Union in a Team Teal rally a few weeks ago. He said this team will have a nasty defense. Nasty in a good way. Gerald Alexander was taking calls on Pete Prisco’s radio program last week. A caller said “Do you hope to be an every down safety?” Gerald interrupted him and said “I am an every down safety”. He also said people are worried about the secondary, but there is no need to worry. The backfield is loaded with talent and they will prove it.
David Garrard spent his off-season working out, both by himself and with his receivers. In short, there was no off-season for many of these guys. They are waiting to play the game.
I firmly believe the fans are responding as well. Ticket sales will be strong. The stadium will be filled and the games will be on television. Zoltan is preparing an article about the start of the season. No more will the Jaguars stumble out of the gate and let Indianapolis have free run. I believe Rashean Mathis will not hold out in camp but come back and show why he deserves a strong contract.
The worst moment in Jaguar history was 2009 opening game when the Jaguars were booed off the field at half time. There was about 44,000 angry people there. I know that hurt Wayne Weaver. I know that experience burned deeply. I was there, it wasn’t pretty.
But I think that is long gone now. Gene Smith and Wayne Weaver remember what it was like. This town is recovering from a devastating economic blow. Both Jacksonville and the Jaguars are coming back. They are both showing an incredible resolve. Good times are going to return. The stadium will be the place to feel it.
Things are different. The ship is being righted. Things are going to be like they were. I know many of you don’t believe me. I understand that. But don’t let go of hope. We love this team and they love us. This season will prove it. When enough people want it to happen and spend their time making it happen, it works. Tony Boselli has done his job, Gene has done his job. Wayne Weaver is doing his job and we are doing ours. All you have to do is come out and enjoy. See you at the stadium!
- Terry O’Brien