Stunning news came from the Jaguars front office. Among 6 players; the Jaguars released veteran DE Reggie Hayward. I was stunned; when I first read the official statement. Reggie was probably the best defensive end of this team in the last 2 years; and the front office went after him in this off-season; to get him back to the roster. So why Gene Smith let him go now?
I hope the answer is simple: the drafted rookies and Derrick Harvey are improving much better (under the hands of new D-line coach Joe Cullen) then anyone expected. I heard very good words about Larry Hart; and how he is improving. Derrick Harvey was another player I heard just as well of this off-season so far.
Let’s face it, it’s a young men’s game and we can not consider Reggie in the “young” category. He was a veteran leader in the locker room that’s for sure. But Gene Smith showed (for example by not re-signing Clint Ingram); that he cares more about performance then just locker room leadership.
I’m not going to lie, I am not 100% in favor of the move. The coaching staff has not seen how the rookies will perform when the pads go up. It is a bit of a risky move; but it shows that the defensive line is getting together quicker then we thought. Let’s hope that this perception is becoming true in training camp and most importantly on the field during the season.
Reggie; wherever you find a new job (as a player or elsewhere); thank you for all the things you did for this franchise (including 17.5 sacks in 4 seasons since ’05)! I wish all the best for you HayDay! You’ll be remembered here with nothing but good feelings!