The Jags have been out of playoff contention for some time now and Sunday’s game against Indianapolis doesn’t even give them the opportunity to play spoiler (except in the Suck for Luck sweepstakes). With an interim head coach calling the shots, a GM who is starting to feel heat and pressure to find a new coach and make sure that man can win with the personnel, the team will not be super focused on Sunday’s game. The players will say that playing for pride matters, Shahid Khan will use the final game as a barometer in the offseason when talking about the team, Blaine Gabbert will still be assessed based on his performance. But really, the only thing that matters on Sunday is Maurice Jones-Drew holding onto the top rushing spot and our (the fans’) fantasy stats.
But why? Why has the final week of the season become so meaningless for the Jaguars and the Jaguar faithful?
We can blame mismanagement of personnel that led to such a shallow secondary. We can blame poor play calling on Jack Del Rio and Dirk Koetter. We can blame a certain air of hands-offness that comes with the team being transfered from the Weavers to Khan. But in the end it doesn’t matter about the blame. Rather than worrying about what went wrong, or being apathetic to it, it is now time to look forward. Look to what’s coming next; what the future holds for Jacksonville.
The sooner we start to hear news about the search for a new head coach, the better. Will there be a greater shuffling of the coaching staff to go along with it? Perhaps. I wouldn’t be sad to see a new OC take Koetter’s spot. But what will really define the Jaguars this offseason won’t be the search for the head coach, but the QB coach. Will the new HC take a hands on approach with Blaine? Will he bring in a QB guru like Todd Haley (yes, I said it) to work with him instead? The questions for how the most important position in football will be handled are almost endless.
While the debate for head coach is pleasant, the new draft prospects are enticing, and the draw of starting a new blemishless season is overwhelmingly appealing. Looking forward, nothing matters more than how Blaine Gabbert will be treated. That starts this offseason. Until we find ourselves a gem of a man to work with our young quarterback, we’ll struggle for years to come. Let’s not be San Francisco and wait six years for the maturing of our quarterback. Let’s have it start ASAP.
- Luke N. Sims