The Jaguars have established a foundation. A building block. Gene Smith brought in the cornerstone of the future last year in Blaine Gabbert.
This offseason he has brought in the other pillars of the Jaguars organization for years to come: Mike Mularkey, Bob Bratkowski, Greg Olson, re-signing Mel Tucker and Joe Cullen. The team is building a structure for success.
A structure of success is built with careful planning, careful analysis, and, to be honest, some pretty careful guessing as well.
Gene smith was recently quoted on Jaguars.com as saying, “If you’ve evaluated them [players] properly coming out, they usually develop into what you thought they would.” But this applies to more than just players. This applies to the entire organization.
When Shack Harris left and paved the way for Gene Smith four years ago, Wayne Weaver made a conscious decision to take the team in a different direction. A direction where winning was important, but more important was winning the right way. This didn’t apply to a particular football strategy like pounding the ground or airing it out. This applied to winning, pure and simple.
It’s easy to think if you accumulate the best players around, no matter their character, you will win. The Yankees continually try (and succeed) at doing this. In the NFL, it’s a little different. Locker rooms are easily broken by a diva wide receiver, a weak quarterback, the failure of a veteran to enforce high character quality, an overly demeaning coach, and a whole host of problems.
This isn’t the NBA where Kobe+Shaq=success simply because of their talent level. This in the NFL where a demeaning coach like Hue Jackson loses games, a place where a quarterback who can’t keep his team together will lose the faith of his offense, a league that demands perfection from each position and not funny tweets.
Gene Smith knew this. He had observed this in his past dealings with the Jaguars and other organizations.
Now, he’s built an organization to last.
Is this a little premature? Sure.
Is this a little optimistic? Sure.
Is this speculation? Sure.
But damn, it feels good.
- Luke N. Sims