This post is not about the Jaguars building a winning team, it isn’t about the success of the Tom Coughlin era, it isn’t even about David Garrard or Blaine Gabbert. This is about how to win in the NFL, and how to win big. How can someone like Eli Manning go from Peyton’s little brother to “Elite Eli”?
It’s the type of thing that we all wonder. Every year some team has a breakout player or players. The guy comes from nowhere to the rest of us and destroys the competition. Whether its Arian Foster, Rob Gronkowski, or Eli in the playoffs someone comes alive. We all guess who its going to be, but until that player puts it together in his head and on the field we don’t really know.
Yet teams like the Packers, Steelers, and Jaguars all place such a huge emphasis on building through the draft. Do teams really know that their picks are going to pan out? How much of it is guess work? Sometimes it feels like a team has an absolute objection to using free agency. Jaguars GM Gene Smith seems to be one of those types. Even when top shelf players like Carl Nicks are available and could make an impact for years, the focus stays on developing the “young guys.”
I understand the approach and I understand the theory behind it. When does a team realize that their investment is no longer worthwhile though? At what point does a team realize that the player they have been trying to develop simply isn’t going to be the guy and instead someone like Jared Allen should be signed for his double digit sack numbers to harass quarterbacks? These are questions that go through every general manager’s head. Do you act like the Steelers even when other teams trying to build through the draft aren’t as successful or do you act like the Redskins and sign every player that can remotely play football and hope someone pans out?
Building the perfect beast is a difficult process in the NFL, but it isn’t impossible. It takes patience and it takes time, but sometimes you just want the team to figure it out immediately and pick up that player from…..oh wait the Bucs signed him.
A lot of teams feel like they are running a few steps behind everyone else. Is it because they are sticking to an “archaic” approach to building through the draft or is it because they actually have rosters full of talent? Either way, it takes a bit more analysis than any of us have access to. As the teams make final tweaks and assessments heading into training camp and the preseason we just have to trust that the beat the team is building truly is going to be perfect.
- Luke N. Sims
You can also find me on Twitter @LukeNSims
Topics: Arian Foster, Blaine Gabbert, Carl Nicks, David Garrard, Eli Manning, Gene Smith, Green Bay Packers, Jacksonville Jaguars, Jared Allen, Minnesota Vikings, Peyton Manning, Pittsburgh Steelers, Rob Gronkowski, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Tom Coughlin, Washington Redskins