November 8, 2012; Jacksonville FL, USA; Jacksonville Jaguars head coach Mike Mularkey during the first quarter against the Indianapolis Colts at EverBank Field. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-US PRESSWIRE

Jaguars Are Being Left Behind

A year ago Mike Munchak came to the Tennessee Titans after they parted ways with long-time head coach Jeff Fisher.  It was year three of the Jaguars rebuild.  The Jags finished third, ahead of only the hapless, Manning-less Colts.  In year four of the rebuild it looks like the Titans’ first-year magic was fleeting, but the Colts have found some genuine magic.

While Gene Smith has been general manager for four years, we Jacksonville fans tend to forget that we were competitive in 2010 and almost held the AFC South title in our hands.  That all ended when we lost to the Colts and then lost the rest of the games in the season in a classic Jack Del Rio late-season meltdown.

The way I see it, we’re in year one of our rebuild.

Will this combo lead the team to an era of prosperity?  Source: US-Presswire

We have the same GM, but he gave us some solid pieces.  We don’t have a league-leading receiver in Reggie Wayne, but we have a Pro-bowl caliber left tackle, a gifted running back, a quarterback who is making strides (truly), a couple wide receivers who could get really good later, a defense that can be stout when healthy, and a head coach whose fire is no longer in doubt.

Whether or not Smith is a part of the rest of the rebuild is up to Shad Khan, but he’ll deserve some of the credit for trying to kickstart a roster that was well organized in 2010 but failed due to circumstance in 2011.  David Garrard was never Tom Brady, but losing him threw a wrench into things.  Garrard was a man for whom the offense was tailored.  If the offensive line wasn’t any good, Garrard could get outside and throw quite well.  He was mobile, he could extend plays, and he was a smart player – if a little too safe sometimes.

Without him the wheels fell off.

The way the defense played last year is a testament to the strength of the overall roster before losing Garrard.  Then came the rebuild.  Now, in year one of the official restart, the Jaguars are behind the struggling Titans and surprisingly strong Colts.  It isn’t a matter of perception, it’s the truth.  Does it usually take a team more than a year to build a winner?  Yes.  Just ask the not-as-great-as-last-year Panthers.

The Mike Mularkey era is the beginning here in Jacksonville.

It’s been a frustrating run for Jaguars fans in years past (and this year), but things will turn around.  We’re left behind currently, but the rebuild is just starting.  We’ve been jaded by half-rebuilds in years past.  This is the beginning of the turn around.

We’re left behind now, but there will be steps coming that lead toward greater success and a brighter future.

- Luke N. Sims

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Tags: Gene Smith Jacksonville Jaguars Mike Mularkey

  • K. Messina

    How do you explain the drop off of the defense then? The personnel has been relatively the same, barring a few injuries, namely to Daryl Smith which has been a huge hit but not catastrophic. There has been a lack of intensity throughout the defense, especially on the defensive line.

    The return of Chick and Lane has been a boost, but lets face it Knighton and Alualu have been huge disappointments this year. The lack of depth period throughout the team as a whole has been near inexcusable. Chris Prosinski is terrible, period. He needs to learn how to tackle with his arms, I thought that we got rid of shoulder tackles when we traded Reggie “I can’t tackle” Nelson.

    The offensive line as well has been extremely disappointing. The lack of depth and starting talent has been disturbing to say the least. Mike Brewster has been shaping up to be a good starter, but Guy Whimper is Jordan Black 2.0 i.e a turn style. Eben Britton has been a bust, he talks a lot but never produces, and he can’t stay healthy. Cameron Bradfield has also been average and should develop, but I’m not sure if I’m sold on him yet.

    The wide receiving corp has been…well do we really need to expand this further.

    As fans we do need to realize that we are entering a rebuild, yet we need to get a new GM to complete that. I was a huge fan of Gene Smith his first two years, but I have become disillusioned with his failed drafts and the lack of providing adequate depth. In the end this will continue to be a long season, but we need to remember that the night is always darker before the dawn…well I hope.

    • LukeNSims

      I almost used that darkest before the dawn quote….should have.

      I agree with the drop off from the defense. Matt Roth and Drew Coleman are both certainly missed. I think the movement to youth, especially at depth positions, was a very poor move there. But I think that reflects a rebuild mentality more than their signings did the year before. I’d like to see them around, but they aren’t anymore. Chris Prosinski is obviously a failure and should try playing at Wyoming again.

      The Guy Whimper extension was one of the dumbest moves in pro sports. I’m sold on Brewster and learning to like Bradfield (though they both have a lot of development left). Britton was good in his first season and never panned out – he needs to be excused ASAP. I’m also not a fan of Will Rackley, whenever he gets back next year.

      I disagree with the receiving corps though. I think that Shorts is really coming on, I have faith that Blackmon can be a good NFL receiver – most rookie receivers struggle, after all – and I think that Michael Spurlock is finally a special teams player with actual receiving talent as well (unlike Osgood and Thomas – if Thomas ever had special teams skill). We’ll see if Spurlock is still around though. If Gene Smith is still there he might just cut him for the hell of it (ie. Coleman). I like Laurent Robinson’s effort and think he just needs to find a groove in his new home. I’m not sold on Kevin Elliott (actually leaning the other way) and it’s obvious that Jerry Sullivan needs to teach these guys how to use their hands.

      I think Smith will probably be gone at the end of the year, yes. I just think that some pieces he has brought in deserve credit. He definitely won’t be putting the icing on the cake though, no matter how much his half-good players outperform their small-school potential.

      The point of this article isn’t Smith’s ability to draft some good players and a lot of bad ones though. It’s more that it’s apparent that whether this is rebuild year 1 or year 4, we’re being left behind.

      • K. Messina

        I agree with you on Cecil Shorts, he is the lone bright spot in the receiving corp. I’m undecided on Spurlock but he has potential to stick with the roster and contribute on a regular basis if he continues with the level of play. Robinson definitely puts the effort forward but his end product has been lacking and he was overpaid for what he has produced. With that said I do believe that Robinson will settle in and be a solid number 2 WR.

        Now Blackmon, well I will be the first to admit that I was not the biggest fan of him entering the draft and thought that we could have traded down,collected picks and stocked up on defensive players. However, once he was chosen I decided to be 100% behind, much like how I was with Del Rio after every disappointing season that he was not fired. I have hope that Blackmon will develop, blind senseless hope, but hope none the less.

        I understand the point of the article, and frankly it was a very good one. The point of my comment (rather long winded like this one) was that we are in rebuild year four and with how the season has turned out its setting the stage for rebuild year one all over again.

        Enter this season I had very high hopes, number six defense, MJD, Gabbert entering year two, a new receiving corp that looked great in the preseason and a new coaching staff (void of Dirk “one track mind that can’t adjust” Koetter). This season is a disappointment because it was expected to be the jumping off point for success now, unfortunately it has become the jumping off point for success (one can hope) in the future after rebuild.

  • Daniel Lago

    The struggles this year are solely on Gene Smith. This is his roster at this point and they can’t compete in more than half their games. There’s no way he’s back next season.