Whomever takes over at general manager for the Jacksonville Jaguars (this includes retention of the position by Gene Smith) needs to leave the development of culture to the coaches. Smith has shown that when you try to shape the team from the personnel department, you simply don’t do as well as when you let the guys down on the field do it.
Smith tried to shape the Jaguars into a hard working, high character football team. While the approach was initially appreciated as a step in the right direction away from the Shack Harris era, it is becoming apparent that the Jags need a general manager who seeks talent over character. There are many problems with who and where Smith has drafted. Perhaps his biggest blunder may be trying to take the ability to shape the team’s talent away from the coaches.
Sometimes teams bite off more than they can chew – just look at the Cincinnati Bengals. Sometimes players come into a system that shapes young boys into men but don’t change – like Plaxico Burress in New York. Yet there are times when it does work – like Cris Carter in Minnesota. But in Jacksonville, we have tried a different approach. Rather than putting the talent in the hands of coaches who mold them like clay, we have tried to take the best finished pieces we can find and hope they perform well.
It’s time the coaches take culture back from the general manager position. The identity of the team will come from the guys on the field, not the guy in front office. Whether you like Smith and head coach Mike Mularkey or you hope they are both fired at the end of the season, whatever the future holds for the Jaguars I hope that they place the talent level of players ahead of other considerations.
- Luke N. Sims
You can also find me on Twitter @LukeNSims