Let’s face it, owner Shahid Khan’s first year with the Jacksonville Jaguars was abysmal. Khan, a very successful businessman was inexperienced in the NFL and trusted his incumbent (and recently extended) general manager, Gene Smith, to make the right decisions. Smith and Khan brought in head coach Mike Mularkey and away they went….all the way to a 2-14 record. Team President Mark Lamping was in his first year at his position and did the best he could with a very poor product. His ability to communicate with the fan base and increase interest during such a poor product is a testament to his abilities.
Enter year two and Khan and Lamping are the only ones left of that group. Lamping and Khan have a vision for the Jaguars and, after cutting their team on the worst season in Jaguars history, can only go up from here.
The Jaguars fan base is loyal and supportive. Being a small market team, it’s unfortunate that there is a stigma associated with the Jaguars lacking fan support. In reality, this team is very well attended and well supported. Even when the product is crap.
The learning curve is over now and the Jaguars are on the prowl. GM Dave Caldwell and head coach Gus Bradley are mature decisions when trying to improve the team. By all accounts, the relationship they are developing and the way have been received by others in league have both been stellar. The product on the field will likely get better.
Bradley and Caldwell began trimming the fat by cutting offensive tackle Guy Whimper on Wednesday. They are going to create a young, trim team that will provide the foundation for a run at the Super Bowl in the future. There are no more delusions about that. Khan will not be persuaded that the team is just a piece away from competitive.
The Jags have had a sobering end to the 2012 season but have learned their lesson. Now Khan and Lamping with Caldwell and Bradley head into the future with eyes open and the knowledge that a long road and hard work are in front of them.
- Luke N. Sims
You can also find me on Twitter @LukeNSims