The secrets to the Jaguars' success. Mandatory Credit: Phil Sears-USA TODAY Sports

Jaguars : State of the Franchise Address (03-21-14)

The Jacksonville Jaguars are in a unique situation that we haven’t been in a long time. They have made a lot of moves. Releasing some veterans. Re-signing others. Bringing in some free agents. Through all of this, there has been nary a misstep. Not one. Nothing splashy. Nothing sexy. Just fundamentally smart front office decisions. I like that. Actually…I’m enjoying the crap out of this. The Jaguars had become the George W. Bush of the NFL. By that I mean that sports reporters, ESPN, even talk show hosts, would just sit with their guns cocked, waiting for any action by the Jags so they could blast the decision. Sometimes it was justified but completely blown out of proportion. Others were not. They were actually incredibly misinformed and unprofessional at times. It sucks being the league whipping boy when there are so many more ripe targets.

But I digress.

The media must all be wearing Depends right now because they have been waiting for months to pee on the Jaguars parade for some boneheaded decision. It ain’t happened. Not even close. Their bladders must be bursting. The compliments for the Jags began late last season. They were reported with gritted teeth. Backhanded compliments that exposed the media’s depression that they were losing the nerd they loved shoving into lockers.

Coach Bradley and his staff then coached at the Senior Bowl and two things came out of that situation in the media. First the normal “which players are going to move up the draft boards and which disappointed.” The other was…The Jags have a hell of a coach there. Everyone from players, NFL personnel, fellow coaches, and (God forbid) the media sang his praises. It was well earned and refreshing.

We now have reacted in the free agency frenzy period. I don’t know about you but I was expecting a quiet first couple of days. No fireworks. But I couldn’t have been more wrong. Did we bring in Michael Johnson or Jared Allen. No. But we signed Chris Clemons, for probably one fifth of the cost and he could prove to be just as productive. We release Uche Nwaneri (who’ll I’ll miss), which scared the hell out of me because our cupboards were already bare. Then they bring in Zane Beadles, and you realize we aren’t in the Gene Smith era (Dark Ages) any longer. This front office knows what they are doing. It feels great having a ringside seat to watch it all develope.

The signings of Clemons, Beadles, Ziggy Hood (throwing a bone to the Gator fans), Toby Gerhart, Red Bryant, Dekoda Watson, and Tandon Doss have proven to be the right guys at the right price. Usually we couldn’t get guys like this, especially this early in the process. We were looked upon as a “last resort” signing option, which would cause free agents to leave unsigned looking for better options. It also caused the team to get in desperation mode and overpay to convince some to come here. This year and this franchise is now different. Every player as a whole has said they wanted to come here. They like the direction. They like to coach. They like Dave Caldwell. It doesn’t appear to be money grabs. They see the team forming and want to be a part of it. God I’m proud to be a Jaguar fan right now. Thanks Dave & Gus.

The re-signing of Bradfield, Harbor, Henne, Babin, and Blackmon. All wise decisions and financially beneficial to the franchise now and in the future. The releasing of Nwaneri was difficult for fans but prodent. The parting of ways with Justin Forsett showed this franchise is not embarrassed to admit they made a mistake. Allowing MJD to explore free agency is a tough one. Has his production receded? Absolutely. Will he be missed if he signs elsewhere? As a fan, definately. As a person able to recognise  eroding skills, RB age cliffs, and salary cap implications…it had to be done this way. This is coming from someone with currently five MJD jerseys in my house. (A personal note to Maurice…PLEASE DON’T SIGN WITH THE STEELERS…They are just…so OBNOXIOUS!!)

So long story short. It’s good to be a Jaguar fan…regardless of our recent history. It truly is a new team, run with confidence and knowledge.

A few random thoughts to leave you with:

  • After Blake Bortles’ pro day, he is the first of these in coming college QBs that could be worthy of a number 3 pick in the draft. I’m afraid now he will no longer be on the board when we pick.
  • After Teddy Bridgewater‘s pro day….I hate to be an “I told you so”….But I TOLD YOU SO!! That’s what I saw in him. Some QBs when they hit adversity, their eyes squint and you know their mind is working and their pride is kicking in. Other QBs eyes seem to get really big and you know they’re about to release their bowels right on the field. I’m just sayin…”Paging Geno Smith…Paging Geno Smith…”
  • Isn’t is amazing how having a capable front office, a charismatic coach, and making rational well thought out roster decisions has quieted the “Haters” in the world. I haven’t heard about the Jaguars combined with Los Angeles or London since I can’t remember when. It’s nice.
  • What is going to be so cool in May is that if Dave Caldwell doesn’t trade down at any point to accumulate more picks, it will truly mean that it’s a pick that they covet. The world is our oyster this draft and I can’t wait to see the pearl!
  • You know how when a team signs a free agent and they hold their conferences and they all say “I just want to come here, contribute, and be part of something special”. I usually just look like “yeah…And you got paid well to talk like that”. But you listen to these players, both re-signed and free agents, and they all sound sincere. They sound like they have a purpose. It’s truly inspiring and it’s all about Coach Bradley. When he first got here and chirped all his rah rah stuff, I was amused. When we were in the midst of one of the worst opening of a season in the history of the NFL and he was still spouting positivity about the team, I thought either he was disillusional or thought we were stupid. Now I realize how cult leaders get their followers because I have drank the koolaid. I will follow Gus Bradley into the teeth of the enemy and I know we will still lose some battles, but we WILL win the war. Damn…Can the season start already!!!

Alright…I’ve eaten up enough of your day. What this whole rant was about is that I think this franchise is at it’s strongest place since it’s inception and early success. The Jacksonville Jaguars may not make the playoffs in 2014. Hell, they may not even have a winning record. But the league will have to respect us again. We will be nobody’s doormat any longer. For the first time in many years, the Jaguars and their fans will have chests that will burst from pride. Get on the train, people. It’s pulling out of the station…and the destination is success! GO JAGS!!!

Wearing my Jaguar sweatshirt as I write this….Michael McDonald!

Come follow me to wins-ville on Twitter @gumbussy!


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Tags: 2014 NFL Draft Blake Bortles Chris Clemons David Caldwell Gus Bradley Jacksonville Jaguars Maurice Jones-drew Nfl Free Agency Teddy Bridgewater Zane Beadles

  • SilenceCS

    Bortles reminds me of Gabbert… No thank-you. I hope Texans take the kid. Teddy Bridgewater would be ok in my book, just bc he’s a stud on gameday. He doesn’t seem personality wise to be a great fit, though, very subdued from the press conferences I’ve seen, and that’s not saying he won’t be a good player, just an observation. You have to be in love with a kid to take him in the top-5. Just as long as we don’t take Johnny Football.

  • SilenceCS

    Do you have a favorite besides Clowney (I doubt he’s there), or would you take a king’s ransom over Clowney to trade down (there will be takers if he is there at 3). I take the player, personally, but I understand the value of picks. It would have to include next year’s 1st rounder as well as a 2 and a 3 and this year’s 1st to drop back if Clowney is there, and that would only be if we could stay in the top-10. He’s a once in a decade prospect.

    Thoughts on that kid out of Oregon who Miami traded up for? I heard he was on the block… Dion Jordan. Would you trade a 3rd rounder for him? I think I might do it… Even though our 3rd rounder is like a late 2nd. Still will be lots of quality guys there waiting.

  • Michael McDonald

    Sorry Dude…Life interrupts the fun stuff like football Let’s see…I can answer two questions with this answer. I really didn’t have a favorite other than Clowney before Bortles pro day. He looked REALLY good. Confident. In shape. Mature. I would even consider Bortles if both Clowney & he were available. If both are gone, I would figure out a way to trade out of the three hole for more picks in what is being called the deepest draft in years.

    I don’t see any Gabbert in Bortles. If you go back & look at any of Gabbert’s college tapes, he always had a pretty pocket in the spread, rarely felt pressure, threw a lot of short passes. That is why the first time he was hit with an NFL hit, he became a dog that had been beat too much. I’ve seen Bortles take a few really hard college hits from future NFL players and pop up like it was a matter of pride. I saw him stay in the pocket and throw accurate throws with a defender lining him up for a hard hit. I think he’s a stud and the only blue chip QB coming in with a true NFL QB body. I would take Manziel before Bridgewater. I’m JUST NOT FEELING BRIDGEWATER. I see Geno Smith. I see Byron Leftwich. I see Matt Leinart. I just think he will be a backup at best.

    I HATED Dion Jordan last year for two reasons. He was already hurt enough that he wouldn’t be healthy enough to open the season at 100%. Second, there were questions about his motor and motovation. I hate those players. I wouldn’t trade a bucket of spit for him. I know they are saying that with Clowney, but I chalk that up to a young man who was protecting his best asset…his health. If the NFL won’t let some kids in, then the NCAA better prepare to see more of this from outstanding Sophomores.

    OK Silence. Again I’m sorry for the delay and thank you for your comments. Check in anytime!

    Michael McDonald