The Jacksonville Jaguars have had arguably one of the strongest offseasons in franchise history, as documented often by the national media and multiple positive articles posted over the summer. Still, it seems the Jaguars are fighting some of the negative perception lingering from the years of ineptitude and “poor attendance” of the mid-to-late 2000s.
In a recent NFL Nation poll on ESPN, Rich Cimini raised the following question to players:
“The only way I’d play for [team name] is if they doubled my salary.”
Unsurprisingly, the Oakland Raiders received the highest percentage of votes at 23%. The Jacksonville Jaguars came in at 4th with 9% of the responses.
Only 82 players responded, so the sample size isn’t exactly ideal, but I think it’s clear the Jaguars are still suffering from the remaining stench of the atrocious Gene Smith era. In his time as general manager, Smith managed to assemble one of the worst rosters in the history of the NFL and he hired easily one of the least inspiring head coaches in Mike Mularkey. Tight end Marcedes Lewis took it a step further, and didn’t exactly endear Mularkey to the other players in the league.
“That coach really took it out of me,” Lewis said. “He took my joy away.”
– Marcedes Lewis on Mike Mularkey
A comment like that is heard loud and clear around the league, and it definitely has an effect on the franchise as a whole.
The Jaguars have a completely different owner, front office, and coaching staff, but clearly the perception hasn’t completely swung into reality. That will change as the Jaguars start to be more successful on the field in the years to come.
– Daniel Lago