Looking around the league with Zoltan
By Zoltan Paksa
For just a moment let’s turn away a bit our attention from the Jaguars and let’s see what is happening around the NFL. Why? Because I want to show some trends and things which may help to understand the Jaguars situation in context. I know the situation is not looking too good; but let’s not lose perspective.
Let me start with a question. What is in common with the following 4 teams: San Diego; Dallas, Minnesota; and San Francisco? The experts all predicted they will make the playoffs or will be contenders. Now after Week 7 all of them have a WORSE record than the Jaguars. Now does anyone still think a record of 3-4 is the end of the world? I know the record could be better and the Jaguars could have easily joined Kansas City; Washington; Tampa Bay or St Louis; as the early feel good stories of the NFL. But they still are standing on 3-4. Yes I know the differential is -99 points in the 4 losses; but it could be worse. Much worse…
Another observation: The AFC is looking much more dominant than the NFC. Could you name a real NFC contender for the Superbowl title? Well, right now (depends on how they perform tonight) I would say the NY Giants; and maybe Green Bay and… that’s it. The NFC West for example is so “good” that I think the Jaguars would be easily a contender even with all of our issues. I go further; even Buffalo would have a chance to win that division! In the NFC South I see 2 teams on the rise (Atlanta; Tampa) and New Orleans which you have to keep reminding me are the Super Bowl champion…Atlanta might win the division but keep in mind Pittsburgh beat them with Dennis Dixon at QB. The NFC North? I see strong teams (even Detroit), but only Green Bay is looking for real and they keep losing every a key player every game. Minnesota is looking old (and I’m not talking about Favre here – where are you Jared Allen for example?); Chicago is inconsistent. And the Superstar division of the NFC East? The Giants (and maybe the Eagles) are looking like for real; but everyone of them lost already once to an AFC South team. So we can agree that only 1 (and a half) teams (Giants; and maybe Green Bay) are looking for real right now in that conference. Meanwhile I can name 5 teams in the AFC who are contenders for the Super Bowl title: Pittsburgh; Baltimore; New England; the NY Jets and Indianapolis. And I won’t count out yet Kansas; Miami; Tennessee and Houston too…If the Jaguars would play in the NFC; I think they could still find a way to make the playoffs or be a contender. In the AFC they might be done –sadly- very soon….And if they can’t get it done, heads will fall.
I mean a head coach for sure. Speaking of HCs; I vision a 2007ish major coaching change in the NFL (If there will be a season next year…) Here are the list of those who will be replaced in my opinion: Mike Singletary; John Fox; Wade Philips; Brad Childress; (sadly) Jack Del Rio; Josh McDaniels; Chan Gailey; and Marvin Lewis. These are not long shots; in fact the first 3 I think are done deals. The other 5 can save their job; but it won’t be easy. If the Jaguars must find a new head coach; they could be have a hard time landing a real good candidate. I say this because of 3 reasons: 1. No big name HC will come to Jacksonville; because Cowher or Gruden will want to be the GM and head coach and that is not going to happen. 2. Jacksonville is an unstable team; and not exactly the sexiest place compared to Dallas; or San Francisco… 3. GM Gene and Wayne Weaver will look for a coach only; and that is also closing out a few candidates. If Jack must go; finding the new head coach will be more important for the rebuilding than finding the new QB. The Jaguars must hit 2 home runs in 4 months. This will be extremely tough, but no different than half the teams in the NFL will be looking to do.