Dante Fowler Injury Buys David Caldwell Time
Nature has a way of keeping us humble. It likes to maintain a balance that humans sometimes do not understand given its complexity and cantankerous temperament. Those who ignore or even abuse nature tend to find themselves on the receiving end of pain and incomprehensible misery as this is nature’s way of correcting transgressions and restoring harmony to the world: the greater the crime, the greater the punishment. Karma, according to hippies and Buddhists everywhere, is the main underlying component of our spiritual environment measuring everything we do on a cosmic scale – it functions much like a rubber band when pulled too far in one direction.
The Jacksonville Jaguars must have beaten Mother Nature in the face with a stick. Dante Fowler Jr was supposed to be the last key building block in a major rebuild of a team that was in disarray just a few short years ago. The addition of a pass rush specialist seemed to be the last, logical ingredient needed to end the foundation laying phase of David Caldwell’s restoration plan. Fowler was pegged as a hot rookie candidate to watch by analysts throughout the sports world with some even suggesting he had rookie of the year potential. Unfortunately, the anticipation and excitement surrounding his arrival to Duval ended just as quickly as it had begun.
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The random and very severe nature of Fowler’s knee injury is both puzzling and frightening considering its timing. The impact, however, is just flat-out devastating. The Jaguars had been lauded for their recent draft class across all the cable networks – in fact, all three draft classes under David Caldwell have been universally praised as solid. Recent moves in free agency have strengthened the roster and given hope that a winning season is finally within sight. A solid, top-tier pass rushing defensive end would help tip the balance of power and get the Jaguars closer to going over .500. Jacksonville appeared to finally have its act together until the carpet was unceremoniously jerked out from underneath them.
Be that as it may, there is a silver lining to every bad situation – at least if you happen to be the General Manager of the club. The most valuable positions of any roster are Quarterback, Left tackle and a pass rush Defensive End. The future of the current front office has always revolved around the development of those three positions. While Fowler’s brutal injury dampens any hopes for a winning season this year, it does buy David Caldwell one more year to right the ship. Shad Khan should be much more forgiving now that a significant piece of the roster rebuild trifecta has been perniciously sidelined by nature’s hand. Luke Joeckel, Blake Bortles and Dante Fowler Jr. are the three developmental centerpieces of the David Caldwell era and their evolution as professional football players is critical. Until Fowler returns, Caldwell is free to continue tweaking the roster to his heart’s content while Shad Khan readjusts the original time-table to better assess the growth of the on field product.