NFL Nation: Wayne Weaver

Del Rio won't stroll down memory lane

October, 10, 2013
ENGLEWOOD, Colo. -- When it comes to former employers in the NFL, Broncos coach John Fox has said; “every week somebody in your building is playing somebody they used to be with, a player, coach, scout, anybody. That’s just kind of how this league is, everybody worked with everybody it seems like.’’

Del Rio
Maybe so, and while many of the Denver Broncos' defensive players have privately said defensive coordinator Jack Del Rio hasn’t made a talking point out of facing the team this weekend that dismissed him as head coach 11 games into the 2011 season, they still believe Del Rio would enjoy a quality effort by his group Sunday against the Jacksonville Jaguars.

“I think Coach Del Rio wants us to go every week and get it done, but maybe there’s a little something extra,’’ said cornerback Chris Harris. “Especially after last week, we all want to be better.’’

The Jaguars will bring the NFL’s most scoring-challenged offense to Denver this weekend -- Jacksonville has scored 51 points combined in five games -- and they will do it a week after the Broncos surrendered 48 points in a 51-48 win against Dallas. Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo threw for 506 yards and five touchdowns, which has also added some spice to the preparation.

“And that’s what we’ve been talking about,’’ said Broncos defensive tackle Kevin Vickerson. “That’s not what we’re about, we can play better than that.’’

Asked Thursday if this week’s game meant anything more to him because it meant the Jaguars would be across the field from him, Del Rio played it close to the vest and simply said;

“(It’s an) opportunity to get our sixth win … Sunday can’t get here quick enough, [I] feel like defensively we’ve got a lot of work to do. We know we’re capable of playing a lot better, we need to play a lot better for our football team.’’

Asked a few moments later what he took away from his nine seasons as Jaguars head coach, professionally and personally, Del Rio then made it a point to acknowledge the Jaguars’ former owner Wayne Weaver.

“It was an honor to be the head coach there,’’ Del Rio said. “”It was a terrific place to raise my family, to live and to be the head coach. Very grateful for Mr. Weaver for giving me that opportunity back then, and just very appreciative of all that. Now, I’ve moved on, I’m here in Denver, I enjoy what I do, and that is helping this defense be as good as it can be and helping this team win games.’’

Wrap-up: Jaguars 19, Colts 13

January, 1, 2012
Thoughts on the Jaguars' 19-13 win over the Colts at EverBank Field:

What it means: At 2-14, the Colts clinched the No. 1 pick in the April draft, a selection virtually everyone believes will and should be used on Stanford quarterback Andrew Luck. The Jaguars, meanwhile, got to send off original team owner Wayne Weaver with a victory as the team changes hands to Shahid Khan this week.

What I liked, Jaguars: Maurice Jones-Drew secured a single-season franchise rushing record and the NFL rushing title with a season-high 169 yards on 25 carries. He was virtually unstoppable and made it clear there was no scenario in which the Jaguars cared about what draft pick the Colts would wind up with.

What I didn’t like, Colts: After two great weeks of defense in two wins, the tackling of Jones-Drew was just horrible. And quarterback Dan Orlovsky returned to turnovers, throwing two picks and showing no clock in his head on Jeremy Mincey’s strip sack.

What I wonder: Is there any way Jim Caldwell, an honorable man who had a very bad year at work, is not part of Black Monday when coaches lose jobs?

What the Jaguars won despite: A 3.2 average gain per pass play when they averaged 5.4 yards per rush and no touchdowns in four trips into the red zone, which produced just nine points.

What’s next: In Indianapolis, a verdict on Caldwell and the Polians followed by months of speculation about whether the Colts really want to keep Peyton Manning and draft Luck. In Jacksonville, a change of team ownership and a coaching hire.

Weaver needs to back away from Jaguars

December, 21, 2011
Wayne Weaver made the decision to sell the Jaguars.

He’s still in control until Jan. 4, which is unfortunate. It would be best if new owner Shahid Khan took control of the franchise Jan. 2, the day after the season ends.

[+] EnlargeWayne Weaver
AP Photo/Rick WilsonWayne Weaver sold the Jaguars but remains in control of the team until Jan. 4.
That two-day gap is a lag that could prevent the team from pouncing on a new coach and that could hurt the franchise even though Khan can be, should be and will be involved in any decisions.

Vito Stellino of the Florida Times-Union talked to Weaver about the search for a new head coach:
“I’ll be helpful wherever I can. He’s got to hire a new coach and start planning for free agency and start planning for the draft. All that work is in progress. He needs to be a big part of that.’’

Yes, Khan needs to be a big part of it. He needs to be the biggest part of that. And in so doing, Weaver needs to be a small part of it. And by small part, I’m talking microscopic.

Weaver’s most recent hiring record is poor.

He hired and stuck with James Harris as the team’s personnel chief and Jack Del Rio as coach.

That’s not a résumé that qualifies Weaver, as an outgoing owner, for much of a say in the next hire. Weaver remained behind the scenes for most of the season and now he is visible. I fear he wants to be out front one last time.

Sorry Wayne, but Jacksonville fans should be absolutely wary of having any of your fingerprints on this move. Fresh air and a fresh viewpoint have arrived, and there is a new sheriff in town. He'll call you with questions and a smooth transfer of power will be lovely and all. But it's his deal now.

Please don’t talk about Khan being a big part of it. Talk about him being all of it as you gracefully back away.

Notes from Weaver's press conference

November, 29, 2011
Notes from Wayne Weaver’s news conference at which he announced he fired Jack Del Rio as head coach, installed defensive coordinator Mel Tucker as the interim coach, given general manager Gene Smith a new three-year contract, and is selling the team to Shahid Khan.

  • Weaver said it would have been unfair to allow Del Rio to “twist in the wind,” thanked him for his nine years with the team and wished him well.
  • Weaver said the team has been average in recent years, that the city deserves better and that the Jaguars are not far from being a competitive football team. He praised the defense and said the offense can be fixed in the next offseason and with another draft or two.
  • Weaver promised Tucker the opportunity to interview for the head coaching job after the season. The owner called the new coach one of the team’s bright spots.
  • The coaching search will be extensive, and Weaver will have a hand in it even if the team has changed ownership. He indicated they'd look at experienced coaches and up-and-comers.
  • Extending Smith provides the organization some stability in football operations and Smith has the power to re-sign his people in the front office, Weaver said.
  • The exit strategy Weaver’s spoken of in the past came together faster than he expected with Khan. Roger Goodell has given his nod and Weaver sees smooth sailing through the NFL’s ownership committee and owners, who could approve the deal at a Dec. 14 meeting. The sale is then slated to close Jan. 4. Weaver turns 77 in January and said he and his wife will travel, that he will be the team’s biggest cheerleader and offer any help Shah requests.
  • Weaver said it was bittersweet in many ways, but a positive day all around.

AFC South Stock Watch

November, 29, 2011
» NFC Stock Watch: East | West | North | South » AFC: East | West | North | South


[+] EnlargeDeji Karim
Sam Greenwood/Getty ImagesDeji Karim had two carries for minus-2 yards against the Texans on Sunday.
1. Deji Karim, Jacksonville Jaguars running back: He’s playing as the second back rather than the third because Rashad Jennings was lost for the year before the season. Still, Karim’s been a big disappointment as the changeup from Maurice Jones-Drew. He seems to stumble a lot, and he’s averaging 2.0 yards per carry. He’s hardly bringing a dynamic element to the kick return game either. Jones-Drew’s workload is heavy, and the Jaguars need to have a functional alternative. They currently do not.

2. Barrett Ruud, Tennessee Titans middle linebacker: He missed his second game in the Titans’ last three with a groin injury, and once he’s healthy the Titans are going to have a hard time reinstalling him. He’s brought the team the leadership and understanding of the defense they needed when they signed him. But rookie Colin McCarthy is simply a more rugged player at the spot. McCarthy has done just fine calling the defense and is making a lot of the sort of plays the Titans weren’t getting from Ruud. Maybe the Titans will slide Ruud to the IR.

3. The chances for Indianapolis to compete over the next two weeks: The expectation is that the New England Patriots will happily pile on to add to their rivals' misery on Sunday at Gillette Stadium on Sunday. What’s been the league’s marquee matchup may wind up the league’s marquee mismatch this time around. And then the Colts will recover with a trip to Baltimore, where the Ravens will surely be thinking they can shut out Indianapolis.


1. Connor Barwin, Houston Texans outside linebacker: He set a franchise record with four sacks against the Jaguars and was phenomenally disruptive, torturing Jaguars right tackle Guy Whimper. We’ve paid a lot of attention to Brian Cushing, Antonio Smith, J.J. Watt and even Brooks Reed on the team’s defensive front. But Barwin has been a steady force and contributor as well. He’s the guy the team thought it was drafting in 2009 in the second round. He's key piece to a defense that’s the primary hope of the Texans going forward now with a third-string quarterback.

2. Chris Johnson, Tennessee Titans running back: He exploded for 190 rushing yards in the win over Tampa Bay. Great blocking sprung him into space, and he looked like the guy we expected to be the centerpiece of Tennessee's offense when he got his big contract before the season. The question now is whether it can carry over and be a big element in what Tennessee hopes is a big five-game run to a playoff berth. Expectations that he was “back” rose after he got to 100 yards in Cleveland and Carolina, but his work against the Buccaneers looked and felt different.

3. The potential for meaningful change in Jacksonville: Wayne Weaver is selling the team to Shahid Khan. Weaver wasn’t about to hire a high-priced coach after the interim five-game stint of Mel Tucker winds down. Could new ownership be more willing to look at a broader pool of candidates and to pay a name? Despite what Weaver said, Khan certainly had to have a voice in the move to dump Jack Del Rio, since the announcements of the coaching change and the sale come on the same day. GM Gene Smith who got a new contract, will have a big hand in the choice. What kind of budget will there be?

Jaguars' new owner will be Shahid Khan

November, 29, 2011
The official statements from the Jacksonville Jaguars:

"I am honored to have recently signed an agreement with Wayne Weaver and his partners to purchase the Jacksonville Jaguars. I have known Wayne for some time and have long admired his spirit, which nearly 20 years ago -- against all odds -- helped make the Jaguars and the National Football League a reality for Jacksonville and North Florida. Wayne’s legacy will be lasting, and I will always be grateful for Wayne’s trust and confidence in my commitment to the Jaguars, the NFL and the people of the Jacksonville community.

"Owning a team in the National Football League has long been my personal and professional goal. Becoming the owner of the Jacksonville Jaguars would be a dream come true for me and my family but, above all, would be a privilege. To that end, I would like to thank Commissioner Roger Goodell and members of his team for their counsel and guidance throughout my efforts over the past several years.

"I am now looking forward to the review process in accordance with league policy. If the proposed transaction is approved in the weeks ahead, I will responsibly and enthusiastically serve the NFL, the Jacksonville Jaguars and their great fans, and I will be fully committed to delivering Jacksonville its first Super Bowl championship. This is a franchise with tons of potential, playing in a community that is passionate about football and loves to win. I can’t think of a better place to be."

"Shahid Khan is a great American success story and he will be an outstanding owner for this franchise and for this community. I am excited for the team and for our great fans because Shahid will bring passion and commitment to the job. He is committed to restoring a winning tradition here in Jacksonville."

Jaguars being sold, GM Smith extended

November, 29, 2011
The Jaguars' big news day goes far beyond the firing of coach Jack Del Rio and the appointment of defensive coordinator Mel Tucker as interim coach.

Adam Schefter and Chris Mortensen are also reporting that Wayne Weaver is selling the team to a as-yet-unrevealed buyer who will keep the team in Jacksonville and that general manager Gene Smith has agreed to a three-year contract extension.

FedEx founder Fred Smith has reportedly talked to Weaver about a role with the team and could be the buyer.

Whoever it is certainly had a voice in decisions about Del Rio and Smith.

And I believe Smith wouldn’t be signing a deal if he didn’t have the power to hire the next head coach.

What sort of budget will he have?

Weaver is talking at noon ET. Stay tuned for more.

If Jaguars change coach, who's next?

November, 17, 2011
Jack Del RioAP Photo/John RaouxIf the Jaguars replace Jack Del Rio, it makes sense to hire an offensive-minded head coach.
Ten weeks into most NFL seasons we have a good sense of head-coaching jobs coming open and the prime candidates for them.

This year feels different.

Jim Caldwell may coach a potential 0-16 team. But to hear Bill Polian talk, the Colts’ coach may well survive. In Jacksonville, Jack Del Rio’s got one year left on his contract and a lame-duck staff.

It’s widely held that Jaguars owner Wayne Weaver will make a change if he judges the team to have shown insufficient improvement this season, and it’s hard to envision a giant turnaround now for the 3-6 Jaguars based on how poorly the offense is producing.

As for prime head-coaching candidates, I sense no buzz about the hot, young offensive assistant who’s the next big thing. In previous years -- no matter if they panned out or not -- we’ve seen guys like Josh McDaniels, Jason Garrett, Todd Haley and Ken Whisenhunt tabbed as up-and-comers who were ready.

Who are those guys now?

While Northern Florida might hold out hope that Weaver will want a name and would be able to lure one, I don’t see Bill Cowher or even Jeff Fisher heading for EverBank Stadium.

The franchise should re-sign general manager Gene Smith, allow him to decide on Del Rio and make the recommendation on the next coach.

And if Smith's in the market, that next coach should be a young offensive mind who likes Blaine Gabbert and has the best shot at developing him. Smith needs to hit a home run finding the next Mike McCarthy, Sean Payton or, this year aside, Andy Reid.

I asked around this week, talking to a couple coaches and an executive about which NFL assistant qualifies as a QB guru who’s ready to be a head coach.

Through those conversations, I present this list of possibilities:

Mike Mularkey, Atlanta offensive coordinator -- Mularkey posted a 14-18 record as Buffalo's head coach in 2004-05. But he’s got enough distance from that now that he could be worthy of a second act.

He took over as offensive coordinator in Atlanta in 2008, when quarterback Matt Ryan was a rookie. He has a bruiser of a running back in Michael Turner to go with Ryan. Ryan became just the second rookie quarterback in NFL history to throw for more than 3,000 yards, and the Falcons won 11 games.

There is a connection to Smith: Mularkey’s son, Patrick, is a scouting assistant in Jacksonville’s player personnel department.

Jay Gruden, Cincinnati offensive coordinator -- Gruden’s done fantastic work this season with rookie QB Andy Dalton. But is one good year enough to vault him to a head coaching job?

He worked on his brother Jon’s staff in Tampa Bay from 2002-08, but as an offensive assistant he wasn’t a year-round guy. He stacked the work on top of his duties quarterbacking and then coaching the Orlando Predators of the AFL.

Jay Gruden has head coaching experience in the AFL and the UFL, where he led the Florida Tuskers to the 2010 championship game as head coach and GM.

Word is he’s different than his brother, calmer with a better presence with his players.

Rob Chudzinski, Carolina offensive coordinator -- His first tour as an offensive coordinator came in Cleveland from 2007-08. The 2007 Browns won 10 games with Derek Anderson shining at quarterback.

Now Chudzinski’s been lauded for his work with Cam Newton, revising and shaping the offense to feature what the rookie quarterback does best. He’s got a strong background with tight ends, too, and is regarded as a rising star by many around the league.

He’s also a quieter, unassuming type.

Tom Clements, Green Bay quarterbacks coach -- Clements worked in the same post for New Orleans (1997-99), Kansas City (2000) and Pittsburgh (2001-03). During those stops he worked with Tommy Maddox during his comeback player of the year season in 2002 and with Kordell Stewart and Elvis Grbac during their best seasons.

He also worked as offensive coordinator in Buffalo in 2004 and 2005.

With Green Bay, Clements guided Brett Favre in his final Packers' years while helping prepare Aaron Rodgers. He’s also had a hand in the progress of highly regarded backup Matt Flynn.

But does he have the qualities of a good head coach?

Pete Carmichael, New Orleans offensive coordinator -- He’s in his third year as Payton’s top offensive lieutenant after three seasons as the Saints' quarterbacks coach.

Carmichael’s been closely involved with an offense that has excelled with Drew Brees as quarterback, with a specific role in routes, protection schemes and quarterback responsibilities.

Like Clements in Green Bay, Carmichael works for a strong coach with an offensive background and so he doesn’t function as the play-caller. While very smart, he comes across as bland and that could be a big issue for a guy expected to be the face and the personality of a franchise.
The future of the Jaguars front office and coaching staff is uncertain, but owner Wayne Weaver made it clear before the season that he wanted to keep Gene Smith in place as the general manager.

[+] EnlargeGene Smith
AP Photo/John RaouxThe contract that Gene Smith signed after being promoted to Jacksonville's GM in January 2009 expires after this season.
Gene Frenette of the Times-Union reports that Smith was offered an extension of his contract, which expires after the season, during the offseason.

Smith, in an exclusive interview with the Times-Union, said he turned it down because he felt uncomfortable adding years to his contract when Jaguars’ scouts and other employees were either not getting extensions or subjected to salary freezes. Smith’s original contract that he signed after being promoted to GM in January 2009, expires after this season. He did not divulge specifics about the length of the extension offer, adding that the NFL’s uncertain labor future at the time also impacted his decision to pass on an extension.

“A contract was extended to me and I declined it,” Smith said. “I did not think I deserved an extension based on the conditions. Our scouts and other employees weren’t being extended. I didn’t think I deserved it. However, I do appreciate that Wayne [Weaver] offered me one.”

Coach Jack Del Rio is the only coach or member of the front office with a contract that runs beyond this season. His deal runs through 2012 and pays him $5 million this season and next.

Smith is as sincere an executive as can be found in the NFL, and surely scores with the people who work for him with what he did here -- not that he had that as an objective.

Weaver confirmed to Stellino that an offer was made and turned down. It's unclear what the owner's plan is going forward, but I suspect a guy slow to change will make Smith another offer after the season.

The verdict on Smith as a personnel chief is still out, and will largely be determined by whether Blaine Gabbert pans out as the Jaguars' quarterback. Smith traded up to take Gabbert 10th overall in April, and so far Gabbert has struggled.

The GM and QB are tied together and it would make little sense for the Jaguars to make a change from Smith so long as they believe in the rookie as a long-term solution. A new GM would have a new judgment on Gabbert, and if he doesn’t like him, then the team’s clock would be reset again.

Smith has been with the organization since the very beginning, and Weaver clearly feels a loyalty to him. The question is if he would chase a new coach who would want personnel power.

“I’d like to be here long-term, I’d like to finish what we started,” Smith said. “I feel like I work for one of the best organizations. I’ve invested a good part of my life here, but I also realize transition is a way of life in the NFL.”
The Jaguars have very limited weapons for Blaine Gabbert, even if you include the tight ends and backs with the receivers.

But they’ve ensured the best receiver they have will be able to build a long-term relationship with Gabbert. Per John Clayton, Jacksonville has given Mike Thomas a three-year contract that stacks on top of what remained through 2012 on his original deal.

The three new years are worth $18 million with $9 million guaranteed. It’s unknown how much of that he’s getting as he signs.

It’s a good move. Thomas is a quality player who is going to look better in time when the Jaguars improve the group around him. He fits their mold in terms of work ethic and personality and he’s a good player.

Matt Williamson of Scouts Inc. is a big fan, and he’s told me before that he thinks Thomas will ultimately prove to be some sort of combination of Carolina’s Steve Smith and New England’s Wes Welker.

If he approaches anything like that, his third contract will make this one look small.

One other aside: GM Gene Smith and the front office are not signed beyond this year. That owner Wayne Weaver is allowing them to negotiate such an extension might be read as a good indication about their futures.
We hit Vito Stellino’s blog entry in our links earlier, but Tania Ganguli adds context to it here.

Jaguars GM Gene Smith is being a stand-up guy in the midst of the firestorm created by the team’s release of David Garrard. It took place within hours Garrard being introduced as the team’s starting quarterback at a chamber of commerce luncheon.

From the email Ganguli got from Smith:
“Clearly, I'm not proud of how things played out on Tuesday and our players deserve better, but I think to understand the situation you need to know the facts. Wayne [Weaver], Jack [Del Rio] & I did sit down on Tuesday morning and the decision was finalized at approximately 10:40am, Wayne and I had an 11:00am speaking engagement prior to the 12noon kickoff event. I endorsed having David participate in the event due to the time constraints and circumstance, and it was my feeling that David would in essence be given one last moment or event to share with his teammates. It was not my intent to be insensitive to a man and a family I have great admiration for. Immediately after the event Jack & I (and then Wayne) sat down with David to discuss the decision that was made in the best interest of the team.”

The Jaguars made a mistake. They’ve done what they can to rectify it with the public now and get credit for that.

And on we move.
Colts owner Jim Irsay was named on seven of eight ballots in our NFL owner Power Rankings and placed seventh, the lone representative of the AFC South.

Irsay got three sixth-place votes (including one from me), two seventh-place votes and two eighth-place votes. He didn’t make the list for AFC West blogger Bill Williamson.

Here are the voting results and Tim Graham’s write-up.

My standard was pretty simple: Does an owner maximize his team’s chances to win? Has he enabled the creation of an atmosphere where players want to play?

I score Irsay well on both fronts. He’s done well getting out of his dad’s shadow and establishing a stable organization. He got a new stadium built. He’s interactive with his teams fans via Twitter, if a little heavy on the song lyrics.

Tennessee’s Bud Adams (whose recent highlights include giving the Bills the finger and forcing his front office to draft Vince Young) is too eccentric to make the list. Jacksonville’s Wayne Weaver is on the hook for hiring a (since-fired) head of personnel who spent first-round draft picks on Byron Leftwich, Reggie Williams, Matt Jones, Reggie Nelson and Derrick Harvey in a six-year span.

Houston’s Bob McNair got three votes -- a seventh and two 10ths to finish 12th overall.

I think he weakened his case in the past year. My image of him as a strong and well-reasoned owner took hits with this and this.

McNair is a good businessman. He might turn out to be a great owner. But I don’t think he’s got a good enough understanding of how to win or what it takes to win to warrant a vote right now.

Here’s my ballot:
  1. Bob Kraft
  2. The Rooney Family
  3. The Packers executive committee
  4. John Mara/ Bob Tisch
  5. Jeffrey Lurie
  6. Irsay
  7. Steve Bisciotti
  8. Woody Johnson
  9. Jerry Jones
  10. Arthur Blank
A quick Twitter tour to get a sense of who’s showing up at team headquarters around the AFC South and what’s happened when they have.

I've seen nothing of substance tied to the Texans yet.

Here’s the best from the other three markets.

Indianapolis Colts

@JJFOX59SPORTS (Jeremiah Johnson): Jeff Saturday tells #ESPN that he notified #Colts players and said to keep training as they were (away from facility) "until dust settles"

@Jpeezy25 (Jerraud Powers): Arriving at D1 for workouts....time to get better!

Jacksonville Jaguars

@CBSSportsNFLJAC (RapidReports): Owner Wayne Weaver indicated players won't be getting into the Jags' facility. "We have motions in front of Judge Nelson and I think we just have to wait for her to make a ruling on those motions, then we'll know what our next steps are," he said.

@taniaganguli (Tania Ganguli): #jaguars spokesman tells me what weaver meant was they won't be allowed to work out but will be allowed in the building.

@taniaganguli (Tania Ganguli): Channel 4 left. Now it's just me and first coast news sitting here at EverBank Field. Still no players. #jaguars

Tennessee Titans

@brettkern6 (Brett Kern): Went to the complex to kick ...could not kick but was great to see people !!

@RennieCurran53 (Rennie Curran): Drove all the way out in the rain only to find out no workout, coaches, playbook or nothin. Nobody is really prepared for this situatuion

@glennonsports (John Glennon): Jake Scott says Underwood told him they cld stay in facility, but that there wld be no interaction w organization while there

@glennonsports (John Glennon): Underwood's msg. to Scott today upon arrival: "You’re welcome in the building. Nobody’s going to interact with you if you come in."
The Jaguars denied the Rams permission to talk their offensive coordinator, Dirk Koetter, about their open offensive coordinator job, according to Chris Mortensen.

Koetter’s got cause to be pretty unhappy about that.

Wouldn’t you be, if your boss, Jack Del Rio, had this exchange with reporters at his season wrap-up news conference on January 4?
You talked about the core continuity with the coaching staff. Will you give them permission to look elsewhere?

“Yeah, we’ve got a good staff. I spoke with Mr. [Wayne] Weaver about that and I talked to the staff yesterday about that. It’s not uncommon in today’s NFL, it’ll occur every now and then. Our guys understand that but in terms of wanting them to do what’s best for themselves and their family, absolutely. They have to do that. I will always support that but we have a good staff and they believe in what we’re doing and I think you’ll see that our staff will remain intact.”

The Jaguars gave the Broncos permission to talk to Koetter about their top job, and while he finished in the top three he lost out to veteran head coach John Fox.

Denying the Rams permission to talk to him seems to me to run counter to what Del Rio said. Did he go back on his word or get overruled?

The team declined to comment.

If Koetter could have gotten a long-term deal with the Rams, it surely would have been better for him and his family than working 2011 in Jacksonville, provided there are games to work, and seeing his contract run out at the end of the season.

Seeing your employer deny you permission to discuss a much more secure job when your boss vouched “support” wouldn’t leave most people happy worker bees.

I have little doubt Koetter will work just as hard this season as he would have before this. But say things go well for him and he’s a coaching free agent in 2011. Might it be a factor for him then if he has multiple opportunities?

Surely Jacksonville can now couch Del Rio’s comments and indicate their intention was not to stand in the way of a coaches’ upward mobility as opposed to a lateral move.

If that’s what Del Rio meant or what the Jaguars intended, then it’s what he should have said.

Jaguars regular-season wrap-up

January, 5, 2011
» NFC Wrap-ups: East | West | North | South » AFC: East | West | North | South

Arrow indicates direction team is trending.

Final Power Ranking: 16
Preseason Power Ranking: 25

[+] EnlargeMaurice Jones-Drew
Scott A. Miller/US PresswireMaurice Jones-Drew had more than 1,300 rushing yards for the second season in a row.
Biggest surprise: Speedy growth by the kids. Terrance Knighton and Tyson Alualu are not yet approaching the standard the team set for imposing defensive tackles back when John Henderson and Marcus Stroud were at their peak. But their development this season ranks as the Jaguars’ best story and they may be able to give the team that identity again in time. Eugene Monroe and Eben Britton, before he was hurt, were better in their second years as the starting offensive tackles as well. Mike Thomas is a reliable play-maker and once Derek Cox got out of the doghouse, he was a good cornerback on a team with safety issues.

Biggest disappointment: The offense gave the ball away too often (21 interceptions, 12 fumbles) and the defense didn’t take it away enough (13 interceptions, five fumbles). The Jaguars simply weren’t high-powered enough to be able to overcome a minus-15 take-away, give-away ratio -- 43 turnovers off the standard set by New England at the top of the lead. The offense needs to protect the ball better, but the lack of plays by the defense may have been even more disappointing. To be effective in the team’s chosen style -- a run-first offense and physical defense -- turnovers need to be more in balance.

Biggest need: Safety times two. Courtney Greene was a pretty sure tackler after he took over at strong safety, but the team’s lack of defensive playmaking traces back to both safety spots first. Converted corner Don Carey was too inconsistent and Sean Considine is too slow -- and even the better in-the-box guy has to be able to run well in today’s league. They traded Reggie Nelson early, cut Gerald Alexander twice and traded Anthony Smith. The team’s miss with the Nelson pick in the 2007 first round really hurt the Jaguars. Now they will have to do more work in the draft and free agency to make up for it.

Team MVP: Maurice Jones-Drew. Despite a knee issue from the summer, he worked his tail off and keyed the stretch where the team re-established its identity as a running force and got into contention for the division crown.

Lame ducks: Jack Del Rio is signed through 2012, but Wayne Weaver made it clear there will be a house-cleaning if the Jaguars are not in the 2011 playoff field. The assistant coaches have only a year remaining and will operate as lame ducks. I’d hope it would motivate some guys as opposed to causing problems for them. If they do good work, they’ll get a new deal if things go well on a broader scale. At least they'll be marketable if things don’t. Players will know, too. If they like the guy who runs their room, they need to produce for themselves and for him.



Thursday, 10/23
Sunday, 10/26
Monday, 10/27