This past Sunday, the Jaguars performed poorly against the Philadelphia Eagles, losing the game 28-3. This of course, sent fans into a outrage. The fans should be embarrassed and angry. So what is the problem? Why can't the Jags stay competive in each game? Who is responsible for the Jaguars woes? There are some answers to these questions. Let's take a look.
James "Shack" Harris
He is the former vice president of player personnel for the Jaguars. If you look at all of his roster moves and draft picks, he is largely to blame. Byron Leftwich was his first draft pick and we all know how that turned out. Now he's a backup for the Steelers. Reggie Williams was his next first round selection. This was move based on need. Williams isn't on a NFL roster today. The next year, it was Matt Jones. Jones had trouble with the law and eventually was released by the Jags. He got cut by the Bengals in the offseason. Reggie Nelson was another of his selections in the draft. He is now with the Bengals because of a trade. Only Derrick Harvey and Mercedes Lewis are the only first round picks from the Harris era still on the Jaguars roster. Jerry Porter was signed under Harris and he wasn't productive. When Harris resigned, Gene Smith was promoted. Now he is responsible to clean up the mess Harris made.
At first, Garrard seemed like the solution at quarterback. He outplayed Byron Leftwich and became the starter. He led the team to its first playoff win since 1999 and gave the fans a reason to be optimistic. But after his $60 million contract, he hasn't been the same. Garrard has been very inconsistent. One game having his highest passing rating, then throwing interceptions and missing receivers in the next game. It looks like he is not the solution any more and Jacksonville will have to address the quarterback position in the upcoming draft.
Coming into the season, all the attention was fixing the pass rush. The Jags weren't getting to the quarterback. By fixing the pass rush, the secondary would improve. So far it has not helped the secondary. The Jaguars have seven sacks after three games, that is half of last year's total. But the secondary keeps getting burned by the opposing quarterback. Michael Vick threw for 291 yards and three touchdowns against Jacksonville. With Peyton Manning coming to town, it doesn't look like it will get any better.
When you look at the troubles the franchise has, it must start at the top. He may have been too excited over the 2007 season. Weaver gave quarterback David Garrard a six-year, $60 million contract extension. Doesn't seem like he deserves that contract anymore. Head coach Jack Del Rio was given a four-year, $21 million extension. Del Rio is 59-59 in his career as head coach. That says a lot. But Weaver has remained patient with Del Rio. Weaver should take some of the blame.
Going into the week 4 of the NFL season, you are stuck with the players you have. There is no way getting around that. The Jaguars are two good drafts away from being back where they should be. Fans need to be patient. Building a Super Bowl franchise doesn't happen overnight, it takes time. With this year's draft class having a lot of quarterbacks and defensive players to choose from, fans should be optimistic. But as of right now, the Jaguars must win or stay competitive to keep the fan base believing in the team.