Decisions for Mr. Weaver

The Jaguars' season ended without a playoff bid when they lost in the season finale 34-17 to the Houston Texans. They went into the game needing a victory and an Indianapolis Colts loss to Tennessee to make the playoffs.



And Tennessee played the Colts tough -- they were tied 20-20 late in the fourth quarter -- before losing 23-20.

But the Jaguars couldn't help themselves.

This is the second year in a row and the third time in five years that the Jaguars have collapsed down the stretch when they had their playoff fate in their hands.

In 2006, they were 8-5 and lost their last three. Last year, they were 7-5 and lost their last four and this year they were 8-5 and lost their last three.

Coach Jack Del Rio has won just one playoff game in eight years as a head coach and is the only coach since the modern era to fail to win a division title in his first eight seasons.

So now owner Wayne Weaver is left with the difficult decision of whether he should fire Del Rio, who is due to make over $10 million in the final two years of his contract.

WHAT WENT RIGHT: The Jaguars showed in the second year of the regime of general manager Gene Smith that they are making strides in the right direction even though their 8-8 record was only one game better than their 7-9 record in 2009. Smith is patiently building through the draft and has a core nucleus of young players who should be the foundation of the future.

The two players they drafted on the first two rounds in 2009, Eugene Monroe and Eben Britton, should be bookend tackles for the next decade even though Britton suffered a torn labrum and went on injured reserve. And they raised eyebrows with their first-round pick, defensive tackle Tyson Alualu, who proved to be solid in the middle although he wasn't rated the 10th pick in the draft on many draft boards. And running back Maurice Jones-Drew made the Pro Bowl for the second year despite missing the final two games of the season with a knee injury. And tight end Marcedes Lewis emerged as a Pro Bowl player. Under Smith, the Jaguars seem headed in the right direction.

WHAT WENT WRONG: Teams are usually judged what they do down the stretch in crunch time and the Jaguars continue to be a team that falls short in that department. For the second year in a row and the third time in five years, they faded down the stretch after being in position to make the playoffs. And their defense gave up more points than any in team history, even more than the 1995 expansion team. They allowed 419 points and were blown out in five of their eight losses. They lost those games by a total of 116 points.

They were vulnerable in the secondary against teams with good quarterbacks as coach Jack Del Rio kept shuffling the players, using five different combinations in the first seven games.

Meanwhile, the run defense was porous, giving up 244 yards in the season finale against Houston and 236 against Kansas City.


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