Groundhog's Day in Jacksonville

Jaguars owner Wayne Weaver made it obvious Monday that coach Jack Del Rio is on the clock. He either makes the playoffs in 2011 or he's out. "If we're not in the playoffs (next season), it's pretty apparent that we will have a different coach," Weaver said.



Del Rio, who was originally scheduled to meet with the media Monday, postponed his season ending press conference until Tuesday.

Del Rio is entering his ninth season and has a 66-65 record, including a 1-2 playoff record.

Weaver said he met with eight or 10 leaders on the team for their feedback and, not surprisingly, they tended to back Del Rio. The players generally say they like playing for Del Rio.

"One of the players I have great respect for said, 'I hope we're not having to start over. This team is this close to becoming a real good football team. Starting over would set the team back.' I don't look for players to make decisions, but it makes sense and comes from the heart. He was saying that because he really believes a new system would set the team back," he said.

Weaver also said he wasn't rolling over the contracts of the assistant coaches so they become virtual lame-duck coaches whose contracts expire after the 2011 season.

That means Weaver won't owe them any money if he fires Del Rio and his staff after next season although he would still owe Del Rio a little more than $5 million for the final year of his contract.

Weaver's decision to bring Del Rio back won't be popular with the fan base that has become impatient with the team's late-season collapses and the fact that Del Rio has won just one playoff game in his eight-year tenure.

He's also the only NFL coach since the 1970 merger and the second in the history of the NFL not to win a division title in his first eight seasons.

But Weaver said he was being patient with Del Rio because the team started a rebuilding program in 2009 when Gene Smith was named general manager.

"I believe in every fiber in my body that this team is an ascending team and we will be in the playoffs next season. I don't think there's any doubt about it," he said.

He said a year ago that he didn't expect to be sitting home this season during the playoffs.

He called that a "little bit of bravado" and suggested this year he really means it.

"I really believe what I'm saying," he said.


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