Jags Much Better on Paper

The Jaguars handed out free agent contracts this week as if they were candy on Halloween. Are these upgrades going to pay off on the football field?

Jaguars general manager Gene Smith made an early plunge into free agency, luring middle linebacker Paul Posluszny away from Buffalo.

He then stepped back and took measured steps in adding linebacker Clint Session and offensive/guard Jason Spitz to help address key areas.

Bringing in Posluszny and Session allowed the Jaguars to absorb the loss of Justin Durant to Detroit. And Spitz, a versatile offensive lineman, provides depth with guard Vince Manuwai released.

"This week has been good pain," Smith told the team's website. "It's like when you haven't run in six months and you get out there and you have to run a 10k or a 5k. You know what the objective is and you know what you want to get done, but going in, there's a level of unknown of what you can get done."

Smith's goal was to upgrade the linebacking corps, and he also wants to address the secondary.

"The goal going in was to get stronger down the middle of our defense at the second and third level," Smith said. "That's what I expressed after our post-season roster evaluation that the player personnel and coaching staff went through. I think it's very important to know your team first, and then put a plan in place. It takes a little bit of luck, and I've said it before in the draft: you make some of your luck by how you prepare.

"Without question, I think we've done some things on defense that will allow our team to take the next step."

The addition of Spitz gives the Jaguars a versatile veteran who can play guard or center.

"He has a lot of starts in the NFL. He can play center as well as guard," Smith said. "He's a guy who's a good fit here, he has played all three spots inside, he has the right makeup and was a teammate of Aaron Kampman's (in Green Bay). We did a lot of work on him coming out of Louisville and he just happens to be from Jacksonville, so again, it's a fit. It's not just a fit for him. It's a fit for us. When you get a chance to match up with players in pro free agency, you want it to become a marriage."

Owner Wayne Weaver has indicated that Del Rio, who won only one playoff games in his first eight seasons, will be fired if the team doesn't make the playoffs.

Weaver is so confident that he says their season finale against Indianapolis could be moved to Sunday night in prime time if the division title is at stake.

"With Indianapolis on January 1, we will have a chance for a Sunday night primetime game for that game, and so it is an exciting time," he said. Weaver thinks the new labor deal has put the team in a good position off the field.

The question is whether the Jaguars will be good as he thinks they will be on the field.

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