It’s impossible to deny that the Jacksonville Jaguars are an improved team in 2015.
That will happen when you spend huge free agent dollars and are able to replace five starters.
Still, with a 2-5 record through their bye, the improvement hasn’t come fast enough for a lot of fans, which are not enduring a two and a half year rebuilding process, but a seven and a half year rebuild.
That brings us to a pair of tired cliches: “Rome wasn’t built in a day,” and “You are what your record says you are.”
Exploring the first one, general manager Dave Caldwell can’t realistically be held responsible for what his predecessor, Gene Smith (quite possibly the worst GM in the history of the NFL) did.
Caldwell and the entire front office knew that this thing had to be torn down before it was built back up and that’s what they’ve done in the first three years.
“Rome wasn’t built in a day.”
With that said, the fans are already on a seven-year plan with their team slated to pick in the Top 5 again. That doesn’t fly.
With owner Shad Khan’s open checkbook regarding free agency, there really isn’t a such thing as a five-year plan. If you’re not considerably better in three years, your plan is to look for another job. Caldwell and company inherited a roster without anything resembling a starting NFL quarterback, no pieces along either line, unless you count Tyson Alualu, a player selected roughly one or two rounds before he should have been (by Gene Smith).
Now that he’s had three offseasons, the Jaguars have a franchise quarterback, some legitimate weapons on offense, an active defensive line which can’t get to the quarterback (nobody could know Dante Fowler would tear his ACL during his first practice), a linebacker who’s ascending toward star status in Telvin Smith, and a bunch of NFL players everywhere else, which is something they didn’t have over the previous two seasons.
The team was virtually starting from an expansion point, and has now put themselves within one-half game of first place in the AFC South (if you’re the glass half full type).
Still, the team is far from a contender and they’re a seven-point underdog this weekend to the New York Jets. A loss would send them to 2-6, and on pace for another Top 5 draft pick.
Dave Caldwell hasn’t drafted a superstar yet, but Blake Bortles seems like he’s heading in that direction. From where Caldwell and company began, they have made progress, even if it’s not showing in the win-loss column.