Both Jacksonville Jaguars owner Wayne Weaver and head coach Jack Del Rio said they favored the seeding of teams in the NFL playoffs, a topic that was tabled at this week's NFL owners meeting in West Palm Beach.
"Absolutely we were in favor of it. We would have been recipients of such a move both in 2005 and this past year. It was Jack's proposal," Weaver said jokingly. Added Del Rio, laughing, "I wanted Indianapolis to have something to look forward to next year."
The Jaguars will welcome a recently relocated friend back to Jacksonville Municipal Stadium for their first preseason game next fall when they host the Atlanta Falcons.
The Falcons are coached by Mike Smith, who spent the past five seasons with the Jaguars as defensive coordinator before accepting the head coaching vacancy with the Falcons shortly after this past season ended.
Former Jaguars defensive end Marcellus Wiley who played for the Jaguars in 2005 and is now an analyst with several different outlets including ESPN, denounced the Falcons decision to hire Smith, saying Smith was just a figurehead in Jacksonville that a number of the players didn't respect and that Del Rio was pretty much in charge of the defense during Smith's days with the Jaguars.
A number of current and past Jaguars players later refuted Wiley's comments and said that Smith was well-liked and well-respected by Jaguars players.
At the press conference to announce the contract extension for Jaguars coach Jack Del Rio, owner Wayne Weaver was asked what prompted him to pursue Del Rio five years earlier. Del Rio had no experience as a head coach and served as a defensive coordinator for just one season with the Carolina Panthers.
"Jack's name came up later in the process," Weaver said. "One of my friends who was a very successful head coach in the National Football League and had a strong reputation, is the one who said that I should talk to Jack Del Rio. I knew that Jack was the defensive coordinator in Carolina but didn't know much about him.
"When I did my research and I had a chance to visit with Jack, it was apparent to me very quickly that this was somebody that would come in and lead our franchise and do a great job. I guess I'll take a little credit, I've been pretty successful in hiring people and this is a good example of that."
When asked who the head coach was that recommended Del Rio to Weaver, the Jaguars' owner replied, "Jimmy Johnson."
With his head coach locked into a new five-year agreement, one of the first questions posed to Jaguars owner Wayne Weaver was where things stood with a new contract for quarterback David Garrard.
Garrard, picked by Del Rio to replace Byron Leftwich as the team's starting quarterback a week before the season was to begin last year, has one year remaining on his contract before he would become a free agent.
Garrard turned in a strong season last year, his 102.2 passer rating was third best in the NFL and he led the league in third down passing at 128.8. He set a franchise single-season record for passer rating and completion percentage (64.0) and attempted 230 consecutive passes without an interception to start the season over a span of eight games, both team records.
"I think you can expect something on the quarterback. We hope it will be sooner than later," Weaver said. "We think the world of David. He's the guy we believe can lead us and bring that world championship here to Jacksonville. So hopefully we'll get that done sooner than later."
QUOTE TO NOTE:
"I don't know that I've changed a great deal other than just to mature and gain experience. My philosophies remain largely the same." -- Jack Del Rio on how he's changed in the last five years as a head coach.
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