Owner Wayne Weaver said last week that no major changes would occur in the offseason despite another disappointing finish in 2009. This can be viewed as a good-news/bad-news statement for Jacksonville fans.
The good news is that despite a recent report saying Buffalo and Jacksonville are the front-runners for relocation to Los Angeles, Weaver continues to state adamantly that the team is not for sale.
"We're not for sale," said Weaver, noticeably agitated by the report. "We're trying to re-energize this fan base and get them excited about the team."
Jacksonville was doing just that through the first 13 weeks of the season. With a 7-5 record, and in control of their playoff destiny, things were looking up for the Jaguars.
But Weaver overreacted to the team's success, extending the contracts of his coaching assistants similarly to the way he rewarded head coach Jack Del Rio with a four-year extension following the 2007 playoffs. The team proceeded to drop the next four games, appearing very poorly coached along the way.
In the season-ending loss to the Browns, Cleveland went the entire third quarter without attempting a pass, running the ball at will against Del Rio's defense.
Therein lies the bad news for Jaguars fans, many of whom have grown tired of Del Rio; it doesn't appear that he is going anywhere. Word is, with three years remaining and more than $15 million still owed on his contract, and with uncertainty about the future of the Collective Bargaining Agreement, Weaver is not ready to make a move, despite acknowledging Del Rio's mediocrity.
"We've been average the last seven years," Weaver said. "Being average is not acceptable. We've got to get better. We had a great draft class, a lot of young players. For the most part, they all produced. Building off this last draft class, and going into the offseason, I think we're a team that's ascending. I don't expect to be sitting home in January next year (during the playoffs). I'll tell you that."
While 2009 was largely viewed as a rebuilding season, it is apparent that nothing short of a trip to the playoffs will save Del Rio's job in 2010. With a much tougher schedule that includes road games in San Diego, Dallas and New York (Giants), Del Rio will likely be a lame-duck head coach before next season ends.
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