Memo to Gene Smith: Lighten Up!

Posted: January 18, 2012 in Jacksonville Jaguars
Tags: , , ,

It is time for Gene Smith to adjust his philosophy on acquiring players for the Jaguars.

I’m all for drafting/signing high character people, but Smith’s standards are simply too rigid. I’d think a large percentage of twentysomething-old-year men with plenty of cash in their pockets and groupies hovering nearby will react pretty much the same. Alcohol, drugs, clubbing and womanizing are a part of their lives. For good or bad, there simply aren’t that many Tim Tebow-type guys in the world.

Smith’s No. 1 priority should be acquiring the best players, eliminating only the true thugs and egomaniacs from consideration.

That said, the No. 1 position on the priority list is obviously wide receiver. Oklahoma State’s Justin Blackmon is clearly the pick of the litter in this year’s draft, but it is likely he’ll be gone when the Jaguars go on the clock with the 7th overall pick. Free agency is where the Jaguars need to concentrate.

My first suggestion: get a proven veteran known as a team guy. Absolutely, Smith should call the Colts’ Reggie Wayne and the Patriots’ Wes Welker. Sure they’re longshots, but make the calls. They would provide help in the locker room and a talent upgrade. Then go after a younger proven free agent. There is a long list of guys who fit this description, starting with San Diego’s Vincent Jackson, Kansas City’s Dwayne Bowe and New Orleans’ Marques Colston. Others who should be called include Buffalo’s Stevie Johnson and Dallas’ Laurent Robinson.

Defensively, the Jaguars are solid but it could use help at defensive end. Cliff Avril might want to come home. The former Clay High player has become a star in Detroit. The best available DE might be Arizona’s Calias Campbell, a 6-8 pass rusher who played college ball at Miami. Maybe Robert Mathis wants out of Indianapolis. Cortland Finnegan of Tennessee is a cornerback that needs a call. We know he likes to play in Jacksonville.

I don’t want to give the impression that I’m an expert when to comes to the best available free agents. I’m certain there are many other talented but lesser known players who will be available. I just want the Jaguars general manager to quit eliminating players because they weren’t boy scouts or because they’ve occasionally shown bad judgment growing up.

Or because their agents are looking to break the bank. While I appreciate and agree with Smith’s insistence on not grossly overpaying players, he may have to roll the dice if the Jaguars are to take a major step forward. The teams he’s trying to beat are doing it.

The Jaguars, in my opinion, are only a few players from being serious playoff contenders. The biggest question mark, of course, is quarterback. Opinions on Blaine Gabbert range from bust to potential franchise quarterback. Odds are we’ll never know if his supporting cast isn’t upgraded.

And to do that Smith has got to take some chances with some players who are characters instead of players with character.



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