2009 Gridiron Gab Team Previews: Jacksonville Jaguars

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Looking at the Jacksonville Jaguars right now is not unlike walking in on someone who is cleaning up after a major basement flood. It’s a mess. And not the type that makes you say Here, let me help; more the type that makes you say I’ll come back later. Jacksonville’s cleanup efforts, daunting as they may be, are completely necessary.

This was a Super Bowl-hopeful club that stumbled to an ugly 5-11 record last season. Injuries played a huge part––the Jags had an interior offensive line that some high school JV coaches wouldn’t have settled for––but only because this team lacked the character and chemistry to cope with adversity.

Owner Wayne Weaver noticed this and, instead of canning head coach Jack Del Rio, he canned VP of Player Personnel Gene “Shack” Harris. Then he appointed longtime scout Gene Smith to the role of GM and instructed him to can just about everyone else. One of Smith’s first orders of business was saying goodbye to franchise icon Fred Taylor.

That move was soon followed with a rally behind Taylor’s understudy, Maurice Jones-Drew. Smith signed the third-year pro to a four-year, $31 million contract, making the explosive bowling ball of a runner one of the five highest paid tailbacks in the game.

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