While we don’t know what Shad Khan will do with this team, we do know that he’ll do something. Khan’s personality doesn’t allow him to stand pat.
He’ll be prudent, he’ll assess the situation and he’ll make the changes he thinks are appropriate. Khan has some friends in the league, some other owners he’ll take advice from and he’ll look at what he has and what his options are and make a move. And while he’s a kind and compassionate man, he doesn’t like failure.
Gene Smith is a good guy and is an original Jaguar employee. It was difficult for Wayne Weaver to promote him to General Manager (he should have done it a few years earlier) and it’s been difficult for Smith to gain any traction with his high profile picks and free-agent acquisitions. Smith is well respected around the league and was given free reign by Khan to select Mike Mularkey as the head coach. Smith won’t have difficulty finding a job in the league if Khan moves him out of the GM job.
It’s easy to point to his record over four years as the GM and decide that it’s time to give somebody else a shot at making the personnel decisions. It’ll be tough on the organization on the football side because Smith is so well liked and has been there since day one, but it’s a production business and with some bad decisions coupled with some bad breaks and injuries, it hasn’t gone his way.
Obviously if you make a change you have a chance to upgrade and that’s what Khan will hope to do. Reports that font office personnel in San Francisco and St. Louis are the leading candidates for the Jaguars GM job are sourced out of those cities, not the Jaguars organization. Khan is tight lipped about what he’s going to do and doesn’t have a track record to look back on. Wayne Weaver was loyal to a fault and it cost the organization a few productive years. Khan isn’t encumbered by those relationships built over years and will make some business decisions based on what he thinks the best course of action is to win games. Period.
As for Head Coach Mike Mularkey, he should get a chance to work with a team that has a bit more talent than the Jaguars did in 2012. He knew they’d “take our lumps” as he said many times in the preseason but there’s no way he could anticipate the number of key injuries the team had along the way. If Khan decides on a new GM, he’ll probably be given the leeway to either keep Mularkey and the staff or hire his “own guy.” Mularkey is also well liked and well respected around the league so it’s not a slam-dunk that he’ll be gone. I think he should stay with some tweaks on the staff but he’s certainly capable of creating a winning atmosphere. He just needs some better players to help get the job done.
I don’t think it’ll be long before Shad Khan makes some key decisions. We’ll know Smith’s situation shortly. Mularkey’s as well. And Tim Tebow should be a Jaguar before the month of January is over.