Jack Del Rio is a Lame Duck Head Coach
At team owner Wayne Weaver’s press conference on Tuesday, it was announced that head coach Jack Del Rio will be leading the Jaguars for at least one more season.
Weaver told the media, “Jack is committed to doing the things that I have laid out that we have to do, in my opinion, to bring this football team to an elite level.”
Ironically, Del Rio was not in attendance for the presser.
I cannot verify whether Del Rio was in his office counting his millions of dollars.
But, I do know that Del Rio has three years remaining and $15 million to earn on his contract. And, next season, regardless of the game-time scenario that could eventually lead to criticism, Del Rio will receive most, if not all, of the blame.
Whether Del Rio likes it or not, he is participating in Blame Game 2010 – unless the Jacksonville Jaguars go undefeated, which is highly unlikely.
If I were to guess, I would place Del Rio’s approval rating at less than 20.
Since Del Rio’s end-of-the-year press conference ten days ago, Jaguars fans have come out of the woodwork lambasting him. I am reminded very similarly of Tom Coughlin’s departure after the 2002 season.
I feel deep-down that Jack Del Rio is a lame-duck head coach. Clearly, Wayne Weaver is not perfect in front of the media; however, I did expect him to convince us that his confidence in Del Rio was unmatched.
I thought it was more of one big “Well, who else is out there?”
The way I see it, is Del Rio is about as well-liked in Jacksonville as mosquitoes and hard freezes combined. His golden boy image has only worked for seven years. With time and average regular-season performances, the glitz and glamour has worn off.
In addition, I do not think Del Rio denied the reports fast enough and confidently enough to make Jaguars fans pleased with his return for the 2010 season.
Further, according to my sources, Del Rio’s agent made some phone calls to place his client’s name on Southern Cal’s wish list – which I have no problem with since that is what agents are hired to do.
However, I laughed heartily when I heard that Del Rio said the reports of him departing Jacksonville for USC were “manufactured” and “figments of other people’s imagination.”
So, for nearly 48 hours, Del Rio was assumed to be Pete Carroll’s successor. Staying silent is no way to gain the fans’ support. Go ahead and ask Tiger Woods. That is, if you can find him.
Last Thursday, I wrote how “Del Rio needs a playoff win” to keep his job through the 2011 season. And, I still stick by that statement.
But, I believe the Jaguars have no chance of bringing in a better and more highly-qualified head coach than Del Rio.
Indeed, Weaver has confidence in his staff and what it is capable of achieving. During Tuesday’s press conference, Weaver said, “I feel good that the team of Gene Smith and Jack Del Rio is going to take this franchise to an elite level.”
Weaver mentioned the words “elite” and “accountability” numerous times on Tuesday.
One fact is definite: if the Jaguars do not become an elite NFL team, the issue of accountability will be placed on the shoulders of head coach Jack Del Rio.
Fans are a tough group, especially when they have invested time, energy and money into their team. It’s only a matter of time when they will critique and reassess the team’s success under Del Rio.
Accountability could be closer than one would like to think. Accountability could catch up to Del Rio after the 2010 season.
Richard Miller is a national broadcaster for Jacksonville Jaguars’ home games on Sporting News Radio. Additionally, he can be heard on ABC 1320 WBOB in Jacksonville at 5:45 p.m. on Wednesdays with The Jacksonville Observer Radio Show.
Richard contributes to Inside the Game with Robin Valetutto every Saturday from 11 a.m. – 1 p.m.
Currently, Richard is writing David Lamm’s biography entitled Lamm at Large: The David Lamm Story, which will be available in 2010.
You can e-mail Richard at Richard.firstname.lastname@example.org