4. Deep into evaluation. We begin this post-State of the Jaguars 2013 edition of Fab Four by talking about where the Jaguars’ coaches and front office are as of Thursday – that is, deep into roster evaluation. General Manager David Caldwell at this stage is a bit deeper into the process than Head Coach Gus Bradley, with Caldwell having begun the process immediately after the Senior Bowl as Bradley finalized the coaching staff. “I’ve gone through some of the positions,” Bradley said following Tuesday’s State of the Jaguars 2013 press conference. “We’ll finalize that hopefully this week and have a chance to sit down with Dave and kind of give him our thoughts and our views on some things.” The first meeting between the personnel department and coaching staff is expected Thursday, though Caldwell said coaches and personnel officials have been in the building for a couple weeks, talking back and forth. “It’s not all the coaches in at one time,” Caldwell said. “It’s Jedd Fisch, our offensive coordinator, and our quarterbacks coach [Frank Scelfo]. It’s Jedd Fisch and our offensive line coach [George Yarno] or it’s Bob Babich [defensive coordinator] and our defensive line coach, Todd Wash. Then it’s me and Gus and our player personnel directors.” Caldwell said those meetings will mark the next step in a collaborative effort to evaluate the roster “with thoughts from our personnel department, then after that we’re going to formulate a plan through free agency,” he said. “They’ll start working on some free agents as a coaching staff. We’ll go through the Combine, and then after that they’ll start looking at draft-eligible players.”
3. Ongoing process. What will be the end game of the roster evaluation process? How will the roster eventually look? Caldwell said the answer to that won’t come in the coming weeks – or maybe even the coming months. “That’s going to be an ongoing process,” he said. “That process is going to go maybe into the season and through the whole season in terms of as we filter players through the draft, through free agency and to see who are the guys that want to stay and compete. This may be one of the more competitive training camps that you’re going to see in Jacksonville.” Caldwell has said since taking the job last month he plans to build through the draft, using free agency as a supplement, and he reiterated Tuesday that he has seen positives in the Jaguars’ current roster. “I see guys that play hard,” he said. “They’re physical. They want to win. They weren’t out of too many games this year. There were a lot of close games, and in the NFL it’s about four or five plays in every game that kind of dictate it. There’s a fine line between being 2-14 and being 10-6. There is. I see some encouraging things that we can build upon.” Caldwell said the first priority in coming weeks is to decide who will return for 2013, with the next issue deciding where current players will play in new offensive and defensive schemes. “Coach Bradley and his (defensive) scheme is going to be different than what you’ve seen in the past,” Caldwell said. “Our offensive system is going to be different, so that’s a key part of it, too, then after we decide that we can move on to what are our legit needs.… Like I said from the get-go, I want to build. I don’t want to tear it down in terms of some of the key pieces we have in place, and build upon those pieces.”
2. Strong commitment. The State of the Jaguars’ 2013 press conference was about more than a logo unveiling. It also was about Jaguars Owner Shad Khan and President Mark Lamping providing a glimpse into their thoughts about the financial future and stability of the franchise. The annual game in London, for example, is critical to the effort to grow a brand internationally. Yet, because of the increased revenue from the game because of the size of Wembley Stadium and higher ticket prices, the game helps the Jaguars to keep ticket prices in Jacksonville low, and helped the team raise season-ticket prices on average just two percent for next season. “London makes us stronger in Jacksonville,” Lamping said, adding that the team’s objective of state-of-the-art, high-impact video boards in EverBank Field by 2014 is also evidence of a strong commitment to Jacksonville. “If you look at the actions of what’s happened since Shad (Khan) bought the team, we have done everything we can to underscore our commitment to Jacksonville,” Lamping said. “So whether it’s investing in the stadium, identifying things we need to do – if we weren’t focused on Jacksonville, we wouldn’t be wasting our time on saying ‘here’s what we need to do to the stadium.’’’
1. The time for Tebow talk is over. The astute reader – and he knows who he is – knows this final segment of Fabulous Four is reserved for the quarterback each week. On this day, we’ll sort of stick to the formula – albeit with a twist – by what could, maybe, possibly be a final (?) word on Tim Tebow. This topic keeps creeping into the Jaguars’ periphery, and so it crept again Tuesday, with Khan being asked about Tebow following the State of the Jaguars 2013 press conference – this, after Caldwell had said during his introductory press conference the Jaguars wouldn’t pursue the former University of Florida quarterback “even if he’s released” by the New York Jets. Upon being asked Tuesday, Khan replied, “You know where we stand as an organization, and I think it really is a discussion that’s counterproductive at this point.” Khan last offseason had asked then-General Manager Gene Smith to look into trading with the Denver Broncos for Tebow. Tebow eventually chose the Jets over the Jaguars. “We have to decide what is good for us as a football team today,” Khan said. “As of today I think Dave is the guy making the decision, and as an institution, as an organization, all of us are going to support him and I think it was absolutely the right decision.” Indeed, as of February 7, 2013, there seems to be little more ground to break on this topic. Could it be maybe, possibly time to put it away?