The Jack Del Rio era will go on for at least one more season in Jacksonville.
Del Rio emerged from his Monday afternoon meeting with Jaguars owner Wayne Weaver with the knowledge that his job was safe despite his inability to get his team ready for important games late in the season.
Earlier today I said that I thought the Jaguars would retain Del Rio, but it does not mean that I agree with it.
In this era of the NFL it is hard to understand how a coach can keep his job as long as Del Rio has with nothing to show for it. In his eight seasons as coach in Jacksonville, Del Rio has a 66-65 record which is the absolute definition of mediocrity.
Over the past two seasons, Del Rio’s teams have a 1-7 record in the all important last four games of the season. What makes this especially unacceptable is the fact that in each of the past two seasons the Jaguars controlled their playoff destiny entering the final four games of the season. The Jaguars inability to finish down the home stretch is a major negative reflection on the coach and his ability to get his team prepared to play when it is all on the line.
Del Rio’s biggest crime in my mind, however, is the fact that his defensive units have been a major issue over the past two seasons. It is no secret that Del Rio, as a former linebacker and defensive coordinator, is largely in control over what happens on the defensive side of the ball.
The players have largely come out in support of their head coach, but the fans apparently do not share the same appreciation for Del Rio.
Shortly after it came out that Del Rio was safe, the Jaguars message boards lit up with anger towards the decision. Some fans have already said that the retention of Del Rio would effect their willingness to renew their season tickets in 2011. While that seems a bit drastic, the fans are clearly tired of Weaver’s tolerance for mediocrity.
The Jaguars enter next season in the third year of a complete roster overhaul and massive improvements should be expected on both sides of the ball. Youth and inexperience can no longer be used as an excuse for the Jaguars inability to succeed late in the season.
Unfortunately for Jaguars fans, it is going to take at least one more average season for the decision makers to realize Del Rio is not the man for the job.