Jacksonville Jaguars Ready to Rise rally
January 17, 2012
On a pleasant evening in the River City, fans of the Jacksonville Jaguars gathered at Everbank Field to see the franchise’s new owner and head coach, Shahid Khan and Mike Mularkey along with general manger Gene Smith.
Jaguars great Tony Boselli served as the master of ceremonies for the event. Before the team management appeared, he hosted a random assortment of Jaguars on stage, including Montell Owens, Derek Cox, Jeremy Mincey, Greg Jones, Brock Bolen, Zach Miller, John Chick, Ebben Britton,Corvey Irvin, and Corvey Orvin. Conspicuously absent was quarterback Blaine Gabbert. A sharply dressed Derek Cox enthusiastically addressed the crowd as did Montell Owens.
Once the leadership took the stage, Gene Smith was the first to speak. It will be interesting to see whether he continues to be a public face. 1010 XL’s Rick Ballou has complained many a time that the public never sees Smith, that the general manager is ‘always in his bunker.’
The new head coach came was next to stand with the microphone.
He introduced the defensive coaching staff that has been assembled thus far. There were big cheers, biggest of the evening in fact, for defensive coordinator Mel Tucker.
Finally, it was Shahid Khan’s turn.
None had anything of note to say in their remarks. The question and answer session did have a few things worth of mention:
- Mike Mularkey was asked whether the interview of Keenan McCardell (who was a star wide receiver opposite Jimmy Smith in the team’s glory days) for Wide Receiver coach was a ‘courtesy interview’ or there was a legitimate interest. Mularkey was emphatic that there’s no such thing as a courtesy interview and McCardell was seriously being considered (along with others) for the position. The crowd made it’s support of McCardell known; Boselli acknowledged that if the franchise were a democracy, Keenan would be the WR coach.
- A question directed towards all three concerned whether the Jaguars would be aggressive towards acquiring offensive stand-outs in free agency as they were in (quite successfully, I may note) acquiring defensive players in the previous off-season. Gene Smith acknowledged that he is looking to “upgrade the team’s weapons on offense”. Mularkey was content with Smith’s answer and had nothing further to say. Khan qupped “Gene, Mike, please do that!”
- Shahid Khan enumerated a few things he is going to do to make Jacksonville the benchmark for the fan experience
- Wireless antennas in the stadium so everyone could check on their fantasy football team without suffering slow connections.
- An upgraded sound system for the stadium
- More screens in the stadium. He further added that there would be “no advertisements ” on the screen; he noted that while he appreciates the advertisers’ support, he does not want anything to detract from the fan experience.
The owner ought to have been pleased with the turnout. The crowd photo was taken from a few rows back, just right of center in the south end zone, looking left. The “wrap-around” crowd was equally sizable to the right. Indeed, he seemed to be beaming throughout the event.