The good news about the Jaguars is really old news: Gene Smith is no longer the team’s general manager. The new news is the Jaguars have their new general manager, David Caldwell, and can now start moving forward trying to fix this messed up franchise. Really, other than that all we can do is wait and see whether or not the 38-year-old former Falcons assistant general manager is the right man for the job.
We know Caldwell has worked under successful people. How much of their knowledge has rubbed off on him? Is he the next Bill Parcells when it comes to judging talent or another Gene Smith? Is he a “boy genius” or has he simply benefitted from knowing the right people?
If you’re a Jaguars fan you have to put your trust in owner Shad Khan’s judgment. Clearly Caldwell is the man Khan targeted soon after deciding Smith had to go. You have to trust that Khan did his homework, listening to the right people around the NFL. Other than that, keep a stiff upper lip and remember this: It can’t get much worse.
Now, catching up on some old news . . .
*The Gators embarrassed themselves in the Sugar Bowl. Not because they lost 33-23 to Louisville but because of how some of the players conducted themselves on the field. No doubt many viewers of the game came away with the perception that the Florida football program is filled with thugs. Athletics is a marketing tool for many universities. Sadly, it isn’t always a positive marketing tool. Florida is an outstanding university and most of its athletes represent the school well. Unfortunately, it only takes a few athletes – and a national TV audience –to convince people otherwise.
* The New Orleans Saints were thrilled they were able to retain Sean Payton as their head coach after he sat out a season-long suspension handed him by the NFL for “Bountygate”. Now let me get this straight about Payton: He’s a proven winner; he admittedly broke rules; he lied repeatedly to his bosses; he was insubordinate. In the real world that gets a person fired. I guess it is all about winning in the NFL.
* I’d be hard pressed to think of an athlete that has impressed me more than Johnny Manziel. His Cotton Bowl performance against Oklahoma was a giant exclamation mark to his remarkable Heisman Trophy-winning season as a red-shirt freshman QB at Texas A&M.
* If I was in charge at Southern Cal I’d fire Lane Kiffin faster than you can say Trojan head football coach. His team’s half-hearted effort in losing the Sun Bowl 21-7 to Georgia Tech was bad enough. The snide comments on twitter by some of his players about the host city, El Paso, showed immaturity and a lack of class – two of Kiffin’s trademark traits.
* I appreciate and respect people who are hard and dedicated workers as much as anyone, but if Alabama’s Coach Nick Saban was sincere when he said moments after thrashing Notre Dame in the BCS Championship Game that he and his players would take a two-day break and then start working on next season . . . well, I think that’s ridiculous and a lie. Why put in all the effort and time to win a championship and then not enjoy the fruits of your labor? I’m not suggesting Saban and his players take a four-month break to celebrate, but two days? This is sports, not searching for the cure to cancer. Truthfully, I think Saban says ridiculous things to enhance his image as the brilliant coach who works 24/7. He is a great coach, but a phony human being.
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