By: David Levin (@davidlevin71)
At this point last year, we were all about to drink very strong Kool Aid.
We wanted to buy into the idea that Gene Smith had finally found the secret potion that would make the Jaguars winners. We were drinking the gospel that Blaine Gabbert was the real deal and that Mike Mularkey was the man who would make us forget about Jack Del Rio, mediocrity and the possibility of another 8-8 season.
Right now, if you poll any Jaguars fan in the area, 8-8 would be like winning the Super Bowl.
This season, we are drinking a new brand of liquid quencher, hoping it is the elixir that will cure our ills and that David Caldwell, Gus Bradley and his coaching staff are the soothsayers or medical staff to cure that can perform surgery on this franchise and give it a new heart, a new brain and some courage.
For better or worse, these are the new look Jacksonville Jaguars.
With training camp days away (I can see the clock moving at a slow, turtle-like speed) and my mouth watering, I cannot wait to get out there and see what can be done to change the anemic pass rush, the stagnant secondary and the gaping offensive line. But with any practice and preparation, this is not a mile run, rather marathon of preparation. Everything will not be fixed in a day. There are plenty of issues to resolve. But by seeing 90 players out there, fighting for the common cause, hoping to get by on ability and skill and determination, we all become entranced, so to speak.
The problems that existed with the Jaguars started with last season’s training camp. Maurice Jones-Drew was a hold out. Laurent Robinson was concussed, starting a season that was for naught and cost the team money before he was released. The offensive line was decimated because of injuries. Those things cannot happen again if this team is going to go anywhere.
Coaches need to see more drive, make the players in pad forget about last season, to camouflage the past as it were a bad dream and focus on the future. The players like Cecil Shorts and Justin Blackmon need to build on 2012 without remembering it too much. Injuries need to be avoided. And above everything else, the players who we see every day and become our cult heroes need to speak the gospel of a franchise that can only ascend.
Those are the beginnings of success. Without that formula, the Kool Aid we are sipping is nothing more than colored drink mix.