Last night's game between the Indianapolis Colts and the Jacksonville Jaguars was one of the worst NFL games in my recent memory. The final score wasn't outrageous (27-10 in favor of the Colts), but the way the Jaguars lost was just ugly. At 1-8, the Jaguars are the worst team in the NFL, and their play has regressed so far this season.
With so much going wrong, it appears that owner Shahid Khan will be launching a full-scale rebuild at the end of the season, but what exactly does that mean? What follows is a simplistic blueprint for rebuilding a franchise as quickly as possible.
1) Blow it up. The first step of rebuilding a franchise is to wipe the slate clean. That includes a new general manager and a new coaching staff. Gene Smith took over as general manager of the Jaguars in 2009, and the team hasn't improved. Mike Mularkey took over at the beginning of this year. He may be safe as the head coach, but if I was Shahid Khan, I'd fire everyone.
2) Cut dead weight. By that I mean a team in full-scale rebuild mode (think the Colts following the 2011 season) needs to identify players that aren't pulling their weight and get rid of all of them. Keep the core players that have talent and be rid of everyone else.
3) Pick an identity. Every great team in the NFL has a distinct style of play. It's important for a general manager and a head coach to shape their team to the style of football they want to play.
4) Hit homeruns with high draft picks. The final big piece of a rebuild is to find playmakers with early round draft picks, especially when picking in the top ten or five. The Jaguars have drafted Tyson Alualu, Blaine Gabbert and Justin Blackmon inside the top ten under Gene Smith. Among that group, Alualu has been okay, Gabbert has been awful most of the time, and the verdict on Justin Blackmon is still out, although early returns aren't great.
That's it. Obviously, my plan is extremely simple, but that's what a team's owner needs to do when things go sour as they have for the Jaguars, among others, this season. Blow up the front office, and bring in new people. That's what I expect Shahid Khan to do at the end of the season, but he won't be the only owner to hit the reset button in January.