Shad Khan, the fantastically moustached owner of the Jacksonville Jaguars, has hired a new GM, Atlanta director of player personnel Dave Caldwell. After a week of interviews, Khan found the man to replace ex-GM Gene Smith. Smith had been with the team since it’s inception in 1994, starting as a regional scout and working his way to GM in 2009. Unfortunately for him, the team was sold to Shad Khan and he drafted QB Blaine Gabbert, who has been one of the worst young QB’s in the league. Now, the yearly pillaged Atlanta front office has seen another casualty.
Dave Caldwell was in the first year at his new post as director of player personnel after serving four years as the Falcons’ director of college scouting. During his time as the director of college scouting, the Falcons drafted the likes of QB Matt Ryan, LB Sean Weatherspoon, T Sam Baker and WR Julio Jones, all front line starters. Some front offices don’t have four players that are still on their teams in four years, let alone four above average starters. The Atlanta Falcons have become one of the ideal build through the draft franchises in the NFL; with Green Bay, New York Giants and San Francisco. That is why every time a GM spot opens, these four front offices are routinely pillaged and will continue to be pillaged.
Caldwell’s first decision as GM of the Jacksonville Jaguars has to be the fate of head coach Mike Mularkey. Most assume that a new GM will bring in their own head coach as soon as they come in, but we have seen many examples of GM’s keeping the incumbent head coach for one year to let them audition. Lovie Smith being a great example of this. Many assume that Caldwell will bring in San Francisco offensive coordinator Greg Roman as the new head coach, but it can’t be overlooked that Caldwell has some sort of past with Mike Mularkey. When Caldwell was the director of college scouting for the Falcons, Mularkey was the offensive coordinator. There must have been some interaction between the offensive coordinator and the director of college scouting to try to find the best possible players for the team, its future and its offense. Whether they truly got along is a completely different matter and will likely determine the outcome of whether Caldwell keeps Mularkey on or lets him go. It can’t be overlooked though.
Caldwell will be one of the most challenged new GM’s in 2013 and must try to find a way to fix the QB position, along with many other GM’s. Incumbent starter Chad Henne is generally not considered a true starter, Blaine Gabbert is a flop and many expect Tim Tebow to be brought in to sell tickets and compete for the spot. If owner Shad Khan does insist on Tim Tebow, I would demand two things if I were Caldwell. One, an extra two years on my contract to waste on Tim Tebow time, and two, a coordinator or coach that has successfully worked with him, Broncos OC Mike McCoy.
The Jags are a perpetually sad franchise after their meteoric rise to prominence with Mark Brunell and Caldwell is going to be in for some long nights. But, look at the bright side, in five years Caldwell will probably be the GM of the Los Angeles Jaguars (please be more creative when you move the team).