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Jaguars owner Shad Khan says he learned lesson about right way to build team

Posted: March 25, 2014 - 9:21pm  |  Updated: March 25, 2014 - 10:12pm

ORLANDO — Having assumed ownership of the Jaguars, Shad Khan was a spectator two years ago during free agency and bought what then-general manager Gene Smith was selling.

The Jaguars signed receiver Laurent Robinson, quarterback Chad Henne and cornerback Aaron Ross and re-signed defensive linemen Jeremy Mincey and C.J. Mosley to multiyear contracts worth a combined $80.25 million.

“We were two players away from making the playoffs so we spent in free agency, and we know what happened,” Khan recalled Tuesday at the NFL’s annual meeting.

The Jaguars went 2-14.

Smith was axed.

Robinson, Ross and Mosley were cut after the 2012 season.

Mincey was waived late in the 2013 season.

Only Henne remains with the organization.

Reminding reporters of that offseason was Khan’s way of discussing the progress he hopes the Jaguars have made this month while adding seven players for a reasonable rate and keeping the draft as their primary focus.

“Certainly, I’ve learned my lesson,” he said. “If you look at the teams that are successful, they’re going to be built through the draft, and some missing pieces will be filled in with free agency. That is the formula for success.”

The Jaguars have 11 picks in this year’s draft, and general manager Dave Caldwell hopes to add more via trades. At the root of the Jaguars’ problems this decade has been woeful drafting — only 18 players under contract were drafted by the team, including eight from last year. That — and the unsuccessful 2012 free agent spending spree — contributed to six straight non-winning years.

“This rebuilding over and over again is brutal for the fans. It’s brutal if you have anything to do with it,” Khan said.

The win-loss record has been brutal. The Jaguars are 6-26 in Khan’s two years as owner.

But he remains confident the franchise is on the right path with Caldwell and coach Gus Bradley.

“It’s important to have the right chemistry on any team, whether it’s pro football or auto parts,” Khan said. “If you don’t have that, you obviously have a much harder road ahead. That’s Step One. I definitely think we have a great group of people who really enjoy each other. There isn’t one person who has an answer to every question or problem.”

Said Bradley: “We have great conversations, and we challenge each other. There are teams that may be dysfunctional, and it’s tough to win that way. Shad is a guy that likes a lot of information, and that’s an environment Dave and I are comfortable in and to do that. Your ego can’t be too large. That’s the type of culture we have — limited egos that allows for everybody to express their opinion, and once it’s all said and done, one guy [Caldwell] makes the decision.”

The next biggest decision for the Jaguars will come on May 8 with the third overall pick.

Khan is on the same page as Caldwell and Bradley when it comes to when drafting a quarterback.

The Jaguars need one.

“A quarterback is by far the No. 1 [element],” Khan said.

And the Jaguars aren’t going to reach for a passer.

Caldwell said it’s rare for a quarterback who isn’t a fifth-year senior to be ready to start right away.

Bradley said the re-signing of Henne will allow the Jaguars to not only let a newly-drafted passer learn while watching but also lessen the immediate expectations. “Why add to that when it could create anxiety and take them away from competing to the best of their abilities?” he said.

And Khan said San Francisco (second-round pick Colin Kaepernick) and Seattle (third-round pick Russell Wilson) have teams that hit on passers while being patient.

“There is story after story,” Khan said. “They have a great team and say, ‘OK, maybe there is a missing piece.’ And that’s why they worked on.”

Off the field, the Jaguars continue to work on the stadium project that is scheduled to be completed in July and also enhance their brand through a second trip to London (Nov. 9 against Dallas). The seating options for the new sections were rolled out by the Jaguars earlier this month.

“Right now, we’re tracking basically the way we were last year,” Khan said. “I’m very aware our results on the field haven’t been good so there are people who are cautious.”

Abroad, Khan said an NFL survey has the Jaguars ranked No. 9 in international recognition, up from No. 31 last year.

“We’ve had visibility,” Khan said. “It’s very, very important for the Jaguars, and it’s very important for Jacksonville to get that international awareness and get the story of what a great area it is and the opportunities, the young people, the cost of living and what a competitive environment it would be businesses to locate there.”

Comments (13)

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Jag Cynic DeVille
Jag Cynic DeVille 03/26/14 - 12:30 pm

@ DavetheCaveman: Certainly

@ DavetheCaveman: Certainly your post is correct. His operations manager knows how to add perks and handle contractual issues, but Mr. K hasn't had demonstrated success hitting a HR in his GM hire or by having any directive achieved. He is letting the experts do what he hired them to do while he is learning. While positive and hopeful I will still see the moves as they are. So far I would say we have built nothing more than DC inherited as far as the roster. As far as the HC, yes, we have improved from where JDR was at and MM. Also, the fact we are tuned in to player issues and attitudes, chemistry, is an improvement of managements understanding of HR developement. That said, until we see mortar and bricks ( like keeping MJD because of MJD's unique attitude and drive ) in our commitment to keep contributors like Monroe, Smith and MJD, I can't say our franchise has turned the corner. Our FA additions are nothing special and our offense is lead by Henne, which didn't beat out BG under GB or MM. We lack a feature RB IMO. We have plugged some holes, but like you, I am reserved, unlike you, I am unsold.
Nobody can blame you or me or the FA's that want to steer clear of here, or GM's that advise players they care about to do the same.
Learning would mean not having a rookie QB as PLAN B at QB. Otherwise, we are about to do what GS did, when Henne goes down or when we start 1-4.

Davethecaveman 03/26/14 - 11:32 am

The jury is still out on

The jury is still out on whether Shad Kahn has learned anything about building a winning NFL football team.
This is rediculous to even say that until the Jags win something.
Having said that, I am as positive as he is about our chances, just am a little reserved about it. After the last couple of years, who could blame me?

Jag Cynic DeVille
Jag Cynic DeVille 03/26/14 - 10:35 am

@ parabola: The latest speak

@ parabola: The latest speak I have read from DC seems we will not be taking a QB in the top 10. If we settle on a player at say, #8, after trading down, it will be a Jake type or Jake (he won't be there) and the WR's are deep in this draft and I believe Watkins would be gone. That leaves us to take BP if at a key need: OL, or trading down to 20-23 and getting Carr. For this to happen we would have to value Carr over A Murray, which would be there for us in the 2nd for sure.

I just do not see us taking a QB at #3 for the simple reason that one will be there, of almost equal chance for success, late 1st and earl 2nd.
Will we want Jake that high, I doubt it because we need so many players and spreading out the draft contracts would be an advantage realized for 4 years. If there were a Luck we'd take him. Bortles is the best but a LARGE gamble for this team considering our lack of a solid OL. IMO a top pick should be at #3 Clowney or trading down to #8 an OL or C, or down to high 20's Carr or WR... and then 2nd take OL or WR if Carr is taken, or A Murray. We will draft 2 QB's this draft, 2 WR's and 2 OL. Then a CB, RB and TE I hope. that's the 9 I think we must get.

Again, we need a leader, Henne isn't it, Toby isn't it, we don't have Monroe or meester, MJD, or anyone that the offense can look to. We simply are building...toward injuring a high pick if WR, or QB if a starter too soon. This year, IMO, you will see us p/u a veteran QB that will take over our offense. If we can't get 8 wins, we will be firing our OC. If the next year we can't get 8 or 9, and be in the hunt late, DC will be just like GS....McGone.

Noillusions 03/26/14 - 09:57 am

Silly comments...I believe

Silly comments...I believe just about any average football fan could have selected better than what the jags have for over a decade.

TheMadKow 03/26/14 - 09:51 am
Premium Member

@ Forty six .... Very

@ Forty six .... Very interesting. I can see where your coming from and I do appreciate your constructive criticism. I do agree this off seasons moves have been a lot better and I too am really looking forward to the draft.

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