This is exactly what I feared last February when Jack Del Rio announced he was reinstating Byron Leftwich as the team's starting quarterback. I had no problem with the football reasons for the choice, but my concern was that Leftwich, the Jaguars and any of us who care to act as conscionable human beings would be forced to endure another season of "bashmania."
How bad is it? Well, it's so bad that this most recent bout threatens to paralyze the daily column I do, "Ask Vic." The volume of questions coming to the column has exploded, which is OK, but the questions are nearly all the same. You know, of course, what that question is.
It's not as though I hadn't given my thoughts on the subject prior to the reinstatement. When last season ended, I was certain Leftwich and the Jaguars would part company. It just seemed the relationship had reached that point, especially considering the fan factor. Hey, sometimes we get divorced, right?
Well, Leftwich and the Jaguars decided to stick it out. They sought counseling, you might say, in the form of "Dr." Dirk Koetter, a new offense, a new spirit and the promise of a new season.
My request of you is to allow that new season to begin. Give it some time, folks. Please resist the insatiable desire for intense debate and dissent. Don't give in to the ugliness. Just let it happen and see where it takes us.
Embrace the dynamics of the decision to retain Leftwich as the Jaguars' starting quarterback. He was regarded as the team's best option at the position because he's a good game manager. Leftwich is not prone to interceptions. He may not offer the offensive explosiveness Jaguars fans crave, but he's one of the best quarterbacks in the league at not throwing interceptions – 10 in his last 17 games – and that's the kind of quarterback that goes best with a team built around a strong defense and running game.
What you're expecting of Leftwich is not why Leftwich was reinstated. You want a guy who lights it up. Leftwich was returned to the starting job because he doesn't screw it up.
I've read e-mails to "Ask Vic" that have made me swallow hard. I heard something on the radio Monday morning that caused me to be sad. It's gotten to that. We're embarrassing ourselves, folks.
Don't sacrifice the town's dignity. Please don't surrender to the angry-mob mentality that can titillate even the most sensible and reasonable person. My request of you is that you allow this to play itself out and allow the people who are ultimately responsible for this strategy to accept its consequences, whether they be favorable or unfavorable.
You can't change this. The decision has been made. What you can do, however, is discipline your behavior so that the strategy the team devised has a chance for success.