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Make it a real search


It's being referred to as a "search," but the names Wayne Weaver and Paul Vance first uncovered could've been compiled in a local pub; no off-the-wallers here.

Denny Green, Bob Stoops and Kirk Ferentz? All of them are headline-type candidates.

Those interviewed for the personnel position (whatever the title will be) are also known commodities, but to a lesser degree. What's most impressive about the personnel list is that it represents an intriguing cross-section of candidates. They provide for real choice.

  • Tom Modrak is an experienced and proven draft-day picker. He helped build the Steelers into one of the league's perennial playoff teams in the 1990's, by consistently turning out the league's best draft class. Then Modrak did the same in Philadelphia, where the Eagles are in the NFC title game on the strength of the roster Modrak assembled. Now, Modrak is doing it in Buffalo.
  • James Harris helped build the Ravens into Super Bowl champions with pro personnel additions such as Tony Siragusa, Sam Adams, Shannon Sharpe, Rod Woodson, Michael McCrary and Trent Dilfer. Harris' expertise, pro personnel, is necessary for a team with a depleted roster such as the Jags'.
  • Phil Savage, the Ravens' director of college scouting, helped bring Jon Ogden, Ray Lewis, Peter Boulware, Chris McAlister, Jamal Lewis, etc. to Baltimore. Savage, 37, is one of the up-and-coming personnel-man stars in the league.
  • Rick Reiprish is the Jaguars' Director of Player Personnel and has been the team's lead man in scouting the college ranks since the Jaguars' beginning. However, Reiprish has been handcuffed by a "one voice" system that limited his contribution. To what degree would Reiprish be successful if he was given more freedom in expressing his view?

These four men represent responsible and diverse candidates. Choosing one would seem to come down to these issues:

  • If you want the most proven of the four, Modrak would seem to be the man. He has never failed to deliver.
  • Harris is a minority candidate and former player who provides great feel for free-agent talent and identity with those players.
  • Savage is the "Star Search" candidate. Do the Jaguars want to boast, "We found him?"

Nobody knows more about the Jaguars than Reiprish. He knows what's good about the personnel operation and needs to be maintained, and what's bad and needs to be changed.

These four guys will do nicely. Just pick one.

Weaver says he has a similar list of head coach candidates, though we only know who one of them is; Iowa's Kirk Ferentz. Most believe the Jaguars are waiting for the 49ers to make a call on Steve Mariucci's career.

Mariucci would certainly be a fan-pleaser, but here's hoping Weaver has journeyed into the backwater of the coaching ranks for his other candidates; the ones he told exist, but whose identities he won't supply?

Who knew Jeff Fisher and Bill Callahan when they were named head coaches, yet, their teams are in this week's AFC title game. And though Jon Gruden was certainly a big name when he came to Tampa Bay, Andy Reid was just a quarterbacks coach with the Packers when the Eagles made him their head guy.

Forget about the big names. Just find somebody who can coach. The game is full of them. All you have to do is search.

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