Wayne Weaver will raise the curtain tonight on a "New Era of Jaguars Football," when Weaver announces young and enthusiastic Jack Del Rio as the team's new head coach.
It will be a gala occasion. The public is welcome to attend and cheer and eat. On the house! In with the new!
Yeah, almost everything about this era in Jaguars football will be new. Gone is "one voice," replaced by a decision-by-committee approach. Del Rio will permit the media access to his assistant coaches and it's expected the "media box" on the practice field will be replaced by a new "freedom of movement" approach.
Del Rio is expected to be an even bigger hit with the fans. After all, this is a guy who jumped onto a pile of his defensive players after Del Rio won his first game as Carolina's defensive coordinator this past season.
We are talking about change. That's what new eras bring; change. And in at least one way, Jaguars fans will have to change, too.
This has never been a patient place. For whatever reason -- and I'm not buying the college football excuse -- Jaguars fans believe losing is beneath them. Well, get this through your heads: Losing is beneath no one; not the Dallas Cowboys, the Green Bay Packers, the San Francisco 49ers, the Pittsburgh Steelers or any other team. All teams go through losing phases that require patience.
Before you begin thinking Del Rio is going to work some kind of miracle and transform this team into an instant playoff contender, give some thought to the roster with which the Jaguars concluded this past season. This is a team in need of major rebuilding. Tom Coughlin wasn't afforded that kind of logic last season; Del Rio must.
This new, energetic coach is also young and relatively inexperienced. Only six seasons ago he was the Saints' assistant strength coach. Now, he's a young coach on the rise, a possible star in the making, but his career and his team will require patience. We must give each time to grow and mature.
Experience is all that is seemingly lacking in Del Rio's resume. With another successful year or two under his belt as Carolina's defensive coordinator, everyone would've said, "he's ready." OK, so he'll get that "year or two" under fire. No problem, provided we're all patient.
Del Rio is also going to need an accomplished staff of assistant coaches, including a couple of veterans who might serve as confidants. His career will require that kind of nurturing, and our patience is at the root of it.