JACKSONVILLE – Shad Khan feels good about the Jaguars.
That's true off the field, which was the primary topic at the Daily's Place groundbreaking at EverBank Field Friday morning. But the Jaguars' owner said it's true on the field as well.
"My expectations are we get together and we win," Khan told reporters moments after official groundbreaking of the state-of-the-art flex-field/amphitheater project adjacent to the South End Zone at EverBank.
"I think it is very simple and it's no different than every player that is on the team, every coach that is on the team. We want to win and we have a lot of pieces in place now that will help us do it."
The Jaguars have a 14-50 record in Khan's four seasons as owner, but the last three seasons have been a rebuilding process under third-year General Manager Dave Caldwell and third-year head coach Gus Bradley. The idea of the plan beginning in 2013 was to rebuild the team's core, building at first largely through the draft and developing those selections – then supplementing in later years through unrestricted free agency.
The Jaguars went 5-11 last season, the best record under Caldwell/Bradley, and acquired a slew of high-profile free agents this past offseason: defensive tackle Malik Jackson, safety Tashaun Gipson, cornerback Prince Amukamara, running back Chris Ivory, punter Brad Nortman and offensive tackle Kelvin Beachum. They acquired tight end Julius Thomas, offensive tackle Jermey Parnell, cornerback Davon House, linebacker Dan Skuta and defensive end Jared Odrick the previous offseason.
The drafted has produced players such as quarterback Blake Bortles and wide receiver Allen Robinson, part of the core of a young offense that many analysts believe could develop into one of the best units in the NFL in coming seasons.
Many analysts also consider this Jaguars team the most talented of Khan's five-year tenure.
"I think pretty much everyone would agree with that," Khan said. "As I have said before, it turned out to be a rebuild rather than a remodel. Obviously it takes a little longer. I'm delighted where we are and we have to move forward."
Images from this morning's groundbreaking ceremony.
Also on Friday:
*Jaguars President Mark Lamping met with the media regarding the groundbreaking, calling the flex-field/amphitheater project another step toward making the franchise "a sustainable, stable NFL franchise in Jacksonville. Two parts of that plan that we talked about are enhancing existing revenue streams and creating new revenue streams, and doing both of those in the context of helping downtown Jacksonville." Lamping said the recently-completed US Assure Clubs and the amphitheater/flex field both move the franchise toward that goal. "Those are really, really important steps of meeting our ultimate goal, which is a sustainable, stable, successful NFL team in Jacksonville," he said.
*Lamping said while there was interest from "multiple companies" in naming rights for the flex-field/amphitheater project, Daily's made sense because "We really wanted a partner that believed in Jacksonville as much as we do, and that's Daily's for sure. The other piece is they have a great footprint throughout this community. They have thousands and thousands of people each and every day going through Daily's stores and that's going to be a wonderful platform for us to promote activities." …
*Lamping said the amphitheater/flex field project is expected to have "substantial completion" by May 1, 2017, with the first public performances before Memorial Day. …