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You gotta buy into it


If you grew up in the baby boom, you don't have to ask: Why did they cut that guy?

Baby-boomers get it because they are part of a generation that so swelled the population in the 1950s and 1960s that getting cut was something you might experience as early as in your Little League years, but certainly on multiple occasions before you turned into adulthood.

What does it mean when you get cut? Do you really need to ask? It means you're not wanted. It means you have been judged to be not good enough.

A little harsh. Well, I'm a baby-boomer.

Yesterday's roster purge has left Jaguars fans scratching their heads, especially as it pertains to Marlon McCree, who had established himself as this team's apparent long-term starting free safety. That was in 2000, when McCree came out of the seventh round of the draft to win the job and hold it for the next two years. He was a player about whom the Tom Coughlin regime was proud. He was their kind of player.

But McCree, very obviously, was not the Jack Del Rio regime's kind of player. Remember, now, we're talking about different people with different ideas and different definitions for each position. From the beginning, very obviously, they didn't like what they saw on tape, and that led them to draft Rashean Mathis and sign James Trapp, in a year in which the Del Rio regime decided to put the franchise tag on Donovin Darius.

McCree is clearly an NFL-caliber player and, because this team doesn't have the strongest roster in the league, Del Rio may have hesitated in pulling the trigger on moves he wanted to make … until yesterday. The Jaguars' 0-2 start, especially the way his pass-defense played this past Sunday, gave Del Rio the nudge he needed.

This is his team. He's responsible for it. He might as well make the decisions he believes to be right.

Yeah, he wants players who can run and hit. Who doesn't? He wants aggressive players with a nose for the ball. So does every coach. But he also wants players who buy into his system and his way of doing things. He wants players who accept his decisions without dissent; without sulking.

That's a difficult thing for a player to accept when he's lost his starting job. Bitterness can creep in. "I was good enough for the previous coach, why am I not good enough for you?" It's an understandable reaction.

McCree was experiencing those emotions. This wasn't working for him or for the team, and he was telling people as he was saying goodbye yesterday that this was for the best for him, too. He will catch on with another team.

Other players should heed the message. Del Rio expects his players to totally buy into his program and apply themselves completely to the roles for which they have been selected. Those who do that will stay; those who don't will leave.

Such is a coach's prerogative. It's his team and he's ultimately responsible for its performance.

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