This will once again be a rebuilding year for the Jacksonville Jaguars. I can already feel your eyes rolling as you read that first statement, but it doesn't make it any less true. Still, this season should bring a new level of energy to a fan base that has been given nothing but poor cliches and terrible products on the field. That actually may change this year.
There will be comparisons drawn between 2013 and 2009, the Jaguars' last true "rebuild." Although comparing rebuilds is a fair practice, you won't actually find many similarities.
In 2009, Gene Smith was brought on as a yes man to keep the Jaguars away from huge contracts. You can argue that statement, but his body of work speaks for itself, especially in the draft. Gene Smith consistently took small school talent at inflated draft prices, which in turn gave the Jaguars' coaches little to work with.
This time around, the Jaguars will be drafting on a need basis. The BAP (best available player) strategy can work, but only if you're actually taking the best available player with your picks, something the Jaguars seldom ever did. David Caldwell will be picking players that will improve positions of weakness for the Jaguars.
Last time, the Jaguars were rebuilding around an established quarterback, David Garrard. While Garrard was never an elite passer, he was stable, and he gave the team a fighting chance week in and week out. He was a middle of the road passer, comparable to a guy named Joe Flacco.
This time, the Jaguars don't have that luxury. Blaine Gabbert, Chad Henne and whoever else the Jaguars bring in will all be given an equal opportunity to win Jacksonville's starting job. There will be no incumbent and no favorites. It's an open race.
The Jaguars should be able to take notes from what the Indianapolis Colts did a season ago. While I do expect the Colts to slow down their "rebuild" after their playoff run, they do show it's possible to get back to playoff form in only a season. It takes good coaches and a solid quarterback. The quarterback position has to be Jacksonville's area of focus, whether that be in the draft or with trades.
Realistically, the Jaguars probably won't be able to make it to the playoffs in 2013. The Colts are on the rise, and the Texans are still the class of the field. The Jaguars should be hoping to be playing relevant games late in the season. If they can accomplish that, they'll be headed in the right direction.