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Jacksonville Jaguars

Lack of leadership could force extension of Jaguars losing ways

Roy Cummings

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photo by Leslie Plaza Johnson/icon Sports Wire

The Jacksonville Jaguars are proof positive that trying to build a team primarily through free agency is no way to build a consistent winner in the National Football League.

Since 2011 the Jaguars have spent more than $800 million on free agents alone, by far the most of any team in the league, but they so far have a league-low 22 wins to show for it, per ESPN Stats and Information.

The problem, of course, is that as a result of all those changes, the Jaguars have never quite developed the chemistry inside the locker room they need to get the most out of all that talent.

Now one former Jaguars regular is wondering if his old team isn’t heading down the same path yet again this year after dumping the likes of Sen’Derrick Marks, Tyson, Alualu, Jared Odrick, Davon House and Dan Skuta.

The decision to part ways with all of those players has left a big void in the locker room, according to former Jags nose tackle Roy Miller, who says the 2017 Jaguars could suffer from a severe lack of leadership.

“We were the heart of the team,’’ Miller told Mike Kaye of First Coast News. “I don’t know how else to say it. A lot of leadership right there just erased.

“There were times when I was on a team and I’d look around and just wonder ‘Who was going to take that role?’ Teams come and go, people step into that role and fill that gap. I’m sure Calais (Campbell) is going to do that, but (there) was just so many (leaders let go). It was an overhaul.’’

Some would argue the Jaguars needed an overhaul, especially on offense, where quarterback Blake Bortles clearly regressed last year to the point where coordinator Greg Olson and coach Gus Bradley lost their jobs.

But their defense was solid in 2016. The Jaguars finished the year ranked sixth overall in the league and while no one can argue with their desire to get better, it’s possible they may have overdone it.

Certainly, that is Miller’s opinion. He was let go in March in the middle of the overhaul, but he says he’s starting to garner some interest from other clubs now that his torn Achilles tendon is healed.

“There’s a few teams that have shown some interest here and there,’’ Miller said. “There’s a couple of trips I have to take this month. I’m interested to see what’s out there.’’

You would have to think something’s out there for Miller. He’s never going to be a star-caliber player but he’s what coaches call a “glue guy,’’ the kind who can help bind a team together and keep it tight.

He’s one of those leaders he believes the Jaguars may be lacking and his ability to work in either a 4-3 or 3-4 scheme should allow him to extend his career another year or two.

 

 

Roy Cummings is a native of Chicago, Illinois who grew up in the suburb of Lombard. He and his family later moved to Lakeland, Florida, where Roy attended high school at Kathleen High. He graduated from the University of South Florida with a Bachelor's Degree in Mass Communications in 1983 and immediately went to work for the Tampa Tribune. After five years working in a Polk County bureau covering everything from high school sports to college football to the Orlando Magic of the NBA, Roy moved back to Tampa and became the Tribune's first beat writer for the Tampa Bay Lightning, covering the team from its inception through the first eight years on the ice. He was then moved to the Buccaneers beat, where he stayed until the paper was folded in May, 2016. A two-time Florida Sports Writer of the Year, Roy has extensive experience covering all Tampa professional sports teams, including the Tampa Bay Rays.

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1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. Thomas

    July 2, 2017 at 5:18 pm

    Heart of team leadership? On a team that won 6 games in two seasons? Maybe that leadership is a reason we have sucked so bad for so long.

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