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Jaguars GM thinks team will be a 'playoff contender'

2011 was supposed to be the year the Jacksonville Jaguars made a playoff push. It was the third year since general manager Gene Smith took over and they wanted to build off a surprising '10 season. Owner Wayne Weaver said the team needed to make the playoffs or coach Jack Del Rio would be in trouble.

Weaver wasn't lying. Jacksonville finished 5-11, and Del Rio wasn't even allowed to finish the season. The Jaguars are now seen as a team in transition with new coach Mike Mularkey, but Smith still sees the playoff contender he envisioned a year ago.

“It’s an ascending football team – I really believe that,” Smith said. “I don’t think we’ll have another season like we did last year with the amount of injuries. Why that occurred, I have no idea but maybe it will be another eighteen years. Twenty years. Twenty five years. . . .

“I think we can be a playoff contender."

Mularkey used the word "contending" over the weekend. Owner Shad Khan talked about expecting to make the playoffs. The Jaguars are not taking the same approach as some other teams with new coaches (the Indianapolis Colts, St. Louis Rams) in which it's clear the squad is rebuilding.

We like what Smith has done overall as a GM. Jacksonville's defense is primed to remain above average and the team has tried to supply Blaine Gabbert with enough weapons.

This is a quarterback league, however, and we simply don't believe in Jacksonville's quarterback position. Gabbert has to be a lot better for the Jaguars to contend.

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