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Changes in Jacksonville won't stop with firing of Del Rio

Jacksonville became the first team to make a head-coaching move this season, firing Jack Del Rio after eight-plus years on the job. But Wayne Weaver wasn't done, extending general manager Gene Smith's contract another three seasons while also announcing he was selling the team. Quite the Tuesday in Jacksonville. What do you make of it?

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  • Jeff Darlington
  • More changes coming in Jacksonville

At the current rate of change in Jacksonville, even the team's mascot, Jaxson De Ville, should be sweating through his giant jaguar costume.

While general manager Gene Smith's contract extension does provide at least some reason for stability within a portion of the roster, the constant rifts between him and ousted coach Jack Del Rio make it difficult to objectively tell the current dynamic of loyalty between the organization and its players. Therefore, this provides Smith with a perfect opportunity to change his mind on past personnel moves without having to face the music about such mistakes.

For instance, Smith drafted quarterback Blaine Gabbert. But the hiring of a new head coach could provide Smith with an opportunity to reassess the Gabbert acquisition based on his need to give a new head coach a chance to choose his own quarterback. Are more changes coming -– even though the GM will remain? Absolutely. Nobody should be considered safe. Not even the mascot.

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  • Steve Wyche
  • Tucker could quickly shed the interim tag

Firing Jack Del Rio is no surprise, and frankly, neither is the move to replace him with Mel Tucker, the defensive coordinator. Tucker had quietly gained traction as a head-coaching candidate around the NFL because of the job he has done in transforming the Jaguars' defense the past few years. This could be a legit audition for Tucker to get the job full-time, especially since he is tight with GM Gene Smith.

As for player personnel, there needs to be change. Other than Maurice Jones-Drew, there's not one player on that offense close to Pro Bowl-caliber or who makes opposing defensive coordinators afraid.

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  • Gil Brandt
  • Jags will be tough down the stretch

It seems Jack Del Rio kind of lost control of his team at the end there, what with some of the play-calling issues. I do think this is a better team than the record indicates, so don't be surprised to see this change create a positive impact, at least in the short term. The Jaguars could be trouble for their opponents these final five games. As for the sale of the team, Wayne Weaver wanted to get out of there, so having a new owner in place who wants to be there is good for the franchise.

Interim coach Mel Tucker is someone I'm very high on. I think he's an excellent football coach. The Jags' defense has played well for him, and I think he's ready to be a head coach, from the standpoint of football knowledge and the ability to work with people. He reminds me somewhat of Jim Schwartz -- a very analytical guy.

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  • Jason La Canfora NFL Network
  • Expect several changes on offense

I wouldn't be surprised if Mel Tucker gets the gig full-time, as Jason Garrett and Leslie Frazier did a year ago. Gene Smith hasn't had the chance to hire his own coach yet, and Tucker could very well be his guy.

Tucker has that defense playing very well despite key injuries to stars on the defensive line and despite an offense that is woefully inept. I wouldn't be surprised if he sticks around. Changes could come on the offensive staff, perhaps, and if Tucker doesn't get it long term, then I figure the Jags look to a coordinator, possibly Brian Schottenheimer.

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  • Pat Kirwan
  • Available coordinators aren't impressive

Everyone saw the Jack Del Rio firing coming -- but at the end of the season. Doing it now, however, ends the speculation and gives the Jaguars a chance to meet with the high-profile candidates. None of the big-name coaches would have met with Wayne Weaver or the new owner if the head-coaching position wasn't open. GM Gene Smith will head up the search, while Mel Tucker finishes out the season.

There's a chance that Tucker will keep the job if the big-name coaches aren't interested and the Jaguars win a few games down the stretch. As one GM told me, "The candidate list is not very good when you look at available coordinators."

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