With the Jacksonville Jaguars hosting a wild-card game, and threatening to make a deep run in the playoffs, Shad Khan is very much enjoying his I told you so moments this week.
On Thursday, the Jags owner touched on a few issues with Jacksonville media members that NFL pundits and fans prodded him for in the offseason, most notably picking up Blake Bortles' fifth-year option last May.
"Maybe we're not the biggest idiot on the football block," Khan said, via The Florida Times-Union. "When his option was picked up, it was like, 'What are these guys smoking?' But frankly, you have to stay the course but yet you have to have agility. ... The other thing with Blake, he's really a nice guy. He's from the area. He's talented. He's stayed healthy. He's not a China doll. We are invested. We want him to be successful."
After Bortles posted a 16-interception, six-fumbles-lost season in 2016, many wondered why the Jaguars decided to pick up the quarterback's $19 million option. Bortles, though, squashed those qualms with solid play in 2017, helping lead the Jags to an AFC South title.
The decision to keep Bortles under contract for an additional year was one of several gambles that have Khan's critics now eating crow. When he fired coach Gus Bradley to build a unique power structure that featured Tom Coughlin, Dave Caldwell and Doug Marrone, some questioned how that would work.
So far, so good for Khan.
"In August, when this seemed to be another hopeless season, blah, blah, blah, I told you guys, 'We have everything here to win now.' And I felt that way," Khan said. "That's been the approach. We're not in a rebuilding mode. We've done our rebuilding. If we aren't winning, it's [because of] something we haven't done right."
Other notes Khan touched on in his Thursday meeting with media:
» Khan noted the Jaguars' 30-9 romp of the Pittsburgh Steelers in Week 5 was the turning point of the season: "That was the game. [Playing in Pittsburgh] was something special you talk about. But I knew it was special because the game was broadcast in the Detroit and Chicago areas and I heard from a lot of people in the automotive industry, half-joking, half-serious, and they didn't appreciate all of the high-fiving I was doing during that game. They happened to be Steelers fans. The feedback I got -- I knew it was special, but how special? It was a big-time stadium, big-time team."
» While Khan said he's happy with the "great job" Coughlin, Caldwell and Marrone have done this season, he said he didn't want to "address at this point" contract extensions for the trio, whose deals end after the 2019 season.
» Khan and the team announced they donated 500 tickets to refugees from around the world who settled in Northeast Florida and an additional 500 tickets to Puerto Ricans and their families in North and Central Florida displaced by Hurricane Maria.