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Jags Promote Gene Smith to GM Position

From: Pro Football

As the Jaguars limped through a season of unfulfilled expectations, we thought that owner Wayne Weaver might hire someone who’d have authority over coach Jack Del Rio and control over the roster.

We were partially right (which is better than our usual habit of totally wrong).

Gene Smith, who was promoted to V.P. of player personnel after James “Shack” Harris was fired from that same position, has been promoted to General Manager.

And owner Wayne Weaver made it clear in the statement announcing the move that Smith is in charge. “The changes we are making will bring greater clarity in responsibilities,” Weaver said, “with Gene Smith having final say in personnel decisions and Jack Del Rio having final say in all coaching decisions. Gene has been given greater and greater responsibility with this organization, and I am confident that in this new role he will be successful in directing our football operation.”

Though it’s unclear whether Del Rio reports to Smith, the declaration by Weaver is aimed, in our view, at making it known to Del Rio and the rest of the world that the Jaguars are moving away from the tug-o-war structure that created division and disharmony when Harris was V.P. of player personnel and Del Rio was head coach.

As it now stands, there’s no reason for Del Rio and Smith to squabble because Smith has “final say.”

But we think it also would be prudent for Weaver to include Del Rio with Smith’s jurisdiction; otherwise, Del Rio can gripe to Weaver or others within the organization if/when Smith isn’t accepting Del Rio’s recommendations regarding specific personnel moves.

Some league observers thought that Del Rio would have been fired but for a five-year contract worth more than $20 million, which four years left on it. Maybe Weaver decided that clipping Del Rio’s wings would be the next best thing.

And maybe, if Weaver gets lucky, Del Rio will simply quit — and the Jags will owe him nothing.

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