Gene Smith Says No
In an exclusive interview with the Florida Times-Union, Jaguars general manager Gene Smith refused a contract extension in the offseason due to the fact he felt he hadn't "deserved it."
"A contract was extended to me and I declined it," Smith told the Florida Times-Union. "I did not think I deserved an extension based on the conditions. Our scouts and other employees weren't being extended. I didn't think I deserved it."
It's certainly an honorable move to turn down a contract extension but it feels as if there's more to the story. Without any of Smith's scouting department or coaching staff under contract with the exception of Jack Del Rio, Smith will have a difficult time either convincing Wayne Weaver to hire the staff back or re-hiring a new one.
The offseason will certainly be an interesting one for Wayne Weaver as it will be difficult to justify a contract extension for anybody in the organization unless there's an enormous turnaround in the second half of the season.
Gene Smith is yet to produce an impact player through the draft and the team isn't much better off then when he took over. Perhaps Smith turning down the extension was an honorable move, but not a shrewd business decision on his end.
Robiskie In, Sims-Walker Out
Desperate for help at wide receiver, the Jaguars put in and were awarded a claim for former Browns wide receiver Brian Robiskie. In two-plus seasons in Cleveland, Robiskie caught just 39 passes for 441 yards with three touchdowns.
"I like Brian. I have a great deal of respect for him. We're hopeful he's playing football soon for somebody,'' Browns head coach Pat Shurmur said following Robiskie's departure.
If the wide receiver deficient Browns couldn't use Robiskie's services it's doubtful that he will be much of an impact player on Jacksonville. Still, it doesn't hurt to claim a guy who was a former second-round draft pick just a few seasons ago.
To make room for Robiskie, the Jaguars placed recently re-acquired wideout Mike Sims-Walker on injured reserve with a knee injury. At this point it is unclear when or where Sims-Walker hurt his knee.
Bye Week Blues
Under Jack Del Rio the Jaguars have a 3-5 record following a bye week. Last season Jacksonville defeated the Houston Texans 31-24 on the famous "Hail Mary" play that Texans cornerback Glover Quin batted into the arms of Mike Thomas.
The Jaguars will travel to Indianapolis to take on the currently winless Colts a week from Sunday.
MJD Needs to Squeeze It
Jaguars Pro Bowl running back Maurice Jones-Drew has clearly been the team's best offensive player this season. MJD's 740 yards rushing leads the AFC and ranks him third in the NFL.
Still, aside from all the losing Maurice is having one of the most frustrating seasons of his career as he has already fumbled the ball as often as any season in his career, including a botched handoff in Sunday's 24-14 loss to Houston.
"I fumbled again, which is horrible. That was me. I closed the pocket too early. Once again, they brought a skirt blitz. The line stunted and I knew with them doing that, Greg (Jones) was going to come outside and probably looking to block the safety so I could get outside and I made my move too early. It's something we practiced. I just made my move too quick and got impatient," Jones-Drew explained.
"It was on me trying to make a play, making it too early and not being as patient as I need to be. It's just part of the game. You don't want to just focus on ball security. That's going to take away your creativity. Something I've got to work on this bye week," he said.
If the Jaguars are going to make any kind of second-half run they will need MJD to have the sure hands he's had for much of his career and not the slippery ball-handling he's shown over the past few weeks.
Charlie Bernstein is the NFL Insider for ESPNFlorida.com and ESPN 1080 and 1040 in Orlando/Tampa and Editor-in-Chief of Sports Media Interactive, covering the National Football League, NCAA, and National Basketball Association. Charlie covers the Jacksonville Jaguars for FoxSports and has been featured on the NFL Network and Sirius NFL Radio. Charlie is also a member of the Pro Football Writers of America. You can follow Charlie on Twitter @nflcharlie