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Tag:Shahid Khan
Posted on: February 23, 2012 11:45 am
Edited on: February 23, 2012 12:32 pm
 

Jags owner: stadium tarps are like underachieving

Shahid Khan 'absolutely' wants to get rid of those tarps that cover seats in EverBank Field. (Getty Images)

By Ryan Wilson

Just in case the five wins in 2011 or the .500-or-worse records dating back to 2008 didn't make it obvious enough, new Jaguars owner Shahid Khan would like to add another item to the list of "sure signs your franchise is a failure." Those infernal tarps that cover seats in the upper deck of EverBank Field.

Officially, the stadium has 76,867 seats but the tarps cover some 10,000 seats. But the notion that fans don't support the hometown team is inaccurate. It's just that the stadium is too big for the NFL market. (And this isn't a slap at Jacksonville; Pittsburgh's Heinz Field holds fewer than 70,000, as does Indy's Lucas Oil Stadium.)

The Florida Times-Union's Tania Ganguli wrote about this Wednesday.

"The tarps aren't as shameful as they're perceived to be nationally. They bring the size of the stadium down to an appropriate size for the market, and it still seats more than the stadiums of NFL teams in bigger markets, including the Chicago Bears."

As PFT notes, EverBank Stadium has to be expanded to more than 80,000 for the Georgia-Florida game because the NFL isn't as popular as college football in Florida. Khan hopes to change that and it starts with those tarps.

"Absolutely," Khan told Sports Business Journal's Daniel Kaplan when asked if he hoped to do away with the tarps altogether. "To me, every day I look at the tarps it is like underachieving, and I can’t wait to be able to do that."

Khan was also asked about new marketing and sales initiatives.

The new owner with the new head coach. (US PRESSWIRE)
"Some of the upper bowl, we have reduced prices," he said. "One of the strategic issues with the Jaguars is it is a young team. We don’t have the second-, third-, fourth-generation fans. 'I went to a game with my grandfather, and we walked through two feet of snow,' — and things like that. You don’t have any of those connections. This year … if you bring a child to the game, those tickets are half price. In certain sections we are doing that … to really develop the next generation. "

Part of that includes expanding the Jaguars brand beyond the United States.

"London: There is an ex-pat population; they understand the sport and [have] an interest. Canada would be another one. Germany is another one. People don’t realize how many football fans, NFL fans, are in Germany. Spain is another one; Barcelona is a very sports-centric city. … Especially for teams like Jacksonville, it provides a showcase."

Ultimately, popularity comes down to one thing: winning. That's something the Jags haven't done since 2007, which was also the only time the franchise won a playoff game during Jack Del Rio's eight-plus years as head coach. Now that chore falls to new head coach Mike Mularkey and second-year quarterback Blaine Gabbert.

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Posted on: February 2, 2012 7:27 pm
 

Khan: '100 percent I would have' drafted Tebow

Khan's a big fan of Tebow. (Getty Images)
By Will Brinson

New Jaguars owner Shahid Khan's done a lot to infuse Jacksonville with a burst of Jaguars-related energy since he bought the team from Wayne Weaver earlier in the year.

But his comments on WOKV radio Thursday should put the wrong kind of energy in the city, as Khan said that

"100 percent I would have [drafted Tebow]" Khan said, via Gregg Rosenthal of PFT. "Absolutely ... Obviously the Rams drafted Sam Bradford, and I was talking to Wayne then on what they ought to do."

"I should have an offline conversation with you, OK? I’m going to absolutely talk your ear off,” Khan told WOKV this week. “Some of the stuff might not be politically correct, but I share your sentiment. I think, when is the next time Jacksonville is going to have an athlete like Tim Tebow?”

But wait -- there's more. Khan, who just signed general manager Gene Smith to a three-year extension, ripped the Jaguars draft history.

"I don’t want to get into 20/20 hindsight, and God help us, the draft record has not been the best with the Jaguars," Khan said.

Khan's correct: the Jaguars draft history hasn't been good, for the most part. (Our pal Maurice Jones-Drew, an absolute steal at 60th overall in 2006, might disagree though.) But if Khan thinks that drafting Tebow at 10th overall in 2010 would've been a smart decision based on anything other than business, he's sorely mistaken.

Which is probably why he told Gene Frenette of the Florida Times-Union that he would only have taken Tebow "after a trade down." There wasn't a whole lot of room to make that move, of course, because Tebow went just 15 picks later, when Josh McDaniels used one of the Broncos two first-round picks that year on the Florida quarterback.

And there's probably not a lot of room here for Khan either. Perhaps he was just saying that he loves Tim Tebow. Or perhaps he wished the Jags drafted Tebow to crank up the profitability.

But either way, he's undermining his players -- most notably current quarterback Blaine Gabbert --  and his general manager with a statement like that, and it's reason to press pause on the new-ownership party in North Florida.

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Posted on: January 23, 2012 11:00 pm
Edited on: January 23, 2012 11:18 pm
 

Report: David Garrard will be 100% by April

There are plenty of quarterback-needy teams in the NFL and Garrard could help one of them. (US PRESSWIRE)

By Ryan Wilson

Much has changed in Jacksonville since David Garrard was released days before the start of the 2011 regular season. First-round pick Blaine Gabbert eventually assumed the starting jobs (and struggled mightily in the process), head coach Jack Del Rio was fired midway through the season, owner Wayne Weaver sold the team to Shahid Khan, and Mike Mularkey was hired as in earlier this month to replace Del Rio.

But the Jaguars are no longer Garrard's problem. There was speculation that he might join the Dolphins after Chad Henne suffered a season-ending shoulder injury in October. It didn't happen, but not because Garrard "didn't feel like playing," but due to the fact that he needed surgery for a herniated disk in his back.

According to ESPNChicago's Michael Wright, Garrard should be healed up and ready to go in a few months.

mikecwright
David Garrard will be 100 percent healthy by end of March I'm told. Could be pretty good backup somewhere.
1/23/12 9:04 PM


It appears we have one more name to add to the list of available free-agent quarterbacks. The front-runners (in random order): Matt Flynn, Alex Smith, Jason Campbell, Kyle Orton, Drew Brees, Vince Young, Chad Henne, Byron Leftwich and Garrard.

We first brought up these names shortly after the Broncos' season ended in New England. Given how inconsistent Tim Tebow had been in 2011, we wondered if John Elway and John Fox would honor their word on Tebow's prospects as Denver's starter in 2012 (Turns out, they will -- we're still skeptical).

So where might Garrard end up next season? This is a quarterback-driven league and because there's a shortage of really good ones, they come at a premium. Which means that Garrard probably won't have trouble finding work although it may have have to be as a backup.

The Dolphins, under new head coach Joe Philbin, might prefer Flynn (Philbin was previously the Packers' offensive coordinator). And presumably, the Redskins and the Browns want to get younger at the position. Same with the Cardinals (obvious exception). Which brings us back to our previous point: there may not be a starting job waiting for Garrard when he returns but as Caleb Hanie, Tyler Palko and T.J. Yates quickly discovered, you're never far from taking the field.

For now, though, Garrard has to get healthy. Best-case scenario: he'll work out for teams after the draft and help somebody fill out their roster heading into training camp. After that, it'll be up to him.

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Posted on: January 12, 2012 10:41 pm
Edited on: January 12, 2012 10:43 pm
 

New Jags coach Mike Mularkey keeps Mel Tucker

The new Jags owner thinks that Mularkey will be the key to the team's long-term success. (US PRESSWIRE)

By Ryan Wilson

The Falcons managed just two points in their playoff loss to the Giants last week and offensive coordinator Mike Mularkey parlayed that into the Jaguars head-coaching job.

Actually, that had nothing to do with Mularkey's new gig; Jacksonville owner Shahid Khan said that he was looking for a coach who'd be successful over the long term, and in his mind, Mularkey is his guy.

"When you start sobering up, how does it feel?" Khan said. "That's the key issue. After the binge, how do you feel? ... A wonderful thing about football is everybody looks great until the ball is snapped. Once the ball is snapped, results speak for themselves and we know in September how good a job he is doing preparing, strategizing, [assembling] the staff. It will all come out. By that time, the buzz, the splash, is going to be history."

We'll have to wait eight months to see on-field results, but Mularkey, who was the Bills head coach in 2004-2005, has begun putting together his coaching staff. ESPN.com's Adam Schefter reports that Mel Tucker, who served as the Jaguars' interim head coach after Jack Del Rio was fired in late November, will remain as the defensive coordinator. And Falcons quarterbacks coach Bob Bratkowski will be the Jags' new offensive coordinator.

Tucker apparently turned down an opportunity to join the Vikings as defensive coordinator to return to Jacksonville.

And Bratkowksi, who worked with Matt Ryan in Atlanta and served as the Bengals' offensive coordinator for a decade (including Carson Palmer's tenure there), will now be charged with developing the team's 2011 first-round pick, quarterback Blaine Gabbert, and providing NFL rushing leader Maurice Jones-Drew some help.

CBSSports.com Rapid Reporter John Oehser writes that Gabbert is a good fit for Mularkey's offensive philosophy. “In this offense, you have to be able to move out of the pocket," Mularkey said. "We like to run the ball, but you have to have something to play off the run and Blaine fits that mold great.”

As for the less than enthusiastic public response to the news that Mularkey had been hired, fans can take solace in this: the new coach says he has learned from his previous mistakes. While the offense will be his, Mularkey will turn over play-calling duties to Bratkowaski. “There are some guys in this league who are excellent play-callers and can manage games (as a head coach)," he said. "I’m not sure I’m one of them.”

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Posted on: January 5, 2012 4:25 pm
 

Khan believes Gabbert is Jax's QB of future

KhanBy Josh Katzowitz

While there have been plenty of questions whether Blaine Gabbert is the Jaguars quarterback of the future, new Jacksonville owner Shahid Khan isn’t the one doing the questioning. In his mind, Gabbert is the guy -- for him and for whomever the next coach will be.

"I think a key question you have to ask any potential coach, what are you going to do to develop him?” Khan said on WKOV radio, via the Florida Times Union. “How do you make him the best he can be? Really, I've been asking them point blank, 'Can you work with him?' And so far everybody says he's great.”

As you can see from our handy Coaching Rumors post, most, if not all, of the Jaguars interview plans revolved around offensive coordinators, including New York’s Brian Schottenheimer, Cincinnati’s Jay Gruden, Carolina’s Rob Chudzinski and Atlanta’s Mike Mularkey.

With the quarterback turmoil experienced last season (cutting David Garrard, playing Gabbert, experimenting with Luke McCown, etc.), the franchise needs to find a way to help Gabbert become a legit starter. Because, in Khan’s mind, that’s exactly what he is.
 
"I think he [Gabbert] is going to be a great quarterback,” Khan said. “I think he is our franchise quarterback. I think he needs development. We want to develop him. We want to give him tools. A dedicated coach. And I think he's going to be great."

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Posted on: December 22, 2011 7:10 pm
Edited on: December 22, 2011 7:11 pm
 

Tucker calls Gabbert 'courageous in the pocket'

Rookie QB Gabbert has had a long season but his head coach has his back. (Getty Images)

By Ryan Wilson

Jaguars' first-round pick Blaine Gabbert looks the part: a tall, strapping quarterback with a big arm and plenty of upside. It’s just that, four months into the season -- and 12 weeks into his life as a rookie starting quarterback in the NFL -- he’s looked completely and utterly lost. To the point that Monday Night Football’s Jon Gruden, who never seems to have a sour word to say about anyone during a telecast, has on several occasions wondered if Gabbert has what it takes to make it in this league based solely on his jittery pocket presence.

Granted, the circumstances define extenuating. Jacksonville dumped longtime starter David Garrard days before the season opener and replaced him with Luke McCown. When that experiment failed two weeks later (we were shocked too), Gabbert was thrown in the deep end without arm floaties. To continue the water metaphor, the subsequent 13 games have gone something like this: Gabbert treads water until the point of exhaustion and then he’s mauled by a shark in gruesome fashion on national television.

In addition to Gruden’s observations, NFL Films’ Greg Cosell noted that “[Gabbert’s] issue was never his arm but rather his willingness to command the pocket and deliver the ball with bodies around him.”

The Florida Times-Union’s Tania Ganguli adds that Trent Dilfer has called Gabbert timid, and Joe Theismann said he looked like a shrinking violet. It’s not all bad news.

But Gabbert has a supporter in interim Jags coach Mel Tucker.

"I see Blaine as being courageous in the pocket," Tucker said via Ganguli. "I see him as being super-tough. I see him being very, very competitive and my feeling is that his teammates and his coaches feel the same way.”

And really, what else is Tucker going to say? He’s filling in for recently canned Jack Del Rio, the team has a new owner, and he’d like to be considered for the full-time job. And given that general manager Gene Smith (who signed a three-year extension before Wayne Weaver sold the Jags earlier this month) drafted Gabbert, you don’t need an oracle to predict Tucker’s public stance.

Still, he also understands that Jacksonville’s offense is putrid and no amount of wishful thinking will change that.

"Obviously, yeah, I mean he needs to improve in some areas and he’d be the first to tell you, and I’ve stated that before. He needs to continue to improve," Tucker continued. "I think he’s made some strides, I know he’s made some strides and we have to continue to get better around him."

The first order of business: mandatory mustaches for all players and coaches.


The Tennessee Titans look to stay alive in the AFC playoff hunt when they host the Jacksonville Jaguars this Saturday at 1:00 PM ET on CBS. Join NFL.com's Pat Kirwan and Jason Horowitz for a preview of this matchup.

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Posted on: December 18, 2011 10:27 am
 

Report: Jags move would cost Khan $25M to charity

By Will Brinson

Jaguars fans are thrilled about the prospects of new owner Shahid Khan turning the Jags back into a contender, but they're obviously concerned with the possibility of the team moving. On Thursday night in Atlanta, Khan, having been formally approved to buy the team, said "No" when asked if he would move the team.

But there's reportedly a financial impediment to moving the team as well -- Jason LaCanfora of the NFL Network reports that if Khan moves the team within the next five years, "he would have to donate $25 million to the charity of Wayne Weaver's choice."

That's a substantial chunk of change, and it doesn't take into account what Khan would have to pay to the city of Jacksonville to break the lease with Everbank Stadium, which runs through 2029, either.

According to Jacksonville City Attorney Cindy Laquidara, the lease is "very tight" in terms of limiting the owner from getting out from under it.

Tight enough, in fact, that it would require an owner breaking it to pay 1) base rent; 2) ticket surchage revenues of about $750,000 a year; 3) parking revenues of $250,000; 3) stadium branding revenues of $250,000; 4) and "supplemental rent and all future payments."

Add it all up and one of the attorneys who negotiated the lease told FirstCoastNews.com that it will cost an owner $90 million to move the Jags.

That's before, of course, the $25 million donation to charity that Kahn would reportedly owe. (One has to assume said charity would also be in the Jacksonville area.)

Five years from now, things might change in terms of what Kahn's willing to do in order to move the Jaguars. And if he wanted, he could move them right now. It would just be really expensive and a public-relations nightmare.

So banking on the Jags to bail on Jacksonville in the immediate future doesn't seem like a good bet.

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Posted on: December 14, 2011 2:42 pm
 

NFL owners unanimously approve new Jags owner

By Will Brinson

NFL owners unanimously approved the sale of the Jacksonville Jaguars to Shahid Khan on Wednesday, according to reports.

Wayne Weaver announced the sale of the team to Khan a little over two weeks ago, the same day that Jack Del rio was fired as Jaguars coach.

Khan was then recommended by the NFL's finance committee (Weaver was a member, though he recused himself from voting) to the full group of NFL owners for a vote to approve him for Jaguars ownership.

That vote took place in Irving, Texas as the NFL owners meeting, and Khan was unanimously approved as the new Jaguars owner, according to multiple reports.

Khan now faces a number of daunting challenges, including the decision as to whether or not he should stay in Jacksonville.

The newest NFL owner couldn't comment specifically on the team staying in north Florida, but said that fans "will not be disappointed" when asked about moving the franchise.

Khan must also go about hiring his first head coach (GM Gene Smith signed an extension shortly before the team was sold) and work on boosting lagging attendance in Jacksonville.

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The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com