It’s been a hard year for us Jaguar fans. Days leading up to the games, we get pumped and hold out hope that this will be the one game that turns our season around, only to have it literally slip through our hands. Yesterday, I sat in my seat and listened to the ‘fans’ around me. Most were screaming at Jack Del Rio (no surprise there), but many were actually booing our Offense each time they left the field. The energy in the stadium felt so negative and I think that can be felt on the field too.
Now, I expect to get a ton of crap for this, as I usually do, but shouldn’t we be building up our team and not kicking them while they are down? I know we keep hearing how we are ‘rebuilding’ or the team is ‘young’, but the truth is we have a team in transition. The defense has played well all year, despite losing several starters recently and now the offense needs to find their stride. We have several talented guys and I do feel they have what it takes to take it to another level, but it simply is a matter of timing. Gabbert is a rookie, and while Cam is having a great rookie season, that is not typical of most rookie QBs. I can’t help but think of Tebow, who most thought might even be traded this year, who continues to find ways to win. Why? I don’t think it’s because of his ‘skill’, I think it’s because his team and the fans believe in him. That is what Gabbert needs.
He has a cheerleader in Mojo, but you don’t hear too many others pumping him up. The fans are also turning on him, but much of this may be his fault. He hasn’t been very warm to fans. He leaves the field head down and doesn’t wave, and he rarely takes the time to stop and talk to fans when coming/going from the stadium. These are thing that endeared Garrard to us. He was approachable and humble. I haven’t seen that in Gabbert. I think if he embraces his new Jaguar family and let’s us in, he’ll feel it on the field too.
The players really take the losses to heart and feel horrible that they let us down. You can see it in their Facebook posts or on their Twitter. For those of us who have the privilege of seeing them more frequently, we see it in their faces. If you think losing sucks as a fan, try being a player who has left everything on the field but still comes up short. These guys know the season will soon be over, but they refuse to just give up. They are playing for pride, they are playing for the love of the game and they are playing for YOU Jacksonville. They love this city and its fans. They want to make us proud, to hear us scream for them as they run out of the tunnel and to cheer as they leave the field. They’ll keep at it until there’s nothing left to give. Shouldn’t we as fans do the same?
I encourage all of you to buy tickets to the next game. Throw on a jersey, paint up your face and come have some fun. Enjoy the team and really watch the guys on the sideline to see how invested they are in the game. We tell our kids to do their best and we’ll still love them win or lose. Let’s give our team the same consideration. Support them, cheer for them and just maybe, you might be surprised at how your positive energy translates into wins on the field. I know it’s a long shot, but heck I’m willing to give it my all – are you?