Published November 07, 2012
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Jacksonville Jaguars owner Shad Khan doesn't want to have any "knee-jerk reactions" to his team's losing ways.
The Jaguars (1-7) have dropped five in a row and are 0-4 at home this season heading into Thursday's game against Indianapolis.
Khan, who stayed in town for the short week, made it clear Wednesday that he doesn't plan on making any changes before the end of the season.
"You don't show up at 16 from Pakistan and have a successful life," said Khan, the league's only minority owner. "You go through a lot of adversity and failures. You learn from that, and probably the most important thing is not to have knee-jerk reactions when things get tough — not to add drama to uncertainty."
There had been speculation that Khan might fire general manager Gene Smith and maybe even coach Mike Mularkey given the results, but the owner put that to rest for now.
"This will be something for me to reflect on at the end of the season," he said.
Khan, a billionaire who amassed his fortune by making high-tech bumpers for the automotive industry, bought the Jaguars for $770 million last November and officially took control Jan. 4. He kept Smith as a holdover from owner Wayne Weaver's regime and allowed him to head the search for a new coach.
Smith hired Mularkey, the former offensive coordinator in Atlanta, but the move hasn't paid dividends.
The Jaguars rank last in the league in total offense and have scored fewer points than anyone. Second-year quarterback Blaine Gabbert has made some progress, but still lacks pocket presence. First-round draft pick Justin Blackmon has had all sorts of awareness issues and is averaging just 10.7 yards a catch.
Smith kept most of former coach Jack Del Rio's defensive assistants — a questionable decision in hindsight — and few fans have forgiven Smith for feeling so good about his roster that he drafted strong-legged punter Bryan Anger in the third round.
Adding to Smith's seemingly shaky job security, Khan revealed that the Jaguars have the sixth-highest payroll in the league and have spent $17 million over the salary cap because of money rolled over from 2011.
"There are certain companies and organizations that win over time and certain companies and organizations that lose over time," Khan said. "It doesn't matter whether it's auto parts or football, you know which organizations are where. The most important thing for me is that this organization that's going to win over time."
Khan is pleased with the business side of the organization.
The Jaguars rank 21st in ticket sales, he said, and have signed several new sponsors. Khan expects to add more revenue streams by playing four homes games in London — one a year beginning next season.
And he is proud of all the little tweaks made to improve the game-day experience at EverBank Field.
But the on-field product needs work, and Khan realizes it.
"Some of these answers might not be satisfying, but the simple fact is I don't want to satisfy people in the short term," he said. "What's more important is the long team. We don't want to make the wrong decisions now that we pay a price for over time."
In a wide-ranging, 50-minute interview with reporters, Khan told about going out of his way to meet other NFL owners, talked about how he's learned that the league puts him under the microscope — "cameras follow you to the bathroom" — and how he plans to rely on his business background to shape the direction of the small-market franchise. He laughed when asked about pursuing quarterback Tim Tebow again and offered his three keys to a sustainable organization: people, processes and support.
But he gave few hints about what he will do at the end of the season.
"I've gone through life getting on and off the treadmill of firing and hiring," he said. "I found out that really wasn't the answer. ... Everybody here wants to win. There's nobody who's happy with the results. We want to win, every coach, every player, everybody in player personnel."