Legendary Jags receiver Jimmy Smith praises ‘passionate’ fanbase in the wake of #KhlownOut

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  • Trent Baalke
    American football executive
  • Urban Meyer
    Urban Meyer
    College football coach

Jaguars Twitter has been taken over by clown avatars ever since it was reported that owner Shad Khan intends to keep embattled general manager Trent Baalke heading into 2022. Baalke was promoted from within this past offseason largely at Urban Meyer’s request, and fans want a clean break from the disastrous experiment that was Meyer’s NFL tenure.

The #KhlownOut movement continues in full force as fans try to pressure Khan to part ways with Baalke, and it has found a sympathetic audience in Jaguars legend Jimmy Smith, who said that the passion from the Jacksonville fans is a “blessing.”

“With Trent Baalke, whether he feels the pressure from our passionate fans, I think that’s a blessing,” Smith said in an interview with 1010 XL. “I think that’s a good thing that our fans have pulled together. Our fans have suffered for a long time. I’ve shared that, too. I’ve suffered, too. I feel the same way. I look at it as a blessing that our passionate fans got this avatar. I don’t take it as an insult to Shad Khan. I think it’s a blessing that we have fans as passionate as we do, and we all want to win.

“I think no matter what coach or GM you bring in there, I think the first thing you have to do is restore our culture.”

It’s certainly interesting sentiment to see from a former player, and it illustrates that they share some of the same concerns about the direction of the franchise that the fans do.

When it comes to Baalke, there isn’t much justification to keep him around. He doesn’t have a very good reputation around the league as an executive, and he was there with Meyer in lockstep throughout his embarrassment of a tenure. Most notably, he took a frugal approach in free agency, which certainly didn’t help the first-year coach garner the talent he needed to flourish.

After a questionable offseason in which the team didn’t really improve at all, it’s hard to see what Baalke’s argument is for sticking around during the upcoming rebuild. If former players with a lot of sway like Smith are saying this, it could be an indication that Khan is starting to feel some pressure from the fans.