It’s doesn’t necessarily need to be Tom Coughlin but a “Tom Coughlin like” coach is probably somewhere in the Jaguars near future. League sources and media reports have Coughlin interviewing with the Jaguars on Wednesday, possibly for the head-coaching job.
Since his departure from the New York Giants, Coughlin has said his career wasn’t over, but hasn’t ruled out joining an organization in a different role than head coach.
“We talked with several clubs but couldn’t come to an agreement,” Coughlin confirmed earlier this year when asked if he’d do something other than coach. “We couldn’t quite find the right role, so nothing happened,” he added. Since that admission, it’s been reported that Coughlin talked with the Bills, Eagle and Jaguars about various roles in the organization. In Jacksonville, it would have been a role akin to a President of Football Operations, working in concert with the Head Coach and the General Manager.
While they couldn’t find the common ground necessary before the 2016 season, now that the Jaguars are searching for a head coach, there could be more leeway for Coughlin to join the organization. That means he and General Manager Dave Caldwell would have to figure out how to work together since Caldwell currently has the final say on personnel decisions.
Since Coughlin currently isn’t coaching in the league, the Jaguars can talk to him about any position, including head coach. At 70 years old, Tom says age isn’t a factor in his ability to still work the sidelines. Talking to him now is important if the two sides decide that he’ll be with the organization in 2017. Whether as head coach or in some other capacity, Coughlin can get a head start on staff decisions based on what current head coaches and staffs in the NFL will be let go on January 2nd, commonly known in the league as “Black Monday.”
If Coughlin is going to be the head coach, they’ll make that announcement quickly. He’s not going to be a “candidate” among other coaches. He’s either going to be the head coach or he’s not. If so, he’ll start making discreet contact with potential members of a future staff so he will have his pick when they’re available.
It was revealed this week that the Jaguars have hired a search firm to vet the candidates for the head-coaching job. While that’s currently in vogue among NFL clubs, Coughlin probably isn’t part of that search. He’s an outlier among the assistants, coordinators and college coaches who will be considered suitable for the job. Getting rid of Gus Bradley two weeks before the end of the season gives the Jaguars a chance to decide whether Coughlin is the right fit. If not, they’ll move on quickly.
Coughlin was the first coach and general manager in Jaguars history and guided the franchise to a 68-60 record and a pair of AFC Championship Game appearances from 1995 to 2002.
The Jaguars fired Coughlin after the 2002 season with then owner Wayne Weaver saying it was the biggest mistake of his ownership tenure. But at the time, Coughlin was very unpopular in Jacksonville and ticket sales were lagging. . The Giants hired him in 2004, and he went on to compile a 102-90 record and win two Super Bowls. He is currently the NFL’s senior adviser to football operations, working in the league office on the weekends advising on replay and other matters.