It’s no surprise that the Jaguars are restructuring the top of their football operation after five years of Shad Khan’s ownership. Khan is a good listener and makes moves that will enhance his organizations (businesses) and their opportunities to be successful. After his first year of ownership, Khan had spend $60 million on three free agents and asked rhetorically, “What did I get for that? Two wins.” So he made a move, away from his “football people” Gene Smith and Mike Mularkey, and started anew. Khan likes to hire “the best” as he has said repeatedly, so adding Tom Coughlin to the Jaguars mix on the football side is no surprise.
Two weeks ago Coughlin talked with Khan and others at the top of the Jaguars organization about the head-coaching job but didn’t find enough common ground to make that move. But Coughlin has said for the past year that he’d be interested in being a part of the Jaguars, “maybe in another role.” Now, he’ll have a lot to say about the success of the Jaguars as their Vice President of Football Operations. It’s a new job for the Jaguars but not uncommon in the league.
What the Jaguars haven’t confirmed is how Coughlin, General Manager Dave Caldwell and Head Coach Doug Marrone will work together. Reports are that both Marrone and Caldwell will report to Coughlin, but how much the decision-making ends with any of those jobs has yet to be announced. Knowing Coughlin, he’ll have plenty of input and probably the final say.
Which means that Caldwell needed to sign off on Coughlin joining the team and getting a two-year extension through 2019 mollified his acceptance. Marrone also had so sign off on being the head coach with a strong personality like Coughlin in the building, weighing in on his performance.
When I originally heard that the Jaguars had offered Doug Marrone the head-coaching job last Saturday night I said I had been impressed with Marrone, more than I expected to be, in his performance as the interim head coach of the Jaguars. He was a steady hand for the team and still a loyal lieutenant to the deposed Gus Bradley. He changed “a few things that I’m comfortable with” as the head coach, like meeting times and his availability, but he gave plenty of credit to Bradley when the Jaguars beat Tennessee on Christmas Eve.
Not knowing whether he’d even be a candidate for the head coaching job in Jacksonville, Marrone gave us a hint in his post game remarks after the loss in Indianapolis about what he thinks needs to be fixed with the current Jaguars roster.
“With this team the players will have to understand the pressure we need to put on them as coaches in practice during the week,” Marrone said after reviewing the game. “We have to force them as coaches to be accountable for that so they have the ability to go out here on Sunday and win games.”
He was also realistic about what happened in Indy as a microcosm of the entire season.
“You can’t make the mistakes that we made today and expect to go out there and win the game.”
And another glimpse into his thought process was the comment,
“I told the players at halftime, (when the Jaguars were winning 17-3) you either are either going to be the hunter or the hunted. You’ve got to learn how to hunt.” The Jaguars have said the formal announcement of the new management structure and the introduction of Coughlin and Marrone will happen on Thursday at 10 AM.