It’ not exactly the “Margot Robbie in lingerie” of coaching hires. In fact, it’s as sexy of a move as, Amy Schumer in a bikini.
When the Jaguars announced they were removing the interim tag from Doug Marrone’s title, it had to feel like a punch in the gut for Jags fans. This is especially, when the Jaguars buried the lead, by announcing Tom Coughlin is coming back as an advisor, which overshadowed naming Marrone head coach.
Here, the Jags had a golden opportunity to go get an offensive genius or a stingy defensive minded head coach, and yet they settled on the guy down the hall.
So if your left scratching your head as to why they may have chosen Marrone instead of going for that “sexy” hire, here are my three big reasons:
Coaching staff with some stability but, some uncertainty:
Why stunt the young defenses growth that it’s displayed under defensive coordinator Todd Wash? The unit finished sixth overall in total defense and was fifth against the pass. Even still, Marrone on Tuesday went through and swept away all the defensive coaches, except for Wash and defensive assistant Mike Rutenberg.
Yet offensively, Marrone and coordinator Nathaniel Hackett have a history together since their time in Buffalo (But from insiders I’ve spoken with, Marrone handcuffed Hackett’s play calling in Buffalo. we’ll have to see how it plays out again). In a microscopic sample of Marrone and Hackett back together again, the Jags scored 58 points in their final two games.
Blake Bortles last chance in Jacksonville
If someone other than Marrone was brought in, Hackett would’ve clearly been out. Meaning Bortles would’ve had to learn his fourth new system in four seasons, which isn’t exactly a great idea for a young quarterback’s development.
Hiring Marrone also states Bortles is still for now, “the guy” at quarterback. But even in meetings I was in with Marrone back in Week 16, he said if he got the job “I’d expect there to be competition for that spot (quarterback) in training camp.”
Bortles underachieving play, and even regression this year, was a component to Gus Bradley’s exit. Now that Marrone is at the helm, Borltes gunslinger attitude will be curtailed some, especially with Marrone not tied down to the UCF product as his quarterback.
GM Caldwell stays
Dave Caldwell said owner Shad Khan (above) put him in charge of the hire. So what did you think? Caldwell was going to hire a Josh McDaniel’s type who wants to bring in their own General Manager? Obviously, Caldwell wanted to hold on to his job, and by elevating Marrone, it keeps his spot safe for now.
Look, from where I saw things from inside their building working a few games for CBS this season, hiring Marrone was going to be the move all along. The Jags wanted to float the idea of a “sexy” hire to reinvigorate the fan base. But, here was nothing sexy about Bucs defensive coordinator Mike Smith, nor Tom Coughlin.
Smith may have turned the defense into an elite group, but what about the offense?
Coughlin being named head coach reminds me of going back and dating your first love years later. Sure, it brings back a hint of nostalgia but at some point you’ll figure out why you broke up the in first place.
Coughlin is 70-years old, how would he assimilate to a youthful locker room? I was told by one player that he didn’t think Coughlin would be a good fit, and that he wasn’t the only one. Shad Khan had to know this was a possible issue.
So why not Coughlin 2.0 as head coach? Well, Marrone is another Syracuse guy that believes in discipline, and one of the biggest complaints in the locker room over the past 4-years was Bradley’s inability to call players to the carpet. Admonishing players in front of their teammates and creating peer pressure was never part of Bradley’s style, but it is for Marrone.
Marrone isn’t a big name or the “sexy” hire, but he’s a fighter. A guy who had to battle his way on to NFL rosters as a player, and who had to start his coaching career at tiny Cortland State.
And Marrone is also a guy methodical and calculated enough to put himself on a staff, where he foresaw the head coach hitting the bricks soon. The assistant head coach title was just for show, just like the interim tag, Marrone was the head coach in waiting the entire time.
Jaguars QB Bortles doesn’t mind you coming over to his place
The Jaguars are “riding high” early on in the season after an impressive win against New England. Everyone is obviously loose, because of the success in 2017, and now, back-to-back wins to start this year have given a sense of confidence to the young squad.
An embattled fifth year quarterback Blake Bortles is on a serious uptick in his own playing career. Off yet another surprising game Sunday, where he threw for 376 yards and four scores in the 31 – 20 victory, Bortles has plenty of reasons to smile.
And, unusually, he has plenty of reasons to welcome total strangers who come to his door
Yes. You read that correctly.
Bortles made mention earlier this week about fans and even teammates coming to his house, unannounced, to “say hello,” maybe catch up on some Netflix and of course, talk about the success of the Jaguars.
Okay, we made the Netflix part up.
Still, for an NFL quarterback to make mention that he’s welcoming people to come see him at his home to talk up the team he plays for is definitely unusual.
Bortles elaborated jokingly to the media Wednesday after the Jaguars practice in preparation for their first meeting this season with the Titans:
QB Blake Bortles and LB Telvin Smith address the media following practice. https://t.co/144T5Ng7EK
— #DUUUVAL (@Jaguars) September 19, 2018
“It’s a football town that loves their Jaguars, especially when they are playing well. You know, I don’t have a problem having a conversation with somebody at the door.” When asked whether the fans relate to him, Bortles continued, “I feel as though I relate to the city of Jacksonville and the people who live here….I’ve lived in Florida my whole life. I feel comfortable here. I’ve made a lot of friends here. Made a lot of good relationships. Really enjoyed being here.”
It’s a very juicy twist to the Bortles soap opera from a year ago, when Jags fans were ready to not only come to his front door, but pack all of his belongings and put them on a moving truck to get him out of town.
Yet, Bortles played steady and at times great football in the 2017 season, including Jacksonville’s stunning AFC divisional playoff win at Pittsburgh last year. He also played well in the AFC Championship Game resulting in a narrow lost to New England.
So, it’s understandable that Bortles has got the Jaguars fans filling up on his bandwagon, yet again.
However, one thing is for sure, in the NFL everything is fleeting and directly related to what you’ve done, lately. And with the Titans having swept the Jaguars a year ago, Bortles and his teammates know they have to get that corrected starting with Sunday’s home game at TIAA Bank Field.
Otherwise, any strangers at the Bortles home, who are decked out in black and teal uninvited, may not be as friendly coming up the driveway next week.
Look who tops debut of our FFI “Power Rankings”
With the NFL and college football in full swing, we have had some surprises and shocks.
The whole state of Florida has gone unbeaten in the NFL.
UCF and USF look like they might be the best college teams in the state.
Blueblood FSU has landed flat on their faces, while Miami and Florida each suffered early season defeats.
A few weeks into the season, here are how things are shaping up with our “Power Rankings.”
5. Miami Hurricanes- The Canes came into the season with high expectations after having one of their best seasons in recent memory in 2017. The year didn’t start how they wanted it to with a severe loss to the LSU Tigers, who look like they might challenge the Tide for the SEC West crown. Miami bounced back with wins against Savanah State and Toledo. They will need QB Malik Rosier to improve if they want to win back to back Coastal titles.
4. Miami Dolphins- Surprise number one, so far, are the Dolphins. The Fins are 2-0 for the first time since 2013. The Dolphins have beat the Titans and Jets, so we can’t put them higher than fourth, but the start is impressive. Miami’s defense has been good, and contributions have come from all over, as we wrote Sunday. Ryan Tannehill has been doing a stable job at QB as well. The Dolphins get the 0-2 Raiders this week before two road games against Foe Tom Brady and the also surprising Bengals.
3. UCF Knights- The “National Champions” check in at the number three spot this week. The Knights have cruised to victory twice so far this season. QB Mckenzie Milton looked unstoppable against the UConn Huskies, but wasn’t at his best against South Carolina State. The Knights got unlucky with Hurricanes again this year and lost out on playing an ACC opponent (North Carolina) yet again. UCF will play FAU this week before finally getting to play a power five school in Pittsburgh at home.
2. Tampa Bay Buccaneers- Surprise again, with Tampa Bay at number two. Can you feel the “Fitzmagic?” The Bucs sure can, as the 14 year vet has shredded the Saints and Eagles. The Bucs are at 2-0 for the first time since 2010. Todd Monken has done wonders for the offense with the playcalling, as well. With a Monday night date with the Steelers can the Bus keep it going on National Television?
1. Jacksonville Jaguars- The Jags claim the top spot this week coming in at 2-0 as well. The Jags are here partly to last season’s success, but not just that. The defense has done its job so far, but Blake Bortles was on fire vs. the Patriots. If Blake can continue to play the way he did against New England, then this team can become even more dangerous.
Report- Jaguars LT Cam Robinson has torn ACL
The news is not all good coming out of the Jaguars week two win over the power house Patriots.
Second-year left tackle Cam Robinson suffered a left knee injury in the first quarter and did not return to the game.
And as the NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport reported first Monday morning, it’s the worst possible news for him:
Source: #Jaguars LT Cam Robinson suffered a torn ACL. He had the MRI last night. Brutal loss for an up-and-coming player who is now out for the season.
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) September 17, 2018
Tha former second-round pick out of Alabama was anchoring the left side of the line and protecting quarterback Blake Bortles’ blind-side. Jacksonville and coach Doug Marrone were particularly eager to have Robinson develop more with veteran left guard Andrew Norwell, whom the Jags gave a huge contract to in free agency.
Now, Robinson is headed for the IR.
Robinson started all 16 games a year ago, and the first two games this season.
Undrafted four year veteran Josh Wells, took over for Robinson and play the remainder of the game on Sunday.
With the diagnosis of the ACL and Robinson lost for the season, the Jaguars now have to decide whether Wells is the long-term solution, as he’s never started an NFL game before in his career.
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