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 coach Marrone knows it starts with defense Sunday
With six games to go, the magnitude will increase all over the NFL for teams trying to make a playoff push. And that is definitely the case in Jacksonville, where Jags Coach Doug Marrone already knows his team’s play has got to be better starting this week in Tennessee.
Marrone essentially sounded an alarm Wednesday with the media that the Jags last two performances against AFC South competition haven’t been anywhere close to good enough:
Head Coach Doug Marrone meets the media. https://t.co/nuYGvfqLyU
— #DUUUVAL (@Jaguars) November 20, 2019
On the heels of having lost badly to the first place Texans 26 – 3 in London three weekends ago, his team came off a bye week last week in Indianapolis and was decisively beaten, again, this time, 33 – 13.
We have to coach better, and we have to play better. We understand that. We’re upset. It’s not good enough. It starts with me. We’re going to fight our way out,” Marrone said.
“Like I told the players: ‘Take all that pissed off, which everyone should be, and don’t make it combative, but we have to be competitive. We have to play well. We have to have a lot of energy and we have to practice well.’”
Without specifically mentioning it in those comments, he’s including a Jacksonville run defense, which has given up 200 or more yards rushing in back-to-back games for the first time since 2012,
There is no doubt that the Jaguars want their defense to set the tone and yet they haven’t been able to stop either of their last two opponents. Now, they have another tough division test on the road coming Sunday.
The Jags will battle the Tennessee Titans this time in Nashville and the Titans have a new look under center. They’ve gone with veteran Ryan Tannehill, who the team got in a trade with the Dolphins in March and has replaced former #2 overall pick, Marcus Mariota.
Tennessee has been solid since Tannehill took over, winning three of the four games including an upset 35 – 32 of the Chiefs two weeks ago. And the worst news is that the Titans under Mike Vrabel want to pound the football with power back Derrick Henry between the tackles.
Henry has feasted on the Jaguars including a Thursday night win in Nashville last year that included one of the plays of the year in the league. It was a 99-yard touchdown run, where Henry broke numerous tackles and then ran away from the entire defense. It capped a 238 yard, 4 TD night for the Titans top weapon.
Jacksonville is battling injuries, like veteran Pro Bowler DE Calais Campbell’s injured back, but Marrone obviously knows they will get no sympathy from their rivals in Nashville.
And if the play of the defense and really, the team as a whole, does not improve? Then, the Jags are looking at three straight defeats to division foes and being 4-7, and the seat will get warmer under the third year head coach.
Jaguars welcomed back Foles but poor play still there
Sunday was supposed to be a game for a new start for the Jaguars. Off a terrible performance in London against the Texans two weeks ago, the Jaguars were also welcoming back a free agent quarterback that was supposed to be a difference-maker in their offense. Unfortunately, when it was over in Indianapolis, not much changed as the Colts easily dispatched Jacksonville 33-13.
Things started off well enough with Nick Foles leading a quick touchdown drive on Jacksonville’s opening possession. In fact Foles even picked up where he left off in his first game. In the opener against Kansas City he threw a touchdown pass to D.J. Chark on the play where he also fractured his collar bone.
Well, on Sunday at Lucas Oil Stadium, his next touchdown of the season was also to Chark, who caught a pass over the middle, raced 34 yards for a score and a 7-0 lead:
— NFL (@NFL) November 17, 2019
However, the Colts demonstrated that it’s not just the start of the game. Rather, it’s everything that happens from then on. And from then on, they really dominated Jacksonville.
Quarterback Jacoby Brissett was back after missing last week’s loss to the Dolphins with a sprained knee and was solid throwing for one TD and rushing for another TD. Former USF running back Marlon Mack had 109 yards rushing and a touchdown before leaving the game with an injured hand. And, the Indy defense showed themselves to be stingy, again. This after they have already stifled the likes of Patrick Mahomes, Matt Ryan and Deshaun Watson.
Leonard Fournette never got going on the ground for Jacksonville finishing with just 23 yards on eight carries. And, after the initial touchdown, the Jags either punted, Foles threw his pick or they lost the ball on downs on their next eight possessions.
Foles couldn’t muster much, as Jacksonville fell further and further behind. He did get a very late touchdown in the final minute, again to Chark to pad his stats, which finished 33-47, 296 yds. and the 2 TDs with 1 INT.
The outcome is most disappointing for Jaguar fans who wanted to see their team climb back into the race for the wild card and maybe the division. However, this is now two decisive losses to division foes making even their biggest fans wonder if the season isn’t headed south. Jacksonville must turn it around, when they are back on the road next week against the Tennessee Titans.
To be fair, it was only Foles first full game back and he should be given at least another week or two before we start judging how effective he can be.
The problem is at 4-6, Jacksonville can’t afford many more losses to stay in the hunt.
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