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.
AFC Championship game another reminder of Jaguars fall
Two years ago, the Jaguars were 72 hours away from playing the New England Patriots for a spot in Super Bowl 52.
Now, 24 months later, you can’t help but reflect on what the Jags had and how quickly it all came unhinged.
That Jaguars team had magically won the AFC South with a 10-win turnaround regular-season. Now, the qualifiers are: QB Andrew Luck was out for the year with shoulder surgery for the Colts after they had dominated the division in his tenure.
And, further, the Jags did not play the Texans in either game against QB DeShaun Watson. This, as he was still on the bench as a rookie in the first meeting in game one of the year. And, he had torn his ACL by the time Jacksonville played Houston in the second matchup.
When you couple that the Jaguars also playing the winless Cleveland Browns, their schedule definitely fell in their favor to help get to 10 victories.
And without a doubt, they played an ugly low-scoring home playoff game on the Wild Card Weekend against an offensively challenged Buffalo Bills team.
Still, a playoff win is a playoff win, and that earned the Jags a chance to play the Divisional Playoff matchup at Pittsburgh the following week.
And, that Sunday in the “Steel City” Blake Bortles looked like one of the best quarterbacks in the league with decisive accurate throws. Plus, Leonard Fournette was pounding the Steelers between the tackles for a couple of scores (above).
And then on the defensive side, Dante Fowler was attacking the quarterback, and Telvin Smith was anchoring the middle of the defense, plus, returning a fumble for a touchdown.
And, Jalen Ramsey was locking down Steeler receivers in one-on-one coverage in a wild 45-42 upset win.
That was then.
And, just two years later all but Fournette out of those players mentioned above, are now no longer with the team.
The Jaguars defense being hit the hardest by trading Fowler and Ramsey in separate deals to the Rams and then, Telvin Smith abruptly retiring in the prime of his career in the off-season.
Gone too is the man, VP of Football Tom Coughlin, who couldn’t get along with several of those players just mentioned above and got himself fired in less than two years after his team played for the whole thing.
He was fired with two weeks to go in the season by owner Shahid Khan, and just 34 months after his heralded return to North Florida to resurrect the Jags. Khan has elected to keep coach Doug Marrone and GM Dave Caldwell despite them following 2017 with 5-11 and 6-10 seasons.
Jacksonville jettisoned Blake Bortles last offseason opting for high-priced free agent quarterback, Nick Foles. However. Foles never really got 2019 underway with a broken collarbone in the first quarter of game one and the team had to turn to Gardner Minshew, a rookie 6th round pick to lead them for a lot of the year.
So even headed into 2020, it’s uncertain who the signal-callers going to be?
Further, with those defensive names above gone and an aging Calais Campbell too, about the only thing a Jags fan can count on is young pass rusher Josh Allen. And, it looks like, he will be one of the most counted on Jaguar Defenders for years to come.
It’s also ironic that the Jaguars counterpart in the AFC South, the Titans have basically been winning down the stretch of this season and now and the two road playoff games at New England in Baltimore with Jacksonville’s 2017 formula. That would be: a strong running game to set up the rest of the offense and physical opportunistic defense more holding the other team in check.
Will the Titans be able to get over the hump and shock high-powered Kansas City, where are the Jaguars failed to knock off Tom Brady and the Patriots when they had their Super Bowl shot?
We are about to find out at Arrowhead Stadium Sunday.
And it’s understandable if Jaguar fans are watching Sunday and wondering how far they are away from that level of play and that big of a game at this point?
And more importantly, how much longer it will take them to have another shot at playing for an AFC title anytime soon?
Former Jaguars coordinator DeFillipo already lands in Chicago
It didn’t take long for former Jaguars offensive coordinator John DeFilippo to land a new gig, although it is a demotion back to a former role that he had previously.
ESPN NFL insider Adam Schefter reported Wednesdsay evening DeFilippo will be joining the Chicago Bears, as their new quarterback coach under Matt Nagy and working with Mitch Trubisky:
Big changes to Bears coaching staff: former Jaguars’ OC John DeFilippo is being hired as their QB coach, QB coach Dave Ragone is being promoted to passing game coordinator, and Bill Lazor is being hired as OC, per league source.
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) January 15, 2020
While the Jaguars and coach Doug Marrone termed DeFilippo’s ouster Monday, as “mutually agreed to part ways,” clearly he wasn’t willingly going to go from being an offensive coordinator to back to being a quarterback coach.
That’s the role DeFillipo previously held two seasons ago with the Philadelphia Eagles coaching QB Nick Foles, as they won Super Bowl 52 over the New England Patriots.
DeFillipo was then hired by the Vikings and coach Mike Zimmer to work with new free agent quarterback Kirk Cousins for 2018. However, he was fired in November has the Viking offense struggled last season.
DeFilippo came almost as a “package deal” in January of 2019 for the attempt to lure Foles, a free agent to come from Philadelphia to Jacksonville. Foles was subsequently signed to the most lucrative guaranteed contract ($50 million) the Jaguars have ever given to a quarterback in March of last year.
However, he was injured with a broken collar bone in the first game of the season, and the Jaguars turned to rookie Gardner Minshew. He performed well in Foles’ absence, winning four games to keep the Jaguars in the playoff hunt.
However, once whole Foles’ collarbone was fully healed, he came back into the starting lineup and performed poorly in three consecutive losses in November, which sunk the Jags season for good and sent him back to the bench for Minshew.
Jacksonville finished 26th in the NFL in points at 18.8 per game.
While the Bears had success in the first year of Nagy/Trubisky making the playoffs, they failed to follow it up this season. The Bears ended up 29th in both total offense and points scored with an 8-8 record.
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