With Thursday’s firing of head coach Mike Mularkey, the Jacksonville Jaguars are in the market for a new head coach. While some teams, like the Kansas City Chiefs and the Cleveland Browns, have started filling their vacancies, the Jaguars are just beginning. Potential candidates range, but the proposed emphasis seems to be on offensive coordinators. Going against that proposed emphasis is the interview of current Jacksonville defensive coordinator Mel Tucker.
Tucker was the Jaguars’ interim head coach following the dismissal of long-tenured Jack Del Rio midway through the 2011 season. Tucker’s defense was playing lights out that season and he didn’t do too poorly as the head coach either. He posted a 2-3 record in the final five games of the season.
Tucker has been talked about in the media as a potential head coach for many teams, including an interview he had with the Wisconsin Badgers a few weeks ago. As a serious candidate for the Jaguars? Not so much. Tucker’s defense simply has not had the sustained success that is necessary for a defensive coordinator to make the jump to the head coaching spot in the NFL. While there are some exceptions, it is helpful to have a few feathers in your cap outside of one year of quite good defense.
Tucker’s units have finished in the top ten of two major “overall” defensive categories during his five seasons as a coordinator. In 2008 the Cleveland Browns finished third in takeaways, and in 2011 the Jaguars finished sixth in yards allowed. Outside of the impressive passing defense of the ’08 Browns, Tucker’s defenses simply don’t pop out on paper. Add to the process that new GM Dave Caldwell wants a clean slate to start his time with the Jaguars, and it looks like Tucker probably won’t be too serious of a candidate.
– Luke N. Sims
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