Tom Coughlin gets all of the attention with the Jacksonville Jaguars, but head coach Doug Marrone may be the key guy to turn things around.
Jacksonville Jaguars executive vice president of football operations, Tom Coughlin, and head coach Doug Marrone are two peas in a pod. Tough-nosed coaches with a no-nonsense approach to team building, they are complementary pieces.
For a franchise that desperately needs some tough love, it’s hard to find a better pair.
The return of Coughlin to Jacksonville has brought out the rose colored glasses and nostalgia, but it may not be his presence that has the most impact. Marrone, working in tandem, could be the key.
In discussing the Jags’ “winning the offseason” again, ESPN’s Sarah Barshop, who covers the Houston Texans, rightly highlighted Marrone as the true change agent. As part of a panel piece, she writes:
"This season could be different for the Jaguars under coach Doug Marrone. Jacksonville had the talent last year to do well defensively, so a change in management — keeping Marrone after he was the interim head coach for the last two weeks of the 2016 season — could help the Jaguars rebound from three- and five-win seasons. Although it was just a small sample size, QB Blake Bortles had his two best games of the season in the two games Marrone was in charge, completing 66 percent of his passes for 626 yards and two touchdowns with no interceptions. The Jaguars will have to do a lot more than winning on paper to make this year different than the last two, but there is reason to hope that they’ll get consistent play from Bortles this year, and that Marrone is the man to help him take a necessary step forward."
Like other writers, Barshop emphasizes the play of quarterback Blake Bortles, but it will be a complete team effort that gets the Jags over the top, not just the play of its beleaguered quarterback.
And in that regard, Marrone’s immediate uptick as interim head coach for two games is critical. The Jags started to talk about winning immediately upon his elevation at the end of the season. It was the first time the conversation wasn’t just about improving.
More from Black and Teal
- Jacksonville Jaguars should welcome Derrick Henry into the kingdom
- Jaguars Rumors: Trent Baalke seems to be getting respect now
- Bold trade proposal has Jacksonville Jaguars shipping LT Cam Robinson
- Jaguars News: This division rival might be making a big move
- Former Jacksonville Jaguars S Johnathan Cyprien: “New Profession, Same Standards”
The team responded. Immediately.
Bortles’ final two games were excellent for him and he looked sharp. The rest of the team did, too. The team felt crisp, sharp. While the Week 17 collapse certainly wasn’t ideal, it was hardly the kind of “rookie mistake” filled sloppy loss that plagued the team under Gus Bradley.
It is still the offseason and everything remains speculation, but if the Jaguars turn it around in 2017, look to Marrone first as the change agent. He isn’t doing it alone, but I, like Barshop, think that the end of 2016 hinted toward a big change under Marrone in 2017 regardless of whether Coughlin came back to town.