In a story on Bleacher Report, the Jacksonville Jaguars coaching staff was ranked 26th amongst all teams in the NFL for the 2019 season.
The Jacksonville Jaguars front office is on notice that this team must do better than the 5-11 record it had last season. That means everyone must be held accountable. Executive Vice-President of Football Operations Tom Coughlin knows it. General Manager David Caldwell knows it. Head coach Doug Marrone certainly knows it as he has said many times in press conferences and meetings with the media he is coaching for his job every day.
Prior to the start of the 2018 season, Marrone was ranked as a middle of the pack head coach, making changes to a stagnant franchise and winning an AFC South title when nobody expected it. It was a fair assessment, with national media waiting to see if the well-liked head coach could do the same thing for a second straight season.
We all know what happened to the Jaguars and changes within the coaching staff were made. Now, with what appears to be a refocused organization, Marrone is on the hot seat to win. And that middle of the road ranking has sunk a bit in the wake of what transpired last season.
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Gary Davenport of Bleacher Report recently released his rankings o all 32 NFL coaching staffs. Marrone, who is 31-35 as the Jaguars coach, and his staff were ranked 26th in the league. Whether you think the number is too low or that Marrone deserves a better fate because of injuries that destroyed any chance to a winning season, it’s a number I can live with because I see the whole staff being on alert to “Win Now” as it is etched on the walls inside TIAA Bank Field, or more changes will be made across the board.
This team is too talented to endure another such season. Injuries affect football teams. How the franchise moves on from them will help shape this season.
"“Like many of the veteran head coaches toward the bottom of this list, Doug Marrone will be pressured in a big way in 2019. He led the Jags to the AFC title game in 2017, but the team fell apart last year,” Davenport writes.“That collapse led to quite a few changes on the offensive side of the ball.”"
Yes, the changes. A new quarterback in Nick Foles. A new offensive coordinator in John DeFilippo. A new offensive line coach in George Warhop. A new running backs coach in Terry Robiskie. Each of them tasked with something that has been obvious since the fifth game of last season. Change in this offense could spark another run toward the playoffs and possibly the Super Bowl.
"“There’s a new starting quarterback in Nick Foles and a new coordinator in John DeFilippo. The former is all but certainly a step in the right direction,” Davenport adds. “The jury is out on the latter, who didn’t make it a full season as OC in Minnesota last year before the Vikings showed him the door. It marked his second single-season stint in that capacity after serving as offensive coordinator for the 3-13 Browns in 2015.”"
It’s not just the offense that concerns the hierarchy of this franchise. Despite being fifth in total defense last season, the unit on the field did not play with the same kind of determination as it did in 2017 when it looked like a world beater. There are things that must improve on this side of the ball if Jacksonville is to taste the postseason again.
Regardless of being a “known commodity” as Davenport explained, the linebackers are a group of concern because of a lack of depth and the loss of Telvin Smith. The secondary starts two new safeties from last season’s first game. There is a question about whether Jarrod Wilson is ready to assume a more productive role. These things add up. If the defense can play with fire and intensity, then the offense can adjust as it moves forward.
On paper, the Jaguars look like a better, more polished team than last season. There is plenty of smiles and excitement from Marrone and figureheads. But the proof is in how everyone plays together. The coaching staff will be scrutinized to see if 2018 was a misnomer of sorts.
Davenport’s ranking is subject to debate like other ranking stories at this time of year. I tend to think it’s one that will prove to be wrong for the better. But until Marrone and his coaching staff turn the offense around and the Jaguars win their sixth game of 2019, it might be warranted.