Despite the announcement that he will return as the Jacksonville Jaguars head coach for the 2020 season, Doug Marrone is still on the hot seat.
The decision to keep Marrone on for his fourth full season in the same position, as well as have David Caldwell return as the team’s general manager for the eighth season in 2020 means the two members of the Jaguars front office personnel walk into next season as the number one targets to be replaced in 2021 if there is not a major change in the win column in North Florida.
"“We came out of our AFC Championship Game season of 2017 by making a four-year commitment to the collective leadership of our football operations. Only two seasons have passed and one change from that leadership team has already been made. I want to see what we produce under a new organizational structure in 2020. Goals have been established. Accountability will be paramount,” Shad Khan said in a prepared statement on Tuesday morning, notifying the league and Jaguars fans of his decision.More from Jacksonville Jaguars NewsJaguars RB Travis Etienne expected to have bigger impact in 20235 bonafide stars from the Jacksonville Jaguars 2022 seasonJacksonville Jaguars haven’t heard any Calvin Ridley news from the NFLWR Marvin Jones Jr. will give 110 percent with the Jacksonville Jaguars or wherever he plays in 2023Jacksonville Jaguars keeping TE Evan Engram in 2023 one way or another“As part of our new framework, the position of Executive Vice President of Football Operations will not be filled in 2020. Dave and Doug will each continue to report directly to me, as they have since mid-December. Our work begins immediately. We have a lot of draft capital in our favor to help us achieve our goals for 2020, and beyond.”"
It’s understandable to a degree why changes were not made, given the team did fire Tom Coughlin two weeks prior to the end of the season. The Jaguars also won two of their last three games of 2019 and walk into the 2020 year with two first-round draft picks to start the build of a more stable roster.
Everything, however, leans toward success on the field and that starts with Marrone.
"“I take accountability for that, because that’s on-field performance where I didn’t do a good enough job with having the team ready. I think that we’ve been through that in those weeks, and I addressed those situations. I think when you’re talking about on-field performance, you’re talking about [how] it’s very simple from the outside to look at it and just say, ‘OK, the personnel, or the scheme on the field.’ So, it’s going to take an effort, there’s a lot more to it,” Marrone said in his press conference with Caldwell on Tuesday afternoon inside TIAA Bank Field.“Meaning, availability of players, the training of players, the acquisition of players, the schematics that we’re doing coaching-wise. So, if it was as easy as saying, ‘Hey, let’s take one area, and this is the only area, and this is the only issue.’ When you perform like that as a football team, that falls on everyone. And everyone has to be accountable for that. So, when we’re looking, and we’re talking about how does that change and what happens, it comes from everywhere. It comes from all the support staff in the building, to the way we’re handling the players, to the way we’re acquiring them, to the way we’re coaching them, to everything.”"
The past two seasons have produced just 11 wins and 21 losses after a 2017 roster that produced 12 wins and seven losses including the playoffs. The roster is much different than it was just two seasons ago, especially on defense where three Pro Bowl performers are no longer on the roster and Paul Posluszny retired from the game.
There will be more turnover this offseason, with more veterans potentially leaving because of salary cap issues. Then, there is the situation with Yannick Ngakoue and whether the front office can work a contract extension out with the fourth-year star.
"“I think you guys all know in this room how both Doug [Marrone] and I feel about Yannick [Ngakoue] through our conversations over the years. He’s a tremendous player, he’s an even better person,” Caldwell said when asked about the team will approach trying to keep the former third-round pick from 2016.“How he handled his business this year was tremendous, but I would say that’s priority number one, to make sure that he comes back to Jacksonville and [that] he’s a Jacksonville Jaguar, so hopefully we can get that done where he’s here for a long period of time.”"
Caldwell did say he felt the Jaguars would be in good shape with the salary cap and trying to sign free agents this offseason, but most important, how to improve the talent that is already on the roster and bringing in new faces to help shape the future of the franchise.
"“It is twofold. One, it is going to be challenging. That is nothing we have not faced before. We have done it before from 2016 to 2017 and when we first got here, we had a lot of holes to fill. We do not have nearly as many to fill as we did in 2013 and 2014,” Caldwell explained.“We have the assets and the draft capital to be able to do that. We have two first round picks. We have an extra fifth round pick this year, and we will be in a good situation from our cap standpoint, too, if we need it to go out and get free agents and fill some holes before the draft.”"
Where does your fandom rank?
See 2019 Rankings
The Jaguars can ill afford to go into the offseason without making changes to the entire structure of the football team. If there isn’t an improvement, which may include coaching staff changes and additions in free agency and the NFL Draft, this could be the last season Khan sits and keeps things the way they are from top to bottom of the organization.