After a decision to keep head coach Doug Marrone around for another season, what will his next move be for the Jacksonville Jaguars?
I got the impression after the dust settled and the announcement was made that both David Caldwell and Doug Marrone would return for another season with the Jacksonville Jaguars, the much-maligned head coach stopped for a second and exhaled.
It has been an exhausting year in terms of expectations, unfulfilled promises and the notion that the fractures within the structure of this franchise were all related to his coaching of players who did not put out maximum effort his past season.
While Marrone’s coaching did play a role in the 6-10 season, he is not the only one who should have been left on an island. Caldwell, the team’s general manager for the past seven seasons, deserved some of the blame as did former executive vice-president of football operations, Tom Coughlin. And while we are tossing the pigskin around, team owner Shad Khan can not be left void of the blame for the way every issue within the organization was handled in 2019.
The fact is, like it or not, Marrone deserved one more season to show he can coach this team without the meddling style of Coughlin and the vote of confidence from Khan to see the transformation of this roster to a winner once again.
“Marrone did an admirable job keeping the team together in one of the strangest seasons in franchise history. Foles’ Week 1 injury, Telvin Smith’s preseason retirement, Jalen Ramsey’s forced trade, the Tom Coughlin firing at season’s end, Minshew Mania … perhaps no other coach in franchise history dealt with so much in one season,” John Oehser of Jaguars.com wrote.
“And make no mistake: players wanted him to return. They said as much during the final two weeks of the season, then played perhaps their best game of the season in the season-ending victory over Indianapolis.”
Having players come out and express their love for their leader helps make the decision to keep Marrone for a fourth full season easier to deal with. Had the locker room been divided and there was grumbling about the coach on the sidelines, this would have been a more difficult decision.
“Marrone pointed the finger at himself after nearly every loss this season. That’s admirable and Marrone believes strongly in taking responsibility for all that happens under his watch,” Oehser added. “But a lot of things happened beyond his control, and he deserved a chance to show what might happen when a few more things are in his control.”
Khan’s directive to his two front office members, that winning must take place in 2020, is another mandate like the end of the 2018 season where the three figureheads were told they needed to change the direction of the sinking ship or there would be changes.
There haven’t been any so far and with Marrone having to decide what to do with his coaching staff in the next week, it should be interesting if someone (Todd Wash) does indeed fall on the sword. If Wash does exit the building, do the Jaguars jump at a chance to hire former Los Angeles Rams defensive coordinator Wade Phillips or someone else out there the team would like to have come in and scrap the current scheme?
If there aren’t changes next week when Marrone meets with his coaching staff, fans will once again wonder what is being done to change the direction of the franchise. Status quo means we may expect the same results next season. If Marrone makes moves to better his contributors, it shows he is not unwilling to change a path that has proven to be less than successful inthe past two seasons.