The Jacksonville Jaguars took a little over a week to find their replacement at offensive coordinator. Jay Gruden will make this offense better in 2020.
Obviously, it is something head coach Doug Marrone thought as well when making the decision to bring the former Washington Redskins head coach and Cincinnati Bengals offensive coordinator in to fill the opening left by John DeFilippo.
The move means the offense, ranked 26th in points per game in the NFL last season, will have plenty of changes, most notably moving from a power-running attack to a West Coast offense that uses the short and intermediate passing game to move the football down the field.
“We were trying to find someone who’s best for this staff, who’s best for what you want to run, then you’re looking for what person’s best for your players, who’s going to relate to the players, who’s going to be able to communicate with them,” Marrone said via teleconference with the media on Wednesday. “At the end of the day, we just felt that Jay was the best fit for us.”
Marrone, in talking with John Oehser of Jaguars.com, said all the candidates, which were four in total, had a strong desire to take the job. Gruden, who in recent years helped Andy Dalton become a solid veteran signal-caller in Cincinnati and revitalized the career of Adrian Peterson, has some nice pieces to work with here in Jacksonville.
Leonard Fournette and Dede Westbrook are entering their fourth years in the league. DJ Chark is a budding star. Whether it is Gardner Minshew or Nick Foles under center, there is some experience at the position and room to grow.
“Everyone who came in had a high level of interest. People are motivated for different reasons. I don’t like putting words in other people’s mouth, but it’s like anything else: Things sometimes don’t work out the way you want in this profession and sometimes you have to jump right back out and go ahead and get to work,” Marrone said.
There are other positions on the coaching staff that remain open – a quarterbacks coach and an assistant running backs coach. There is no word who will fill those slots or if they will be filled. There may be someone Gruden wants to bring in to help with the quarterback room.
Marrone sees this as another opportunity for the quarterbacks on the roster to benefit from a coach who has experience calling plays and as a head coach, overseeing everything.
“What’s best for the team is always what you have to be looking out for. We’re just going forward now in phases. We’re making these hires based on what’s best for our team, and when I say, ‘Our team…” just because you hire a guy on offense doesn’t mean just offense,” he said.
“It has to do with defense and special teams, so you’re going into that. You want to have an offense that is going to be able to play in different ways and be very multiple. You’re trying to put the players you have in the best position.”
There is no word if Marrone is leaning toward one quarterback over the other. There is expected to be a battle for the starting job in camp. Minshew played in a total of 14 games last season. Foles played in four. The six wins for the Jaguars in 2019 were while the rookie out of Washington State was under center.