Jaguars GM Trent Baalke’s choice for head coach not bad at all
The Jacksonville Jaguars’ efforts to fill their head coaching vacancy haven’t stopped. In fact, they may be entering the most interesting part of the search, as they are narrowing down their list of options. Indianapolis Colts defensive coordinator Matt Eberflus has been the only candidate that has gotten a second interview but it looks like general manager Trent Baalke has made up his mind and sees him as the favorite to land the job.
Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports reports that Baalke has backed Eberflus in “his attempt to find a coach” who has the disposition to work with him. La Canfora goes on to say that the top candidates for the Jaguars’ head coaching job may only consider it if the general manager is ousted after the 2022 NFL Draft. He adds that the Jaguars’ brass wasn’t particularly impressed with former Houston Texans head coach Bill O’Brien, who had been Baalke’s preferred choice for the opening.
"O’Brien was given strong support from Baalke, leading to him eventually interviewing for the position, but sources said that meeting quickly went south with Tony Khan, son of owner Shad Khan and a high-ranking official with the team, expressing strong reservations about O’Brien’s past history of toxicity during the process."
The Jaguars can’t settle on Matt Ebeflus, must complete their HC search.
At this point of the search, it would be a bad idea for the Jaguars to settle on Eberflus. Not because he’s a bad candidate but rather because they may pass on the chance to truly assess all their options. Who knows? What if Green Bay Packers offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett has a better plan to develop Trevor Lawrence? Maybe Tampa Bay Buccaneers defensive coordinator Todd Bowles’ vision to rebuild the team is the most feasible one.
This is not to say that Eberflus is a lesser candidate to let’s say, Byron Leftwich. Simply, the Jags are conducting a process and they need to stick to it. Does it really make a difference if they have to wait a couple more weeks to wrap up their search? Hiring a coach is a decision that will impact the organization long term and Jacksonville should take their time to get it right. Last year, they zeroed in on Urban Meyer from the very beginning and things didn’t work out well.
Keep in mind that Eberflus will have choices beyond the Jaguars. If he senses that there is a better fit out there, he would not pass on the chance to take it. Jacksonville’s head coaching opening is pretty attractive due to having a potential franchise quarterback and a boatload of cap space. But there might be other franchises with more stability at the top such as the Minnesota Vikings, which could make them more enticing for Eberflus or other candidates in this hiring cycle.
More details about the Jaguars’ head coaching search should come out soon. Eberflus might be Baalke’s favorite candidate but that doesn’t make it the frontrunner for the job and it’s too premature to come up with any conclusion.