It’s never a done deal until you sign the dotted line and that seems to be the case with Byron Leftwich, who was at one point the favorite to become the Jacksonville Jaguars’ next head coach but might withdraw his name from the process.
Rick Stroud of the Tampa Bay Times reports that Leftwich is “expected to remove himself from consideration” for the Jags’ head coaching vacancy. Stroud doesn’t mention when Leftwich will do it, so there’s a slight chance he still lands the job. Nevertheless, it doesn’t seem like now, especially when you take into account that “he made the mistake” of saying he wasn’t interested in working with general manager Trent Baalke, according to John Reid of Florida Times-Union.
At one point of the Jaguars’ head coaching search, Leftwich was the favorite to fill the vacancy but a deal never materialize and Baalke’s presence might’ve played a role. Mike Florio suggests that maybe the organization gave Baalke a chance to find a better candidate than Leftwich. That’s why the Jags didn’t push back Mike Jurecki’s report that they were making Leftwich their coach and Adrian Wilson their general manager.
If Leftwich ends up retrieving from the Jaguars’ head coaching search, former Philadelphia Eagles head coach Doug Pederson and former Las Vegas Raiders head coach Rich Bisaccia would then become the most realistic choices to get the job, even though the former was originally ‘lukewarm’ about it.
The Jaguars shouldn’t force Byron Leftwich into an arranged marriage.
Trent Baalke doesn’t have a good reputation around the league and wasn’t very good at hiring head coaches back when he was the general manager of the San Francisco 49ers. In fact, his last two hires in the Bay Area, Chip Kelly and Jim Tomsula, only lasted one year on the job. That’s why nobody should blame Leftwich for being skeptical of working with him.
Leftwich should be commended for wanting to maximize his opportunities to thrive in his new job. If bringing in Wilson was going to help him do a better job, the Jaguars should have caved in. Leftwich knows what he’s doing but it doesn’t look like the Jaguars are. Otherwise, their head coaching search wouldn’t be still ongoing even though it started more than a month ago.
It’s uncertain what the Jaguars’ favorite candidate for the job was but if it was Leftwich, they should have given him everything he needed to succeed. The fact that they wanted him to have a partnership with Baalke despite the fact that the pairing might not have worked out shows they aren’t trying to do everything they can to ensure they turn things around.
The Jaguars could end up with the right person but they overcomplicated a process that was supposed to be straightforward. If Leftwich was their pick for the job, they certainly didn’t show it and it’s a good thing that he is letting it be known.