Marrone should be a comfortable hire for Caldwell and ownership because they know Marrone well after two seasons on the Jaguars staff as the team’s assistant head coach-offense/offensive line coach. Marrone finished 1-1 to end the 2016 season as the team’s interim head coach following the ouster of coach Gus Bradley. Rapoport reported on NFL Network that the direction Marrone took the team in two weeks as interim head coach was a big factor in elevating him.
Bortles should be thrilled. Rapoport noted that Marrone’s belief in Bortles as a franchise quarterback was a factor in his hiring. Jaguars offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett, who worked under Marrone at Syracuse and Buffalo, will presumably stay in the same role in Jacksonville.
There are plenty of intriguing names out there as we listed in our latest head coaching candidates list. NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport also brought to our attention that Cowboys offensive coordinator Scott Linehan could be a hot name in the coming weeks during GameDay Morning.
But of those available candidates, is there a job they’d covet more? Here’s a look at both openings as they stand now and some thoughts on which may be a more desirable vacancy for a potential head coach. To be clear, this piece does not reflect the opinion of any current or prospective head coach. These views are mine only.
Jacksonville’s offseason mirrors what many teams have done in the past when they don’t see the results they’re expecting. A shift from Gus Bradley to Doug Marrone and Coughlin is a clear pivot to hard-nosed discipline, a 180-degree turn from an alternate but also successful philosophy employed by the former Seahawks defensive coordinator.
Coughlin has won in different places because he was given free rein to install a complex but comprehensive culture. While the Giants were already a more complete organization upon his arrival, this Jaguars rebuild has a similar feeling to the one he undertook back in 1994 with the expansion team. Within a year of Jacksonville being a franchise, Coughlin had the team on a four-year playoff streak capped by a 14-2 season in 1999.
In yet another sign that the running back position has returned to prime time, Fournette becomes the second straight running back to go in the top five. Only four running backs in the last decade – Fournette, Trent Richardson, Darren McFadden and Ezekiel Elliott – have been selected in the first five picks.
The selection obviously raises questions about the immediate future of Jacksonville’s backfield, which already includes Chris Ivory and T. J. Yeldon. The tandem last year formed the league’s 22nd best rushing offense and 29th most productive scoring backfield.
The Jaguars had requested to start April 3, the date teams with new coaches can start, since they promoted interim Doug Marrone to replace Gus Bradley in January.
The league initially granted the Jaguars an extra week, saying they could start April 10. But the NFL Players Association challenged the ruling and won. After consulting with the league office, the Jaguars announced Tuesday night they will start April 17.
Last offseason, the Jaguars inked Jackson to a six-year, $90 million pact, but Jacksonville has long made a habit of paying big money to open-market free agents. With Campbell operating as one the league’s top 3-4 ends, it’s fair to question how the 30-year-old lineman would mesh with the Jaguars, who are expected to keep the team’s 4-3 defense in place under new coordinator Todd Wash.
The Cardinals used three or fewer lineman on all but 22 defensive plays last season, per Next Gen Stats, but that shouldn’t erase the concept of Jacksonville pursuing the highly versatile Campbell, who piled up eight sacks and 12 tackles for loss in 2016 — feats that weren’t forgotten in Arizona.