The Jaguars‘ decision to promote Nathaniel Hackett to offensive coordinator today would ease the transition in the event that Doug Marrone is promoted to head coach, as Jason La Canfora of CBSSports.com (Twitter links). Obviously, projecting the firing of current head coach Gus Bradley is putting the cart before the horse, and recent reports have indicated that Bradley is safe through the end of the season. But Hackett has a working relationship with Marrone — he called plays for Marrone both at Syracuse and with the Bills — and would certainly keep the OC job if Marrone were to take over.
Here’s more from the AFC:
- Offensive line should be the priority for the Jaguars in 2017 free agency, opines Michael DiRocco of ESPN.com. Jacksonville signed left tackle Kelvin Beachum over the offseason, but otherwise stood pat on its offensive line. The unit has struggled to get the run game going, ranking 30th in Football Outsiders‘ run grading metric. Former No. 2 overall pick Luke Joeckel, who recently underwent surgery and is done for the year, could be an option to be re-signed, while T.J. Lang, Kevin Zeitler, and Riley Reiff will be the top options on the 2017 market.
- The Patriots‘ trade for linebacker Kyle Van Noy could be the club guarding against free agent losses, writes Ben Volin of the Boston Globe, who points out that both Dont’a Hightower and Jamie Collins are headed for the open market next spring. New England made a similar move before the season, dealing for cornerback Eric Rowe, who can help protect against possible defections by Malcolm Butler or Logan Ryan.
- The Patriots opted to promote running back Tyler Gaffney from the practice squad instead of fellow RB Bishop Sankey, and there could be several reasons for that decision, according to Mike Reiss of ESPN.com. Gaffney offers more a power-back look than Sankey, and also plays on special teams, a trait that head coach Bill Belichick values. Additionally, Gaffney could be easier to sneak back through waivers, whereas Sankey could be claimed.