After coaching a depleted team that ended up losing 14 straight games — and securing the 2021 No. 1 overall pick — Doug Marrone is expected to be fired. The Jaguars are planning to end Marrone’s four-plus-season tenure after Week 17, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com reports.
Although the Jags have not made a final decision, Marrone narrowly avoided an ouster after the 2019 season. The team has since fired GM Dave Caldwell, and seeing a coach hang onto his job after a 14-game losing streak would obviously be quite unusual.
The team appears to be moving fast on Marrone’s replacement, eyeing Urban Meyer. The former Florida and Ohio State coach has already begun lining up a staff, according to Rapoport, who adds the ex-national champion expects to land the Jacksonville job.
At least two teams have reached out to Meyer about a head coaching role; the Jaguars certainly appear to be one of the two. Meyer, who has a history of spurning interest or leaving posts abruptly, has not committed to coaching in 2021, Rapoport adds.
Two of Meyer’s three national championships came in north Florida, when he led the Gators to titles in 2006 and ’08. This would make Jacksonville a logical landing spot. A greater interest has emerged in the Jaguars job due to the expected arrival of Clemson phenom Trevor Lawrence. Meyer has landed on other NFL teams’ radars in the past, but this time his interest in the pros appears genuine. Meyer, 56, stepped down multiple times at Florida and left his Ohio State post — at which he claimed a third national championship — in 2019.
If Meyer again ends up declining a path to the pros, the Jaguars have another option in mind. In this scenario, the Jags, per Rapoport (on Twitter), would target Meyer’s Ohio State successor — Ryan Day. Unlike Meyer, Day has NFL experience. He served as QBs coach for the 2015 Eagles and 2016 49ers. Both those gigs came under Chip Kelly, and those respective organizations cleaned house after each of those campaigns. Day, 41, has been at Ohio State since 2017, rising to their head coaching position in 2019. Day will coach Ohio State in the upcoming national championship game.
Marrone’s first full Jacksonville season went better than just about anyone could have expected. The Blake Bortles-quarterbacked team ventured to the AFC championship game, upsetting the Steelers in Round 2. The Jags nearly pulled off a bigger upset but squandered a late lead against the Patriots. Everything went downhill from there. After an ill-fated Bortles extension backfired, the Jags did not come close to competing for a playoff spot again under Marrone.
The team fired executive VP Tom Coughlin before last season ended, and while ownership kept the Caldwell-Marrone duo in place, the Jaguars purged most of the players from their 2017 squad from the roster. Even after trading the likes of Jalen Ramsey, A.J. Bouye, Calais Campbell and Yannick Ngakoue, the Jags placed many of their new starters on IR. This helped key the 14-game skid that ended up securing the franchise the No. 1 overall pick. Jacksonville holds two first-round picks in the upcoming draft, and a new coach will be in charge of attempting to resurrect a franchise that has not made the playoffs in back-to-back seasons since the 1990s.
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