Dave Caldwell

Jaguars To Retain HC Doug Marrone, GM Dave Caldwell

The Jaguars will retain head coach Doug Marrone and GM Dave Caldwell for the 2020 season, as Tom Pelissero of the NFL Network reports (via Twitter). There were conflicting reports over the weekend as to what owner Shad Khan would do, but for the second year in a row, Khan has elected for continuity.

Of course, Khan did fire executive vice president of football operations Tom Coughlin on December 18, and he indicated in a statement that he would not be filling Coughlin’s role. Instead, Marrone and Caldwell will continue to report to Khan directly, just as they have been doing since Coughlin’s dismissal. That means that Caldwell, who lost final say over personnel matters when Coughlin was hired in 2017, will regain that authority.

Khan said he met with Marrone, Caldwell, and their respective staffs in recent days, and it was those meetings — not the team’s 38-20 win over the Colts in Sunday’s meaningless finale — that led to his decision. However, Khan stressed that the team’s last-place finish in 2019 was not acceptable, and it sounds as if both Marrone and Caldwell could be on a short leash moving forward.

And that stands to reason, as neither man has set the world ablaze during their tenures in Jacksonville. Marrone is 22-28 since taking over as the club’s head coach towards the end of the 2016 season, and the Jags are 36-76 since Caldwell was hired as GM in January 2013. Of course, everyone remembers the run Jacksonville made in 2017, which nearly culminated in a Super Bowl berth, but even though that was just two years ago, the regression the club has seen since then makes it feel like a lot longer.

Marrone himself was not considering any major changes to his coaching staff, though as Mike Garafolo of the NFL Network tweets, it’s unclear whether his meeting with Khan will have changed his stance.

Khan’s statement may be found in its entirety here, courtesy of the team’s official website, but it reads in part as follows:

“The 2019 season was unacceptable and I’ve made my dissatisfaction clear. While many unusual circumstances influenced our season, none can fully explain or defend our second-half collapse with first place in the division within reach on Week 9. At the same time, there were positive developments and contributions that should not be overlooked.

We came out of our AFC Championship Game season of 2017 by making a four-year commitment to the collective leadership of our football operations. Only two seasons have passed and one change from that leadership team has already been made. I want to see what we produce under a new organizational structure in 2020. Goals have been established. Accountability will be paramount.”

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Coaching Rumors: Jaguars, Browns, Panthers, Patriots

The 2019 regular season is winding down, which means the coaching carousel is about to start ramping up. Earlier today the Falcons announced Dan Quinn would be back for 2020, crossing one potential opening off the list. This is shaping up to be a potentially quiet year in terms of number of coaches fired, but there should still be a good amount of action. One man still on the hot seat is the Jaguars head coach Doug Marrone. The latest reporting indicated the Jags were leaning toward keeping Marrone and GM Dave Caldwell, and we have more info to back that up now. Tony Khan, the team’s EVP and son of owner Shad Khan, is expected to take on an increased role in the organization, according to Albert Breer of SI.com.

That’s good news for Marrone and Caldwell, since Breer writes that the younger Khan has a good relationship with both. He further adds that “things are trending toward” the duo “surviving the weekend.” Tom Coughlin, the team’s head of football operations, was fired recently and has been taking the brunt of the blame for the organization’s spiral.

Here’s the latest from around the league:

  • There’s been a lot of speculation that Browns head coach Freddie Kitchens could be one and done, as Cleveland has been a dumpster fire all year long. Breer writes that Browns owner Jimmy Haslam initially seemed inclined to keep him around for a second year, but that recently Haslam has “kept his cards closer to the vest.” Even if Kitchens survives, Breer says he expects there to be significant changes to his staff. It’s been “an open secret that offensive coordinator Todd Monken hasn’t been happy” this season, he reports. How the Browns fare in Week 17 against the 1-14 Bengals could go a long way in determining Kitchens’ future.
  • Everyone that Breer has talked to indicated that the Panthers are going to conduct an extensive search for Ron Rivera’s replacement. Notably, Breer has learned that the search is expected to include a college coach or two. Baylor coach Matt Rhule and Oklahoma coach Lincoln Riley have been two college coaches heavily linked to NFL jobs recently. New owner David Tepper is looking to put his stamp on the team, and it’ll be very interesting to see which direction he heads. He’s been very keen on analytics, so a younger offensive-minded hire wouldn’t be surprising. Further, Breer writes to “keep an eye out” for Josh McDaniels and the Panthers. The Patriots offensive coordinator nearly took the Colts’ job two cycles ago, and will be a hot name again this time around. Whoever the Panthers hire “will have considerable say over the football operation, in areas like strength-and-conditioning, training and video,” Breer reports.
  • Speaking of the Patriots, Nick Caserio isn’t the only exec in their building who could get poached. Breer speculates that McDaniels could try to lure pro personnel director Dave Ziegler with him if he leaves to become a head coach. Given that Caserio and director of college scouting Monti Ossenfort are both on expiring contracts, Breer thinks the Pats might work hard to retain Ziegler.

Jaguars To Retain HC Doug Marrone, GM Dave Caldwell?

We heard last week that the Jaguars were considering a major organizational shakeup, with head coach Doug Marrone, executive vice president of football operations Tom Coughlin, and GM Dave Caldwell potentially all on the chopping block. Since then, Coughlin was fired, and Ian Rapoport of NFL.com reports that his dismissal may be the only major coaching/front office change Jacksonville makes.

Team owner Shad Khan, despite his apparent predilection for current and former Patriots staffers, would prefer to maintain continuity. Rapoport says the Coughlin firing was well-received in the locker room, and he adds that Marrone had to constantly put out fires regarding Coughlin’s fining system. If his team performs well over the final two weeks of the season, Marrone could be back.

The same goes for Caldwell, whose past couple of drafts have been good enough to give him a chance to be retained. Although the team’s front office will have to somehow deal with Nick Foles‘ contract, the fact that Coughlin is out of the picture has apparently made agents comfortable with having their clients sign with the Jags.

To replace Coughlin, Khan may turn to his son, Tony Khan. Tony Khan currently serves as vice chairman and director of football operations for Fulham Football Club, and he has an analytics-driven approach that would fit in well with the modern game.

The Jags close out the 2019 season with winnable games against the Falcons and Colts.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

South Notes: Godwin, Peat, Marrone

Buccaneers WR Chris Godwin left Sunday’s victory over Detroit due to a hamstring injury, and since Tampa Bay is out of playoff contention, Godwin’s breakout 2019 campaign may end prematurely. Curiously, fellow wideout Mike Evans has already been placed on IR with a hamstring ailment, and yet another receiver, Scott Miller, also left the Lions game due to a hamstring issue.

That has led some to question the way in which head coach Bruce Arians is running things, and as Eduardo A. Encina of the Tampa Bay Times writes, Arians has conceded that he may be overworking his receivers. “We’ll be talking with our sports science people about it,” Arians said. “Maybe I’ve overworked them in practice, the receivers, because we need the reps. Our quarterbacks need the reps, so we run them this time of the year more than I would probably like to, but we need the reps.” The hamstring injuries may all just be a coincidence, but it’s worth keeping an eye on the team’s new sports science department moving forward.

Jenna Laine of ESPN.com says Arians has already ruled Godwin out for Week 16 but hopes he will play in the 2019 finale.

Now for more from the league’s south divisions:

  • Good news for the playoff-bound Saints. As Mike Triplett of ESPN.com tweets, New Orleans guard Andrus Peat, who has missed the last five games with a broken arm, has returned to practice. The team’s offense has performed just fine in Peat’s absence, but the Saints would surely like to have their 2018 Pro Bowler back in action.
  • The Saints continued to bolster their secondary by adding safety D.J. Swearinger on Wednesday, just two days after claiming CB Janoris Jenkins. As Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle observes, the Saints did their due diligence in the DB market before signing Swearinger, working out nine total players (Twitter link). That list included recognizable vets DeShawn Shead and Kentrell Brice.
  • The Jaguars parted ways with executive vice president Tom Coughlin yesterday, and many believe that head coach Doug Marrone will be axed at the end of the season. However, Marrone said he has not heard anything in that regard from owner Shad Khan, nor does he expect to (h/t Josh Alper of Pro Football Talk). Meanwhile, Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk believes that, since Khan did not also fire Marrone when he fired Coughlin, Marrone (and GM Dave Caldwell) could be back in 2020. But Coughlin seems to have been fired largely as a result of a damning NFLPA report that surfaced Monday, so the fact that Marrone and Caldwell will stay on board for the rest of 2019 probably doesn’t mean very much.
  • The Colts tried to shore up their CB position by signing Briean Boddy-Calhoun yesterday, and as Wilson tweets, Indy also brought in CB Ken Crawley for a tryout.

Jaguars Expected To Make Major Offseason Changes

It has been speculated for some time that the Jaguars may undergo a major organizational overhaul this offseason, and sources tell Adam Schefter of ESPN.com that the club is indeed expected to make significant changes in the new year.

Many around the league expect head coach Doug Marrone to be fired, per Schefter. Others believe that executive vice president of football operations Tom Coughlin could step aside to spend more time with family.

Schefter’s report did not offer any concrete rumors as to GM Dave Caldwell, but recent reports have suggested that he may be on the chopping block as well. Of course, owner Shad Khan considered a shakeup after the 2018 season, but he opted to remain patient. However, his patience has not been rewarded, and the Jags have sputtered to a 4-9 record in 2019.

This same power structure guided Jacksonville to the AFC Championship Game in 2017, and the team was one quarter away from upsetting the Patriots in that contest and advancing to the Super Bowl. The Jags looked like a team on the rise, but they have regressed in a big way and now look like they could be headed for yet another rebuild.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

AFC South Notes: Jags, Tannehill, Funchess

As they limp towards the end of their second consecutive disappointing campaign, the Jaguars could be looking at a major organizational overhaul this offseason, as Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports writes. Several members of head coach Doug Marrone‘s staff believe Marrone will be fired at season’s end, and questions remain as to how long team president Tom Coughlin will remain with the club.

Indeed, La Canfora says members of Jacksonville’s front office are just as concerned about their job security as the team’s coaches and are beginning to explore opportunities elsewhere. Owner Shad Khan did consider a significant shakeup last year before opting to retain Marrone, Coughlin, and GM Dave Caldwell, but he may not be as patient this time. If Khan does elect to make a GM change, La Canfora names Scott Pioli as a potential replacement, and Patriots OC Josh McDaniels could be on the short list of replacements for Marrone.

Now for more from the AFC South:

  • The Titans are interested in extending their relationship with quarterback Ryan Tannehill beyond 2019, and as La Canfora writes, the franchise tag could be in play for Tannehill. The tag would come with a roughly $27MM cap hit, but with Tannehill suddenly a hot commodity, the club could hit him with the tag as a precursor to a multi-year pact. Of course, much depends on how Tannehill finishes the season, and while the two sides are unlikely to engage in contract talks in the short term, Tannehill looks set to cash in once the season is over.
  • Despite some hope that veteran wideout Devin Funchess would be returning to the field soon, the Colts have decided to shut him down for the year, as Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets. Funchess, who suffered a fractured collarbone during Indianapolis’ Week 1 loss to the Chargers, simply has not healed enough, per Rapoport, who says the plate inserted into the fracture did not work out as hoped. This is a difficult blow for the Colts, who have seen many of their top skill players miss time due to injury this year.
  • The Texans have been in the news a great deal over the last two days. The team placed first-round rookie Tytus Howard on IR on Saturday, and today we learned that the club will operate without a GM in 2020. Houston also got some potentially exciting news, as J.J. Watt could return to the field in time for the playoffs.

Jaguars’ Coughlin, Caldwell, Marrone To Return In 2019

The Jaguars apparently won’t be making any sweeping changes this offseason. Owner Shad Khan announced that Tom Coughlin, general manager Dave Caldwell and head coach Doug Marrone will all return in 2019 (via the team’s Twitter account).

“I informed Tom Coughlin this week that I want him to see through our shared goal of bringing a Super Bowl title to Jacksonville,” Khan said in a statement. “Given our overall body of work over the past two seasons, I offered to Tom that I preferred entering the 2019 season with as much stability as reasonable or possible at the top of our football operation. However, those decisions, at all times, are Tom’s decisions, and I would respect any call he made on our general manager and head coach. I am pleased that Tom sees our situation and opportunity similarly, so we will return to work this week fully confident and optimistic with Dave Caldwell as our general manager and Doug Marrone as our head coach.

I have the same trust in Tom, Dave, and Doug as I did upon their introduction two years ago, and I do believe our best path forward for the moment is the one less disruptive and dramatic. Stability should not be confused with satisfaction, however. I am far from content with the status quo and while it’s best to put 2018 behind us, I will not overlook how poorly we accounted for ourselves following a 3-1 start. There were far too many long Sundays over the last three quarters of the season, with today’s loss in Houston being the final example, and that cannot repeat itself in 2019. That’s my message to our football people and players, but also our sponsors and fans, both of whom were remarkable.”

All around, the news isn’t all that surprising. Coughlin, who is serving as the Executive Vice President of Football Operations, all but has free reign over the organization, and he signed an extension back in February that would take him through the 2021 season. Caldwell, who has been the team’s general manager since 2013, also extended his contract through 2021 back in February.

However, there were some whispers that Marrone could find himself on the hot seat. We heard back in November that Marrone was safe, and the organization doubled down on that sentiment last week. There were some rumblings that Coughlin could actually make himself head coach of the Jaguars, but the organization appears to be content rolling with their current head coach. In two-plus seasons with the team, Marrone has helped guide the Jaguars to 16-18 record, and he led the team to an AFC Championship appearance last season.

While key members of the front office and coaching staff will return in 2019, the team could still see some major changes this offseason. The team could decide to find a replacement for quarterback Blake Bortles, and there have also been rumors that they’ll search for a new offensive coordinator. Nathaniel Hackett was fired from the role back in November.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Receiver Notes: Landry, Dez, A-Rob, Evans

No players have dominated the news more in the last two days than Jarvis Landry and Richard Sherman. On Friday, the Browns kicked off their trading spree by landing the Dolphins wideout in a deal for draft picks. Earlier in the day, Sherman was released from the Seahawks and then signed with the division-rival 49ers Saturday Night.

The two possibly could have been connected on the transaction wire earlier in the 2017 season if a blockbuster deal would have gone through. That’s according to CBS Sports’ Jason La Canfora, who tweets that Seattle rejected a potential Landry-for-Sherman swap in 2017.

At the time of the proposed deal, presumably before the trade deadline, Sherman was healthy and the Seahawks were looking to advance to the postseason for the sixth consecutive. Trading away a key member of the secondary and an influential figure in the locker room doesn’t appear to make much sense.

Regardless, it is interesting both teams were looking to move on from their respective stars as early as October.

Here’s more receivers making news:

  • Before both of those deals went down, Mike Evans grabbed headlines by signing a five-year deal with the Buccaneers worth $82.5 MM. Breaking down the details, CBS Sports’ Joel Corry tweets the Bucs will $5 MM of salary cap space in 2018 and he now takes up $18.25 MM of cap room.
  • During a chat with the Dallas Morning News on Friday, Matt Mosley said his gut feeling is that Cowboys receiver Dez Bryant will be back in 2018. He said that could change if the team lands a receiver in the first round. Alabama’s Calvin Ridley, among others, could be on the board when the Cowboys pick at No. 19.
  • Though they didn’t place the franchise tag on him, the Jaguars do in fact like Allen Robinson and would like to have him back at the right price, general manager Dave Caldwell told Pro Football Talk. “At some point in time, just like other free agents, we’ve walked away. We don’t want to do that with Allen because he’s ours. We’ll see. We have a lot of options on the table with that.”

South Notes: Jags, Colts, Glennon, Falcons

After their most successful season this century, the Jaguars are firmly committed to their power structure. The Tom Coughlin/Dave Caldwell/Doug Marrone triumvirate is now signed through 2021 after the extensions announced Friday, and this season looks to have played a key part in Shad Khan‘s decision. The owner approached his top staffers about these extensions shortly after the Jags’ AFC championship game loss to the Patriots, Ryan O’Halloran of the Florida Times-Union reports.

For Caldwell, this marks the second two-year extension in as many offseasons. The GM signed one in January 2017 on the same day he was stripped of some of his decision-making abilities, but he’ll continue to work with Coughlin for the foreseeable future. This comes after some in league circles believed Coughlin would attempt to push Caldwell out of the picture, per O’Halloran, if last season did not go well. In particular, Blake Bortles‘ play was key in this scenario, O’Halloran writes. Caldwell had overseen four straight losing seasons since taking over the Jags’ reins in 2013.

Here’s the latest out of the South divisions:

  • The Colts continue to add to Frank Reich‘s first staff. They’ve hired Tom Manning as their tight ends coach, reports Tommy Birch of The Des Moines Register. The former Iowa State offensive coordinator led the Cyclones to two of the best offensive seasons in team history. He previously served as the offensive line coach at Toledo and Mount Union.
  • Regarding Reich’s first offense, Stephen Holder of the Indianapolis Star notes it’s expected to be a significant change from Rob Chudzinski‘s attack. Reich is expected to install an uptempo setup to help a Colts offense that ranked 31st last season. However, Andrew Luck being at the controls had the Colts at No. 10 offensively in 2016. So, improvement will largely come from Indianapolis’ starter being back in the fold.
  • A Buccaneers/Mike Glennon reunion will likely be on the Tampa Bay brass’ radar, Rick Stroud of the Tampa Bay Times writes. The Bears are expected to cut Glennon, whom Mitch Trubisky quickly supplanted in Chicago’s starting lineup, and Stroud notes the Bucs will be watching carefully to see if their former backup will wind up in need of a job. Glennon served as Jameis Winston‘s backup in 2015 and ’16, and with a possible suspension for Winston looming because of an alleged groping of an Uber driver, Stroud notes Tampa Bay’s backup could play a key role in the 2018 season. The Bucs were ready to pay Glennon like a top-market backup at $8MM per year, but the Bears’ offer easily won out last March.
  • Sean Weatherspoon has played in just six games for the Falcons the past two seasons and has missed all five of Atlanta’s playoff contests in that span. The 30-year-old linebacker is now a free agent. He would like to return to Atlanta but acknowledged a connection to former Missouri defensive coordinator Matt Eberflus, who now has a first-time opportunity as an NFL DC with the Colts. “My college coach, who recruited me to Missouri, is the (defensive) coordinator for the Colts now,” Weatherspoon said, via D. Orlando Ledbetter of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “There are a lot of things, I love Atlanta, but I’m just looking for an opportunity. I’d love to be here. If things work out, this is where I’ll be.” Prior to his injury trouble during his second Falcons stint, the former first-round pick started 40 games with the Falcons from 2010-13. Given where he is in his career, Weatherspoon would likely be available for the veteran minimum.

Ben Levine contributed to this report.

Jaguars Extend Coughlin, Marrone, Caldwell

The Jaguars have locked up executive vice president Tom Coughlin, GM Dave Caldwell, coach Doug Marrone with new two-year extensions, according to a team announcements. The fresh deals will keep all three men in place through the 2021 season. Tom Coughlin (Vertical)

Coughlin, pictured here in his best gardening gear, joined Jacksonville last January. The Jags proceeded to shock the world by going from a 3-13 record in 2016 to 10-6 in 2017 and nearly defeating the Patriots in the AFC Championship game. This year, the Jaguars will look improve on their success and reach their first ever Super Bowl.

The decision to extend the contracts of Tom, Dave, and Doug isn’t so much a reward for last season, which no doubt was impressive, as it is to recognize their important to our football team this coming season and for years to follow,” owner Shad Khan said in a statement. “We’re past celebrating the accomplishments of our division title and playoff run, and now it’s time to take the next step. We need the right leadership firmly in place to make that happen, and it’s good to know that we’ll have that with Tom, Dave, and Doug secure in their roles with the Jacksonville Jaguars.”

Marrone initially joined the Jaguars as their assistant head coach/offensive line coach in 2015 on Gus Bradley‘s staff. Marrone was appointed as the team’s interim head coach when Bradley was canned near the end of the season and had his interim tag removed on the same day that Coughlin was hired. Marrone wasn’t necessarily the sexiest choice after his awkward exit from Buffalo a few years back, but he was clearly the right pick.

Caldwell remains the team’s GM, but Coughlin has final say over the team’s 53-man roster. Coughlin reportedly did not ask for total roster control when he signed on last year, but Khan strongly felt that it was the right move. For his part, Caldwell has been a good sport about the structural change.

I think Dave’s done a great job on talent, but he’s a young guy. I think he can learn lot from Tom. There might be a natural human emotion [from Caldwell] of, ‘Gee …’ but I think if you look at what’s best for the Jaguars, I think this is the structure,” Khan said last winter. “Dave gets to do the talent, and I think he’s worked hard. It’s, ‘How do we get more wins?’

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.