Doug Marrone

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.

Jaguars Notes: Coughlin, Ramsey, Jack

Here’s a look at the Jaguars as they gear up for the most important game in nearly two decades:

  • Last year, Jaguars owner Shad Khan wanted to hire Tom Coughlin as the team’s chief decision maker and make then interim head coach Doug Marrone the team’s full-time HC. He feared putting the two in a “forced marriage,” but Coughlin independently named Marrone as his top choice for the role, Jarrett Bell of USA Today writes. It’s an unusual arrangement, but Marrone says that he does not mind operating in Coughlin’s shadow. “I’ve never been the boss, just so you know,” he said. “I’ve got one at home, and when I go home with my wife, my father-in-law (James “Boots” Donnelly, the longtime football coach at Middle Tennessee) is the boss. Or my mother-in-law, depending on the situation. When I visit my parents, they’re the boss. I’m never the boss. So it’s the same.”
  • The culture change in Jacksonville is a big reason for the Jaguars’ success, but the team’s 2016 draft under Dave Caldwell should not be discounted, as Michael DiRocco of writes. In that year, the Jaguars selected Jalen Ramsey (No. 5 overall), linebacker Myles Jack (No. 36) and defensive end Yannick Ngakoue (No. 69). With those picks, the Jags came away with a first-team All-Pro, a starting linebacker, and one of the league’s top young pass-rushers. Of course, the team’s 2017 free agent class – including defensive end Calais Campbell, cornerback A.J. Bouye, and safety Barry Church – is also a big reason for the team’s surprising playoff run.
  • Earlier this week, the Jaguars auditioned Brock Miller, but that was probably just to give Jacksonville some practice against a left-footed punter in preparation for Ryan Allen of the Pats.

AFC South Notes: Albert, O’Brien, Hooker

Doug Marrone was emphatic today when declaring he still hasn’t heard from recently acquired left tackle Branden Albert, per Ryan O’Halloran of the Florida Times-Union. The new full-time Jaguars coach seemed to indicate Tom Coughlin and Dave Caldwell have checked in with him about the situation involving the AWOL trade acquisition.

I just want to know so when you ask me, I can answer it or when [Coughlin or Caldwell] asks, I can answer them,” Marrone said, via O’Halloran. “They ask me, ‘Have you talked to him? Is he going to come? Is he going to play?’ I don’t know. I’ve been in situations where I’ve had a player on the [franchise] tag and they would say, ‘Hey, I’m not signing the tag, I’m not going to [show up], but I’m going to be working out and training.’ … You just want to know where everyone is at and that’s all I was expecting [from Albert].”

Albert cannot be fined until June 13, when the Jags convene for their mandatory minicamp. O’Halloran reports that when Albert came to Jacksonville for a post-trade press conference in March, a source indicated a new contract wasn’t coming for the 32-year-old blocker. The tackle market then exploded, with less proven players like Matt Kalil, Riley Reiff and Russell Okung all signing for at least $11MM per year and each receiving at least $24MM in guarantees. This leads O’Halloran to believe Albert had a change of heart about playing on his Dolphins-constructed contract this season. Albert is now the 15th-highest-paid left tackle, in terms of AAV. The two-time Pro Bowler’s deal has no guaranteed money remaining.

Here’s the latest from the AFC South.

  • The Jaguars are lining up Cam Robinson exclusively at left tackle, O’Halloran tweets. Arriving as a second-round pick from Alabama, Robinson was believed to be viewed as either a tackle or guard. The Jags have some uncertainty at left guard despite re-signing Patrick Omameh, so an ideal setup may be Albert at left tackle and Robinson at left guard. With Albert’s status unknown, the franchise is not arranging its pieces this way.
  • After the Texans again sputtered on offense in 2016, the team parted ways with OC George Godsey without bringing in a new coordinator. Bill O’Brien confirmed he’s running the offense and will continue to do so. “I’ve been probably doing more coaching myself in the last four or five weeks than I’ve done in the three years that I’ve been here,” O’Brien said, via Sarah Barshop of “I’m really involved in the offense and I’m having a lot of fun.” O’Brien categorized last season’s stretch-run arrangement as he and Godsey splitting up the play-calling duties. Barshop notes O’Brien will call plays this season.
  • Malik Hooker will not participate in the Colts‘ rookie minicamp this weekend and will likely be held out until training camp, according to Kevin Bowen of The first-round safety underwent surgeries in January to repair a torn labrum and address a hernia issue.
  • The Jaguars are expected to give Leonard Fournette a fully guaranteed contract like the Panthers did for Christian McCaffrey, O’Halloran notes. McCaffrey’s $17.24MM deal as the No. 8 overall pick will be well shy of what O’Halloran expects to be a fully guaranteed pact for the No. 4 overall choice, who would earn $27.15MM. That amount would exceed the league’s top guarantee for a running back. Ezekiel Elliott‘s $24.97MM guarantee leads this position by a healthy margin presently, with LeSean McCoy having the top veteran-contract guarantee at $18.25MM.

Fallout From Bills’ Front Office Shakeup

The Bills deciding to trade out of their No. 10 slot, when the Chiefs surrendered their 2018 first-rounder to headline a package that netted them Patrick Mahomes, indicated Doug Whaley was not going to be around much longer, Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports notes. Buffalo moving down 17 spots — a move the Bills were believed to be pushing for prior to the draft — signaled a long-term plan more than one designed to help an embattled GM’s team win now. (However, Chiefs GM John Dorsey told B.J. Kissel of — Twitter link — Whaley was involved in talks that originated early this week.)

Albert Breer of notes the Bills’ chaotic front office situation goes back to 2014, when Terry and Kim Pegula took over and were surprised when Doug Marrone exercised an opt-out option that garnered him $4MM and left the Bills without a coach despite having completed a rare over-.500 season in 2014. The current Jaguars HC’s 9-7 campaign, aided the Patriots resting starters in Week 17 of that season, represents the most the Bills wins since 2004.

La Canfora notes Whaley has not gotten along especially well with any of his coaches, describing less-than-ideal relationships with both Marrone and Rex Ryan, and the one with Sean McDermott did not take off. Bill Polian declined to join the Bills in January of 2015, and La Canfora notes that decision kept Whaley in charge and helped lead to Marrone bolting on his contract.

Now running the show in Buffalo, McDermott was not happy the Patriots plucked Stephon Gilmore in free agency, La Canfora writes. The RFA decisions on Chris Hogan and Mike Gillislee did not help, either. The CBS-based reporter notes some of Pegula’s confidants advised him to fire Whaley years ago. The Bills signed Whaley to an extension last year, however.

A source categorized the Bills’ draft room this weekend as “one of the weirdest three days,” per Breer, due to the fact a leadership component wasn’t entirely present. McDermott, though, was the one who was providing the final say, Breer reports. The first-year HC was given autonomy to remove prospects from the draft board as well. Pegula said today Whaley put together the draft and the organization decided to fire him after the three-day event, Mike Rodak of relays.

Scouts were upset with Ryan’s program last year, Breer notes, adding that Bills coaches felt some of Whaley’s draft decisions — be it the trade-up for Sammy Watkins or selection of injury-risk Shaq Lawson — didn’t fit the schemes they were using. As for Watkins, it’s possible the Bills made his injury situation worse. Breer reports that the wideout’s foot injury was too severe for him to complete walkthroughs, but no one put a stop to his comeback attempt, and the pain worsened as he pushed through it to lead to a two-month shutdown. Watkins returned for the final six games but only cleared 80 receiving yards twice, albeit on a run-centric team. Already rumored to be set to decline Watkins’ fifth-year option, the Bills are probably more likely to go in that direction now that Whaley is gone, Jason Fitzgerald of OverTheCap tweets.

Further complicating things with McDermott: Anthony Lynn was Whaley’s first HC choice, according to Breer, and ownership went with the former Panthers DC — with whom Whaley did not have much of a relationship — while letting Lynn proceed to the Chargers’ job. Tyrod Taylor‘s return on an adjusted deal also went against Whaley’s wishes and was more in line with new OC Rick Dennison‘s. The latter was the Broncos’ OC when the team pursued Taylor in 2015.

As far as the selection of the next GM, the Pegulas might not lean on team president Russ Brandon too much, with Terry Pegula saying today the owners would ask Brandon questions if they believed they need to (Twitter link via Breer). Former Eagles president and Browns CEO Joe Banner understandably expects the new GM to be someone with close ties to McDermott, the longtime exec told Sirius XM Radio (Twitter link). Panthers assistant GM Brandon Beane could well become a candidate.

Jags Notes: Bortles, Marrone, Albert, Draft

The Jaguars are undecided on Blake Bortles‘ fifth-year option, Ryan O’Halloran of the Florida Times-Union reports. But the Jacksonville-based writer notes that had the new-look Jags decision-making group planned to exercise it, word would have gotten out by now. The team has until May 3 to pick up the 2018 option, which could be worth as much as $18MM.

We’re still discussing that,” Jags GM Dave Caldwell said. “There are a lot of things that go into it.”

Bortles has not shown himself to be what the Jags envisioned when they used the No. 3 overall pick on him, making Bortles the franchise’s second top-10 quarterback of the decade after Blaine Gabbert, and the current embattled starter’s play regressed last season. Caldwell said before the franchise established its new power structure that the next coach wouldn’t have to start Bortles this season, but he backtracked on that later in the winter, saying the fourth-year player was going to be the team’s quarterback. O’Halloran doesn’t expect the team to exercise the option, meaning the 25-year-old passer would be in a contract year.

Here’s the latest out of Jacksonville, courtesy of O’Halloran.

  • Former NFL executive Michael Lombardi believed the decision on Bortles has been made, telling O’Halloran the Jaguars are going to begin the potentially looming breakup in this draft. “[Tom] Coughlin’s going to draft a quarterback,” said Lombardi, who now works for The Ringer. “… Look, there are some times when we’re all better off saying, ‘We screwed that up. We really blew that. We have to admit we made a mistake.’ He has to be a guy they have to replace. This is the perfect draft to do it.” The Jags have Bortles, Chad Henne and Brandon Allen under contract, but the top two on the depth chart are only signed through 2017. Bortles represented the Jags admitting a mistake three years about Gabbert, and this draft would represent the same time span from when Bortles arrived. Of course, it would be somewhat of a surprise if the Jags went with a quarterback at No. 4 overall considering their recent history with such passers.
  • Doug Marrone has attempted to contact recent trade acquisition Branden Albert, but in a somewhat puzzling development the presumptive left tackle starter has not gotten back to him. “I have not had any communication with him [this week], which is a surprise,” Marrone said, via O’Halloran. “I don’t know what his thoughts are going forward. Obviously, it’s voluntary, but I was surprised that I didn’t receive a call back from him.” The 32-year-old Albert has not reported to his new team’s workouts yet. He’s holding out for a new contract, presumably one with more guaranteed money on it. Albert has two years remaining on his Dolphins-designed deal. That pact stands to pay the former Pro Bowler $8.9MM in 2017 and $9.6MM in ’18. The Jags have more than $51MM in cap space.
  • Coughlin provided some cryptic answers on his first draft since returning to north Florida, but the former Jags and Giants HC said the team is open to moving down from No. 4 overall. This could be relevant if the Jags want to stockpile picks, because the Browns are believed to be debating a move from their No. 12 pick back into the top 10 to take Mitch Trubisky. That is, if they don’t select him No. 1 overall, which is under consideration as well. This marks the sixth straight year Jacksonville has held a top-five pick.

AFC Rumors: Dolphins, Alonso, Broncos

Kiko Alonso doesn’t want to move from the middle linebacker spot in 2017, a source tells Armando Salguero of the Miami Herald. The Dolphins might want to move him to outside linebacker, but that might not be an option if he is unwilling to adjust. As Salguero notes, the Dolphins should probably figure all of this out in the next week with free agency on the horizon. There’s also this – in the past, Alonso has indicated a willingness to move, if it would help the team. So, even if the linebacker’s preference is to remain in the middle, he might be willing to be a good soldier and shift positions.

Here’s more from the AFC:

  • There has been lots of talk about the Broncos acquiring a veteran quarterback, but head coach Vance Joseph indicated that he’s happy with current options Paxton Lynch and Trevor Siemian. “We’ve got two young guys that combined to win nine games last year as starters — probably should have won two more games,” he said (via “We’re fine there with those two kids.”
  • Jaguars coach Doug Marrone admits leaving the Bills head coaching job was a “mistake” he has learned from, as Vic Carucci of The Buffalo News tweets. He added that he has spoken about it with Bills owner Terry Pegula. Marrone opted out of his Bills deal before the 2015 season, but a unique clause in his contract allowed him to still collect on his full $4MM salary.
  • On Wednesday, the Steelers re-signed James Harrison to a two-year deal. The new pact will take him through his age-40 season.

Coaching Notes: Jags, Fins, Ravens, Broncos

In the aftermath of this offseason’s head coaching searches across the NFL, Greg A. Bedard of asked three executives from successful franchises their thoughts on this year’s hirings. One opined that the league’s owners “have absolutely no idea what they’re doing” and that “most of these places are screwed up.” He also blasted the Jaguars’ decision to elevate Doug Marrone from interim head coach to the full-time position. “Look at Jacksonville. They keep Marrone—I mean, he was an assistant head coach on that team the past two years [8–24], was he not?—and say he’s by far the best candidate,” he stated. “After speaking to (Josh) McDaniels, (Kyle) Shanahan and Mike Smith? Are you kidding?”

Marrone coached the final two games of the Jaguars’ season, during which they went 1-1, after the firing of Gus Bradley. Before joining Jacksonville’s staff in 2015, Marrone worked as the Bills’ head coach and went 15-17 in two years. The club finished 9-7 on his watch in 2014, but Marrone then elected to opt out of his contract.

Now for the latest staff changes:

  • The Dolphins have named Frank Bush their assistant head coach/linebackers coach and promoted Chris Kuper from quality control coach to offensive line assistant, per Omar Kelly of the Sun Sentinel. Additionally, the team has designated special teams coordinator Darren Rizzi an associate head coach, tweets Armando Salguero of the Miami Herald. The 54-year-old Bush will take over Miami’s linebackers from Matt Burke, who’s now the defensive coordinator. Bush spent the past four seasons coaching the Rams’ LBs.
  • The Ravens have announced the hiring of Joe D’Allessandris as their offensive line coach. He’ll replace Juan Castillo, who went to Buffalo. D’Allessandris oversaw the Chargers’ O-line from 2013-15.
  • The Broncos will name Johnnie Lynn their assistant defensive backs coach, a league source told Nicki Jhabvala of the Denver Post. Lynn is familiar with the Broncos’ new head coach, Vance Joseph, as the two worked together in San Francisco from 2006-10. More recently, Lynn was with the Raiders from 2012-14.

Jaguars Notes: Coughlin, Bortles, Flaherty

While it could have been assumed newly hired Jaguars executive VP Tom Coughlin would have final say over the team’s 53-man roster, no more assumptions are required. The veteran coach and first-time exec will have the final say on the 2017 roster, stripping some power from GM Dave Caldwell, owner Shad Khan said. Caldwell had been in charge of the Jacksonville football operations since 2013.

Coughlin interviewed for the Jags’ HC position but said he prefers the VP job he acquired instead. The 70-year-old provided two of his top coaching choices to Khan, and Doug Marrone was one of those two. Khan added that the decision “wasn’t close” between Marrone and the other coaches the team interviewed during this hiring process.

In addition to Coughlin and Marrone, the Jags also met with Josh McDaniels, Kyle Shanahan, Mike Smith and Harold Goodwin. Marrone is 16-18 in two-plus years as a head coach.

Here’s the latest coming out of Jacksonville.

  • The Jaguars hired Pat Flaherty to become their offensive line coach, the team announced today. Flaherty worked under Coughlin in each of his 12 seasons as the Giants’ HC, instructing the Giants’ offensive linemen from 2004-15. The 60-year-old Flaherty spent this past season as the OL coach for the 49ers.
  • During the Jags’ time without a full-time head coach, the word coming down from the front office was one of hesitancy regarding Blake Bortles, with Caldwell saying the next coach would not have to commit to the former No. 3 overall pick. But Coughlin shut down notions the team will attempt to replace Bortles this offseason. “Blake Bortles is our quarterback,” Coughlin said, via Lindsay Jones of USA Today. Marrone’s belief in Bortles impacted the hiring decision. Bortles’ quarterback rating plummeted from 88.2 to 78.8 this season, but it’s safe to assume after this declaration the Jags are planning to pick up his fifth-year option.
  • The Jaguars will have extensive sideline continuity despite finishing the season 3-13, retaining both coordinators in Nethanial Hackett (offense) and Todd Wash (defense).
  • Jacksonville brought over Denver special teams coordinator Joe DeCamillis to work in the same capacity.

Reactions to Jaguars’ Hirings

The Jaguars have officially announced the hiring of head coach Doug Marrone and Executive Vice President of Football Operations Tom Coughlin. The organization also announced the two-year extension for general manager Dave Caldwell. Owner Shad Khan released a statement regarding the moves (via’s Ian Rapoport on Twitter):

“I have confidence that one day soon we’ll look back on today’s news as the moment that inspired and ultimately established the Jacksonville Jaguars as a football team that wins, week to week and season to season.

“I am honored to welcome Tom Coughlin back to Jacksonville, where winning was customary under his leadership. I know he expects the same in his return to head our football operations, and that’s good news for us and Jaguars fans everywhere. The extension of Dave Caldwell’s contract speaks to his excellent work thus far and the continued importance of complementing our talented and promising roster. 

“I am particularly enthused to introduce Doug Marrone as our new head coach. Doug is a strong football man in every respect and offers us qualities that will serve us well in all facets of the team, from the meeting rooms to game day and much more. The results will speak for themselves in time, but with Tom coming in to join Dave and Doug, there is no question the Jacksonville Jaguars are a stronger football team today.”

Let’s take a look at some reactions out of Jacksonville following the organization’s busy day…

  • Caldwell will report to Coughlin, reports’s Mike DiRocco. The writer assumes that Coughlin “will have final say over personnel issues as well as the draft,” although the organization hasn’t confirmed whether this will be the case. A source told Ryan O’Halloran of the Florida Times-Union (via Twitter) that Coughlin presumably “has the final say on everything.”
  • Marrone believes Blake Bortles can be a franchise quarterback, and this mindset played a significant role in the hiring, reports Rapoport (via’s Gregg Rosenthal). The organization clearly valued continuity, but Rosenthal notes that there will be “pressure on Marrone and Caldwell to turn Jacksonville’s fortunes around quickly.”
  • Bortles certainly sounded optimistic about the hiring. “I think Doug has earned the respect of the offensive players and I’m excited for him to get this opportunity and the direction of this team,” Bortles told DiRocco.
  • Rosenthal notes that offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett will presumably keep his role. Hackett worked under Marrone with Syracuse and the Bills.
  • Meanwhile, Albert Breer of tweets that the Jaguars’ defensive coaches were told they’d be retained if Marrone got the job. Alex Marvez of The Sporting News provides even more clarity (on Twitter), noting that the team will at least be keeping defensive coordinator Todd Wash and linebackers coach Robert Saleh.
  • Mike Smith was thought to be a close second for the Jaguars job, Charles Robinson of Yahoo Sports tweets. The former Falcons head coach served as the Buccaneers defensive coordinator this past season. In seven seasons in Atlanta, Smith led his squad to a 66-46 record and four playoff births. Roy Cummings of writes that Smith is still in the running for the Chargers‘ head coaching gig.

Zach Links contributed to this report.