Jaguars Rumors

Jaguars Hire Jay Gruden As OC

Jay Gruden‘s interview with the Jaguars ended up leading to a job offer. The former Redskins head coach has been hired as Jacksonville’s new offensive coordinator, the team announced. Ian Rapoport and Tom Pelissero of NFL.com reported yesterday (via Twitter) that this was the expected outcome.

Gruden joined ex-Giants HC Ben McAdoo and ex-Rams HC and Cowboys OC Scott Linehan in interviewing for this post. The Redskins set several passing records during Gruden’s years with Kirk Cousins and were in first place in the NFC East when Alex Smith went down with the severe leg injury that harpooned Washington’s 2018 season. The Redskins ranked 10th in scoring in their 2015 playoff season and were third in total offense a year later.

Despite Marrone entering his fourth season as the Jags’ full-time head coach, this has not been a stable position in recent years. The Jags fired Nathaniel Hackett late in the 2018 season and will make John DeFilippo a one-and-done in the OC role. With Marrone avoiding the ouster many expected, Gruden’s work with Nick Foles and Gardner Minshew will be critical to this regime staying in place. Gruden also figures to be auditioning for a future HC job.

The Redskins fired Gruden after an 0-5 start to his sixth season. He clashed with ownership and since-fired team president Bruce Allen on the drafting of Dwayne Haskins but has a history in helping young quarterbacks. Gruden was in his first year as Cincinnati’s OC when the team traded Carson Palmer and pivoted to rookie Andy Dalton. The Bengals made the playoffs from 2011-13 and were a top-10 scoring offense in the ’12 and ’13 campaigns. Minshew, who is set to compete with Foles this offseason, will be his next project.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Jaguars To Interview Jay Gruden For OC

The Jaguars are being thorough in their search for a new offensive coordinator. In addition to Ben McAdoo and Scott Linehan, Jacksonville will interview former Redskins head coach Jay Gruden for its OC vacancy, as Mike Garafolo of the NFL Network tweets.

Gruden, of course, was the first head coach fired this season, with Washington handing him his walking papers in early October. In 5+ seasons with the Redskins, Gruden compiled a 35-50-1 record and led the club to just one playoff appearance, but it was his prior work as the Bengals’ OC that got him the Washington gig in the first place.

Gruden, who was a successful quarterback at Louisville and in the Arena Football League, served as Cincinnati’s offensive coordinator from 2011-13. Although his offenses were in the middle of the pack in terms of overall efficiency during that time, the Bengals did improve in points-per-game over each of those three seasons, and in 2013, the team was in the top-10 in points scored and yards-per-game. Quarterback Andy Dalton also set career-highs in passing TDs and passing yards that season, which ended with an AFC North title.

The Jags recently fired John DeFilippo after one season as OC, and his replacement will be tasked with improving an offense that ranked 26th in points scored in 2019. The new OC will also be a major factor in developing quarterback Gardner Minshew.

There were rumors that Gruden may be headed to Las Vegas to join his brother Jon on the Raiders’ staff, and that may still be in play. But one away or another, he wants to be back in the NFL in 2020, as he told Garafolo’s NFL Network colleague, Ian Rapoport, that he is “itching to do something” and would “like to have an office to go to.”

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Jaguars Interview McAdoo, Linehan

The Jaguars interviewed former Giants head coach Ben McAdoo for their offensive coordinator vacancy, according to NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport (on Twitter). McAdoo, who did not coach in 2019, is looking to reboot his career after a dismal run in New York. 

The Giants fired McAdoo late in the 2017 season, ending a three-plus-year run with the team as offensive coordinator and head coach. The Giants threw him under the bus following the Eli Manning benching debacle and most fans were happy to see him go – the Giants went 13-15 under his watch. Prior to all of that, McAdoo served as the tight ends and quarterbacks coach of the Packers.

The Jaguars have been searching for a new OC ever since firing John DeFilippo, who was one-and-done in Jacksonville. The Panthers are also considering McAdoo for a spot on Matt Rhule‘s maiden staff.

The Jaguars are also slated to speak to former Cowboys OC Scott Linehan this weekend – presumably for the same post. Linehan will also speak with the Panthers and Giants, according to ESPN.com’s Chris Mortensen (on Twitter).

Linehan, 56, got the heave-ho from the Cowboys in January of last year. Like McAdoo, he was out of the NFL for the 2019 season.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Updated 2020 NFL Draft Order

The stage has been set for the conference championships. The Titans, Chiefs, 49ers, and Packers are moving on to the semifinals, while the Texans, Seahawks, Ravens, and Vikings will begin planning for the offseason ahead. Unfortunately for the Texans, their first round pick belongs to the Dolphins.

Here’s an updated look at the 2020 NFL Draft order from Nos. 1-28:

1. Bengals (2-14)

2. Redskins (3-13)

3. Lions (3-12-1)

4. Giants (4-12)

5 Dolphins (5-11)

6. Chargers (5-11)

7. Panthers (5-11)

8. Cardinals (5-10-1)

9. Jaguars (6-10)

10. Browns (6-10)

11. Jets (7-9)

12. Raiders (7-9)

13. Colts (7-9)

14. Buccaneers (7-9)

15. Broncos (7-9)

16. Falcons (7-9)

17. Cowboys (8-8)

18. Dolphins (via Steelers 8-8)

19. Raiders (via Bears 8-8)

20. Jaguars (via Rams 9-7)

21. Eagles (9-7)

22. Bills (10-6)

23. Patriots (12-4)

24. Saints (13-3)

25. Vikings (10-6)

26. Dolphins (via Texans 10-6)

27. Seahawks (11-5)

28. Ravens (14-2)

Jaguars Part Ways With John DeFilippo

The Jaguars announced that they have parted ways with offensive coordinator John DeFilippo. This marks yet another short-lived stint for DeFilippo – all three of his OC stints have lasted one season, or less.

DeFilippo served just one year as the Browns’ OC in 2015 and was fired as the Vikings’ OC after Week 14 in the 2018 season. Although the Jaguars say this divorce was mutual, it was likely a decision made by the team.

In 2019, the Jaguars finished 26th in points scored and with an overall record of 6-10. Losing Nick Foles to a broken collarbone in Week 1 was an obvious blow to DeFilippo’s plans, but Garner Minshew stepped up in his absence and, for a while, looked the part of a quality NFL starter. Unfortunately, they were unable to ride Minshew Mania into sustained success, and the Jaguars are now looking to move in a new direction.

The Jaguars’ next OC will be tasked with developing Minshew and getting the most out of running back Leonard Fournette, who turned in a healthy season and a solid 4.3 yards-per-carry average. On the flipside, there might not be much room to add offensive firepower. The Jaguars currently have a projected $208MM cap figure, which means they’ll have to shed veteran contracts in order to have any breathing room in March.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Updated 2020 NFL Draft Order

After a weekend full of drama and upsets, four more spots have been determined in this year’s NFL Draft order. Most notably – the Patriots will pick No. 23 overall, their highest original pick since 2006.

Here’s the updated rundown, from Nos. 1-24:

1. Bengals (2-14)

2. Redskins (3-13)

3. Lions (3-12-1)

4. Giants (4-12)

5. Dolphins (5-11)

6. Chargers (5-11)

7. Panthers (5-11)

8. Cardinals (5-10-1)

9. Jaguars (6-10)

10. Browns (6-10)

11. Jets (7-9)

12. Raiders (7-9)

13. Colts (7-9)

14. Buccaneers (7-9)

15. Broncos (7-9)

16. Falcons (7-9)

17. Cowboys (8-8)

18. Dolphins (via Steelers 8-8)

19. Raiders (via Bears 8-8)

20. Jaguars (via Rams 9-7)

21. Eagles (9-7)

22. Bills (10-6)

23. Patriots (12-4)

24. Saints (13-3)

Minshew-Foles Offseason Competition Set

Caldwell: Keeping Yannick Ngakoue Is Jaguars’ Top Priority

This year’s free agent class of edge defenders could include several impact players, but the Jaguars look poised to keep one of them off the market.

Yannick Ngakoue‘s rookie contract is up, and he’s eligible for unrestricted free agency. But GM Dave Caldwell has identified an agreement to ensure Ngakoue is a Jaguar next season is the franchise’s top offseason priority.

He’s a tremendous player and even a better person. I would say that’s Priority No. 1, to make sure that he comes back to Jacksonville and that he’s a Jacksonville Jaguar,”Caldwell said. “Hopefully, we can get that done where he’s here for a long period of time.”

The Jags and Ngakoue negotiated last year but could not come to terms on an extension. Ngakoue played out his contract year and ended up with eight sacks and 15 quarterback hits. The latter figure was significantly down from his 33 in 2018. But for his career, the talented pass rusher has 37 sacks and 14 forced fumbles. He’s become one of the game’s better pressure artists.

Ngakoue’s camp will be negotiating with a new-look Jaguars setup, with Tom Coughlin no longer in place atop the team’s decision-making structure. The former third-round pick stayed away from the team until training camp. The Jaguars extended Myles Jack but traded fellow 2016 draftee Jalen Ramsey. That leaves Ngakoue left on the franchise’s to-do list. The Jags still have Calais Campbell under contract and saw Josh Allen excel as a rookie. But they’re committed to keeping Ngakoue, who will not turn 25 until March.

Should the Jags go with the franchise tag for Ngakoue, it would cost them approximately $18MM. Jacksonville is projected to be $900K over the cap, so Caldwell will have work to do to clear out space to keep Ngakoue. The Maryland alum joins the likes of Arik Armstead, Jadeveon Clowney, Bud Dupree, Dante Fowler, Matt Judon, Jason Pierre-Paul, Shaq Lawson and Markus Golden as edge rushers whose contracts will soon expire. Some of these talents will hit free agency. It will make for an interesting several weeks on the edge defender front, with the Jaguars playing a key role in shaping the market.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

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.

Minor NFL Transactions: 12/30/19

A handful of minor moves to pass along:

Cincinnati Bengals

  • Claimed off waivers (from Packers): CB Tony Brown

Denver Broncos

  • Claimed off waivers (from Texans): DE Joel Heath

Jacksonville Jaguars

  • Claimed off waivers (from Cowboys): S Josh Jones

Pittsburgh Steelers

As veteran NFL reporter Howard Balzer points out (on Twitter), the waiver claims will be deferred to February 3rd (the day after the Super Bowl).