Tony Khan

Jags’ GM Backs Eberflus for HC

The Jaguars have had a bit of turbulence as they try to replace Urban Meyer, but a favorite has emerged as Colts’ defensive coordinator Matt Eberflus was the first candidate to be invited back for a second interview. An important aspect of Jacksonville’s search, Eberflus has received a strong backing from Jaguars’ general manager Trent Baalke, according to Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports. 

Baalke has a reputation for being a difficult general manager for head coaches to work with. Back when Baalke was the 49ers’ general manager in 2014, many reports of clashes with Jim Harbaugh littered the season, which ended with San Francisco and Harbaugh parting ways. This has made the search for a new head coach difficult as La Canfora reports that top candidates for the job are “only seriously considering it if assured Baalke would be out following the draft.” Baalke has been accused by sources of trying to prize his job security while securing a head coach.

Baalke first endorsed University of Alabama offensive coordinator Bill O’Brien, but, after O’Brien interviewed for the position, Jaguars’ owner Shad Khan‘s son, Tony Khan, and a high-ranking official with the team shared their issues with O’Brien’s history of toxicity.

With O’Brien out of the running, Baalke set his sights on Eberflus. The four-year defensive coordinator in Indianapolis has overseen a top-10 scoring defense in three of his four seasons calling the defense. Eberflus’s defense was exposed by the very team he’s interviewing for when the Colts’ allowed 26 points in a must-win Week 18 loss to the Jaguars that eliminated Indianapolis from postseason contention.

Jacksonville’s willingness to seriously consider the candidate Baalke prefers points to them potentially wanting to keep Baalke as general manager. If this is the route they follow, it will likely tie Baalke’s future to Eberflus’s. There are still several candidates alive in this search, though. Keep track of the situation by following our 2022 NFL Head Coaching Search Tracker.

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

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 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.

AFC Notes: Jags, Lewis, Lynch, Ogbah

The Jaguars have shocked the NFL after starting the year 7-3, thanks in large part to their outstanding defense. But while that side of the ball has deservingly gotten a lot of the credit for their success, there’s another interesting aspect of their front office that had contributed to the team’s sudden rise to the top of the AFC South, opines Albert Breer of Sports Illustrated.

As a part of his Friday column, the veteran reporter made note of the expanded use of analytics in the team’s decision making process because of the department headed up by Jacksonville’s owner’s son, Tony Khan. Khan’s group supplements the work done by Tom Coughlin and Doug Marrone through more advanced statistical and technological methods, something that isn’t as rampant in the NFL as with other sports, like basketball or baseball.

However, Breer pointed out the Jaguars have used data in their decision to keep their offense on the field a full 10 percent more times on fourth down than last season, as well in their acquisitions of running back Corey Grant and saftey Jarrod Wilson, who have each made big plays over the course of the season. Breer’s article provides an interesting look at another aspect of perhaps the league’s most surprising team through some pretty cool examples of more analytical evaluation when making football decisions.

  • Marvin Lewis is the second longest tenured head coach with one franchise in the league today, ranking right behind Bill Belichick. It’s a notable comparison as the Pats head coach has been able to win multiple Super Bowls with New Engalnd, while the Bengals have not won a single playoff game under Lewis’ leadership. However, the 59-year-old has maintained a number of crucial relationships throughout the league that has helped him fight through a lot of criticism, opines Katherine Terrell of Terrell mentions the likes Hue Jackson, Dirk Koetter, Bill Cowher, Mike Zimmer, Vance Joseph and Jay Gruden as guys who the Bengals head coach considers some of his closest friends in the league. Obviously, Cincinnati has had it’s tough moments under the guise of Lewis, but this piece shows just why he has survived as a head coach in this league for so long, despite the lack of playoff success.
  • Marshawn Lynch has never really gotten things going with the Raiders this season, but offensive coordinator Todd Downing mentioned after practice on Friday that he wants to “feed” the veteran running back this Sunday vs. the Broncos, reports Matt Kawahara of the San Francisco Chronicle. Head coach Jack Del Rio echoed that sentiment after the team’s final practice this week. “Could be a little more,” Del Rio said of Lynch’s workload. “Like to push him, get him a little more.” Lynch has consistently managed single-digit carries with his new team, but it appears that the coaching staff is on board in wanting to get the former All-pro more involved in the Raiders offense in the weeks ahead.
  • In some good injury news, Browns defensive end Emmanuel Ogbah tweeted out a photo this afternoon showing that he had a successful surgery on the foot he broke during the team’s game last Sunday vs. the Jaguars. The 24-year-old was having a solid sophomore campaign up until the injury, but it’s certainly great news that his recovery has gotten off to a good start.