JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – In any coaching change, the first order of business is for the new coach to assemble his staff. For new Jaguars head coach Doug Marrone, Tuesday was a busy day, virtually cleaning house of the coaching staff.
Despite having a year left on their contracts, Marrone dismissed Jerry Sullivan (receivers), Tony Sorrentino (assistant receivers), Chris O’Hara (offensive assistant), DeWayne Walker (defensive backs), Robert Saleh (linebackers), Scottie Hazelton (assistant linebackers), Aaron Whitecotton (assistant defensive line) and Daniel Bullocks (assistant defensive backs).
Any coach wants his own “guys” on his staff so it’s not unusual for a new head coach to bring a variety of changes to his staff. What is unusual for Marrone is having worked alongside these coaches for the last two years as the Jaguars assistant head coach and offensive line coach. Saleh was thought to be one of the coaches Marrone might retain, but the real puzzler is Sullivan.
A 44-year veteran of coaching with 23 in the NFL, he’s credited with the development of Allen Robinson, Allen Hurns and Marqise Lee as young Jaguars receivers in the NFL. All three credit Sullivan with their progress but will now have a new position coach in 2017.
Sullivan told Ryan O’Halloran of the Times-Union that he still thought he had plenty to offer and in the right situation would coach again but if not, he plans on staying in Jacksonville. “Football saved me from the streets. Football helped me have a better life. This is a hard day,” he told the newspaper.
Marrone hasn’t said if they’d remain coordinators on his staff, but he kept Nathaniel Hackett, last season’s offensive coordinator and Todd Wash, the 2016 defensive coordinator. Defensive assistant Mike Rutenberg will also remain on the staff.