Marrone, Jaguars try and move on after Coughlin firing

Jaguars coach Doug Marrone speaks with the media Thursday morning.
Jaguars coach Doug Marrone speaks with the media Thursday morning.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Doug Marrone was working on play designs when Tom Coughlin walked in and delivered the news.

Coughlin, the Jaguars executive vice president of football operations and someone who Marrone had worked closely with for years, had just been fired by owner Shad Khan.

“Coach was professional as you guys know he would be,” Marrone said.

Marrone had connections to Coughlin before their paths intersected with the Jaguars. Marrone played at Syracuse and later coached there. Coughlin played at Syracuse, too, and wound up returning as an assistant coach on the Orange.

“Not a lot of time for me for reflection because I have to lead these coaches and lead this team," Marrone said.

The Jaguars’ season has been bumpy from the beginning and it tailed off into a five-game losing streak after the bye week that sealed its playoff fate. The Jaguars (5-9) travel to Atlanta on Sunday. Coughlin was the first person in the organization to lose his job because of the performances both on and off the field.

The breaking point came late Monday afternoon when the NFL Player’s Association essentially warned players to sign with the Jaguars at their own peril. Jacksonville had gone overboard in assessing fines to players under Coughlin. An arbitrator ruled in the NFLPA’s favor that excessive fines levied by the Jaguars went against the league’s collective bargaining agreement.

Marrone said that he spoke with Khan after the firing and was basically given one message. Focus on the last two games. Nothing beyond the Dec. 29 regular season finale against the Colts was discussed.

“Nor should I expect,” Marrone said. “Right now, that’s [the last two games] what should be expected.”

Marrone said that the working relationship between he and Coughlin wasn’t bad, as has been suggested.

“We talked every day; I wouldn’t use those terms, ‘the relationship was strained,’ because I have so much respect for him,” Marrone said. “If anything, I see the relationship has gotten stronger the last three years.”

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