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Are Jaguars getting closer to making front office, coaching decisions?

Urban Meyer
Urban Meyer (WSYX via CNN)

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – It’s been a week since the Jaguars made it official and hit reset on the football side of the operations.

Owner Shad Khan fired Doug Marrone after a 1-15 season and promised to be more involved in the franchise going forward. Khan had already fired general manager Dave Caldwell during the season.

Are the Jaguars any closer to naming new leaders for those positions? With the No. 1 pick in the draft, a bevy of other picks and a league-high in salary cap space, the Jaguars have arguably the best jobs available in the NFL.

We take a quick glance at where the coaching and general manager search stands after a week, who has interviewed and who the favorites might be.

Who are the coaches in the mix?

Eric Bieniemy, Chiefs offensive coordinator

Interviewed for the job two days after Marrone was fired. He’s been in demand across the league, interviewing for five of the seven open positions. The Texans were the only team of the initial six vacancies that didn’t request to interview Bieniemy. The Eagles job just came open Monday afternoon. According to Steve Wyche of NFL.com, Bieniemy had his strongest interview with the Falcons.

Urban Meyer, retired college coach, current TV analyst

The name most connected with the Jaguars vacancy over the past seven days is the former Florida and Ohio State coach. Meyer reportedly met with Khan on his yacht Friday night. Since Meyer isn’t currently connected to the NFL, he didn’t have to conduct his interview virtually over Zoom. Various reports have Meyer as the heavy favorite for the head coaching job … if he wants it. He retired from Ohio State following the 2018 season and said then that he didn’t think he’d coach again.

Raheem Morris, Falcons interim head coach

Interviewed with the Jaguars on Jan. 7, per the NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport. Morris has largely been in the NFL since 2002, save for a one-year stop at Kansas State in 2006. He was a head coach of the Buccaneers for three years, going 17-31. In nearly four seasons as an NFL head coach, Morris is 21-38.

Robert Saleh, Niners defensive coordinator

One of the first coaches linked to the Jaguars open coaching position. He interviewed with the team last Saturday. A former Jaguars linebacker coach under Gus Bradley, Saleh has already interviewed for jobs with the Chargers, Falcons, Jets and Lions.

Arthur Smith, Titans offensive coordinator

Smith was the last candidate to interview, reportedly meeting with the Jaguars after the Titans playoff loss to the Ravens on Sunday. He’s reported to have already interviewed or will be interviewing with the other five teams who had vacancies, the Chargers, Falcons, Jets, Lions and Texans.

Who is in the mix for the general manager role?

Trent Baalke, current Jaguars interim GM

Baalke took over in Caldwell’s role after his dismissal. He’s got quite a bit of experience as a GM, spending seven seasons as the leader in San Francisco. Baalke’s teams went 51-44-1 during his tenure. He’s also got a strong scouting background. While Baalke only spent one season in Jacksonville, it was the worst season in the franchise’s 26-year history, although likely not an indicator of what he could do if he was in charge.

Ray Farmer, former Cleveland Browns GM

He has scouting experience. He was the director of pro personnel with the Chiefs. Farmer only spent two years as the Cleveland GM and the results weren’t earth moving (10-22).

Terry Fontenot, Saints vice president/assistant GM of pro personnel

He’s been with the Saints 16 seasons, including the last six as director of pro scouting. Fontenot has never held the GM title there (Mickey Loomis has been in that role), but New Orleans has been one of the league’s best at identifying and developing talent.

Jerry Reese, former Giants GM

He won two Super Bowls with the Giants and came up through the ranks there, from scout to director of player personnel to an 11-year run as GM. He’s been out of the NFL since 2017.

Louis Riddick, ESPN analyst

One of the first to interview with the Jaguars, Riddick would be an out-of-the-box hire on the surface. But he has a scouting background and has served as the director of player personnel with the Eagles. Riddick has been with ESPN since 2013.

Rick Smith, former Texans GM

One of the first to interview with the team, Smith spent 12 seasons with the Texans (2006-17) and his teams went 92-100. He’s been out of football since 2017, having left to care for his wife who was battling cancer. Smith has also interviewed for positions with the Falcons and Lions thus far.


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