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Jaguars coaching search began much earlier than last week

Jaguars owner Shad Khan
Jaguars owner Shad Khan

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The Jaguars coaching search could be concluded this week. That would seem like a fairly quick process. In a way, that’s right, but this road began much earlier.

After the 2019 season, when the Jaguars lost six of their last eight games to finish 6-10, Shad Khan made the decision to retain general manager Dave Caldwell and head coach Doug Marrone.

At the time, Khan said the 2019 season was unacceptable and that he had made his dissatisfaction clear. The decision was not well received by fans and most media pundits. The Jaguars then proceeded to go 1-15, leading to Caldwell’s firing in late November, and Marrone’s firing at the conclusion of the season.

It has been eight days since we heard from Khan about his plans. Here’s what he has accomplished in that time:

  • The first candidate the Jaguars officially interviewed was Chiefs offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy. He has directed the Kansas City offense that has ranked at the top of the league two of the last three seasons. The other season, they ranked sixth and won the Super Bowl.
  • The following day, the Jaguars interviewed Raheem Morris. The former Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coach finished the season as the interim head coach in Atlanta. He has a lot of experience for a man of his age (44) but he has a losing record as a head coach. Unlike Bieniemy, his background is on the defensive side of the ball.
  • Two days later, the Jaguars interviewed 49ers defensive coordinator Robert Saleh. He is familiar with Jacksonville, having served as the Jaguars linebackers coach for two seasons under Gus Bradley. His defenses in San Francisco have ranked in the top five in each of the past two seasons.
  • That same day, Khan entertained Urban Meyer on his yacht in Miami as Meyer was preparing to be a part of the coverage of the national championship game. It’s the first time, according to Khan, that the two had spoken about the position, although several national reports suggest otherwise. Sports Illustrated reported that contact has been ongoing between Meyer and the Jaguars — sometimes through intermediaries — for at least a month.
  • Sunday evening after the Titans lost to the Ravens in the playoffs, the Jaguars interviewed Tennessee offensive coordinator Arthur Smith. He interviewed with three other NFL teams on Monday.

This comes as reports about Meyer and the Jaguars intensify.

The NFL Network’s Mike Garafalo said on Tuesday that the Jaguars were “waiting” on a decision from Meyer.

I believe it’s likely that the Jaguars will hire the new coach and GM this week. Khan said that he would like to hire them basically simultaneously. It’s possible that we could get an announcement in the next couple of days, but if not, it could come next week. But remember, Monday is a holiday, and the inauguration is Wednesday, so that could impact when the Jaguars introduced their new top men.


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