Less than 24 months ago, Doug Marrone had the Jacksonville Jaguars on the verge of a Super Bowl.
The NFL can change fast. Marrone will reportedly be fired as Jaguars head coach after a second straight double-digit loss season, according to ESPN’s Dianna Russini.
Jacksonville head coach Doug Marrone has been informed that he will be dismissed following Sunday’s game vs. Colts, per sources. Jaguars will begin a search for a new head coach.
— Dianna (@diannaESPN) December 28, 2019
That news is not quite official, though. The Jaguars have denied that Marrone has been informed of his ouster. A spokesman for owner Shad Khan said that “Khan will meet with his football staff, which includes coaching and personnel, midweek next week.” NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero reported that “there’s a real chance he stays.”
Still, things have been going south in Jacksonville for a while.
The Jaguars got rid of quarterback Blake Bortles after a 5-11 season in 2018. They signed Nick Foles, who got hurt in the first half of the season opener. The Jaguars made Foles the starter again when he was healthy, replacing promising rookie Gardner Minshew II, and Jacksonville lost the next three games with Foles. That knocked them out of the playoff race.
It also was the beginning of the end for Marrone in Jacksonville.
Doug Marrone had one good season
Marrone was an odd hire after the 2016 season. He was promoted to interim head coach when Gus Bradley was fired, and after two games, he was made the permanent head coach. In his first full Jacksonville season, it looked like the right move.
Marrone led the Jaguars to a 10-6 record and a division title. Then came playoff wins over the Buffalo Bills, Pittsburgh Steelers and a fourth-quarter lead against the New England Patriots in the AFC championship game. But the Jaguars couldn’t finish the upset over the Patriots. Part of that was conservative play-calling by the staff in the second half. The Patriots won and advanced to Super Bowl LII, but the Jaguars still looked like they had a solid foundation. The defense was very good, the roster was young and the arrow seemed pointed up.
Then the Jaguars crashed hard to earth over the next two seasons.
Jaguars have been bad for a while
Bortles fell apart in 2018. He was blamed for all of Jacksonville’s problems. So the Jaguars switched to Foles for 2019, and he got hurt. The Jaguars also lost all four of his starts before turning back to Minshew to finish the season.
Executive vice president of football operations Tom Coughlin was fired in December, and that led to speculation about Marrone’s future. The Jaguars could have put the blame at Coughlin’s feet and retained everyone else including Marrone, but owner Shad Khan wanted to hit the reset button.
The Jaguars job won’t be an attractive one to top candidates. The quarterback situation is an odd one, with highly-paid Foles and Minshew, who did some good things as a rookie but still will have to keep proving himself to satisfy skeptics. The defense has fallen apart. Since 2007, the Jaguars have had one winning record, the 10-6 division title team from two seasons ago. Jacksonville has lost at least 10 games in every other season since the start of 2011.
Jacksonville has been one of the NFL’s worst teams for a while. They’ll hope a new coach can turn things around.
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