Poll: Who should the Jaguars target as their next head coach?
Less than a year removed from the last coaching search, the Jacksonville Jaguars are looking for a head coach again. Urban Meyer was fired 13 games into his first season after a disastrous year that saw on-field struggles and off-field controversies for the head coach. Now, owner Shad Khan faces a hiring decision that he absolutely needs to get right to avoid any more setbacks in the development of rookie quarterback Trevor Lawrence, who hasn’t had a very productive year.
There are several quality candidates the Jags could look at for the opening. Jaguars Wire editor James Johnson gave a great rundown of seven of the potential options, and all of them are interesting, at least to some degree.
If the Jaguars wanted to go with a younger, first-time head coach regarded as a great offensive mind to help Lawrence, one of the clear options would be Byron Leftwich. The former Jaguars quarterback and first-round pick has found a lot of success in coaching, and he gets credit for bridging the gap between Tom Brady and Bruce Arians in Tampa Bay the last two seasons, winning a Super Bowl last season.
Leftwich is a fantastic offensive coach, and a reunion with Jacksonville would certainly carry a lot of intrigue. However, it’s not the only possible reunion that would fit the “young schemer” archetype. The Jags could also look at Green Bay offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett, a name that should be familiar, as he held the same role in Jacksonville from 2017-18 after two years as the quarterbacks coach.
He managed to get a lot of production out of Blake Bortles, and he was the architect behind Bortles’ most efficient season in 2017, as the Jags went to the AFC title game. Hackett has since become the offensive coordinator in Green Bay, where he’s found a lot of success with quarterback Aaron Rodgers and is well regarded in the coaching world.
In the same vein, the Jags could look to target New England offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels, whose first stint as a head coach with the Broncos didn’t go particularly well, but he has done an impressive job developing Mac Jones after years of working with Brady.
However, if the lack of head coaching experience (or in McDaniels’ case, good head coaching experience) is a red flag, some options have been around the block. Former Indianapolis Colts and Detroit Lions head coach Jim Caldwell, who most recently was an assistant with the Miami Dolphins in 2019, would fit that bill.
Caldwell nearly won a Super Bowl with the Colts and he’s one of the few Lions coaches with a winning record over the past several decades. He’s regarded as a players’ coach, and he would be a polar opposite personality to Meyer.
Similarly, Doug Pederson could be an interesting experienced option. Pederson defeated Brady and the New England Patriots to win a Super Bowl in 2017, and his firing in Philadelphia was considered by many to be premature. Pederson is still just 53, and though he spent the 2021 season away from football, he has an itch to coach again. There are more exciting options, but Pederson undeniably knows what it takes to win championships in this league.
We want to hear from you now, Jags fans. Which of the five coaches mentioned above do you want to become the next head man in Jacksonville? Or is your preference someone who isn’t listed? Let us know in the poll below.