The Jacksonville Jaguars have confirmed interest in Tom Coughlin for their coaching opening, as previously reported, and would like to speak to several more former coaches. While general manager Dave Caldwell is the public face of the search, league sources said the team is also using headhunter Jed Hughes to identify candidates. Hughes most recently has worked on coaching searches in Cleveland and Atlanta.
Besides Coughlin, league sources said the Jaguars are likely to reach out to former head coaches like Josh McDaniels (Patriots offensive coordinator) and Mike Smith (Buccaneers defensive coordinator). Sources said Hughes has been high on Falcons offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan, who has not been an NFL head coach but will be widely pursued for openings next month, and several college coaches, including Hugh Freeze of Ole Miss. Caldwell spoke about considering college coaches during his news conference last week following the firing of Gus Bradley.
Including Hughes in the search is likely another indication that interim coach Doug Marrone has little shot of landing the job. Plus, the decision to turn the team over to Marrone in Week 16, despite the Jags having only two wins, leaves him little time to make any imprint on the team or struggling quarterback Blake Bortles.
It remains to be seen if Coughlin, 70, who spent this season working at the NFL office after his departure from the Giants, would be a fit as a coach or rather in a team president-type of position, but he certainly will be a factor. Coughlin is widely popular in Jacksonville for quickly turning the expansion team into a Super Bowl contender, and his two Lombardi Trophies as coach of the Giants highlight a potential Hall of Fame resume -- the kind of credentials a franchise this historically bad cannot ignore.
Bradley was 14-48 record over nearly four seasons, with a 5-11 last season his most successful campaign. He will have opportunities to join a new staff as a defensive coordinator. The Jaguars have not been to the playoffs since 2007, and have a cumulative record of 41-101 since that season.