The Jaguars found their next coach and a new, high-profile member of the front office, but neither of the two will exactly be new faces around Jacksonville.
As first reported by ESPN's Adam Schefter, the Jaguars hired Doug Marrone as coach and Tom Coughlin as the executive vice president of football operations. CBS Sports NFL Insider Jason La Canfora confirmed both moves. The team announced the hirings Monday night and, as Schefter also first reported, the Jaguars confirmed that they extended general manager Dave Caldwell's contract. All three -- Caldwell, Coughlin, and Marrone -- are under contract for three seasons.
In their announcement, the Jaguars made it clear that Coughlin is in charge. Both Caldwell and Marrone will report to him.
Let's start with Marrone, who served as the team's interim coach late in the season after Gus Bradley was fired. Marrone previously coached the Bills from 2013-14, going 15-17. While filling in for Bradley during the final two games of the season, he went 1-1, which included a surprising 38-17 win over the Titans in Week 16.
Apparently, he made enough of an impression on the front office during those two weeks, as NFL Network's Mike Silver reported earlier Monday.
I know there's a lot of talk about Mike Smith getting the Jags job. Don't count out Doug Marrone. Impressed his bosses as interim HC.— Michael Silver (@MikeSilver) January 9, 2017
Still, the move comes as a surprise.
As the assistant head coach and offensive line coach, Marrone was a part of Bradley's failed regime during the past two seasons. Under Bradley, the Jaguars went 14-48. The Jaguars won eight total games from 2015-16. Going from Bradley to Marrone really doesn't seem like a significant change, even if the two have completely different backgrounds and skill sets.
To be blunt, this is the dullest hire the Jaguars could've made considering they were also talking with candidates like Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels and Coughlin (more on him later). Prior to coaching the Bills, Marrone was the coach at Syracuse, posting a 25-25 record in four seasons.
So, yeah, everything about this hire screams mediocre. But that alone doesn't mean he'll fail in Jacksonville, though he'll have a tough task to turn around a perpetually awful franchise.
By the sound of it, the biggest winner here is Blake Bortles, who regressed in his third season, but will apparently get another shot to prove he's the team's franchise quarterback. After firing Bradley, Caldwell said that his new coach wouldn't be forced to play Bortles. But the hiring of Marrone indicates otherwise.
Jaguars 'liked the direction' Marrone took the offense in, as well as his 'belief' in Blake Bortles, per @RapSheet.— Marc Sessler (@MarcSesslerNFL) January 9, 2017
As for Coughlin, he will likely be a much more popular addition than Marrone. From 1995-2002, Coughlin coached the Jaguars to a 68-60 record. With Coughlin, the Jaguars journeyed to the postseason in four consecutive seasons. Eventually, they fired Coughlin after three straight losing seasons.
Coughlin rebounded by winning two Super Bowls with the Giants. He stepped down almost exactly a year ago and Ben McAdoo took over. But Coughlin, 70, never officially retired.
In December, La Canfora reported that the Jaguars were expected to reach out to Coughlin for their coaching vacancy. It turns out, they hired him for a front office role instead. Regardless of his role, the Jaguars just added a proven winner to their front office. Coughlin posted a .531 winning percentage at both of his coaching stops.
Caldwell could use the help. Since taking over as the general manager, Caldwell's Jaguars have gone 15-49 in four seasons.