There is a growing perception around the NFL that Jaguars team president Tom Coughlin could end up coaching the team in 2019 as part of a more sweeping transition, with the Jags among the league's biggest disappointments this season. Thursday's humiliating defeat at Tennessee was just the latest embarrassing display that has called the Jaguars' precarious future into doubt.
Coughlin nearly took the Jaguars to a Super Bowl as an expansion team and has a likely Hall of Fame coaching resume already in place from his time with the Giants, including two Super Bowl wins, but friends and associates have long believed that the ultra-competitive leader may have a hard time not wanting to take over the team since before he arrived in 2016, and the collapse of the Jaguars this season has only intensified that feeling among them.
Jacksonville has been marred by fights, suspensions and lack of discipline since before the season began; if nothing else, Coughlin is a noted disciplinarian who has been appalled by some of what he has seen this season, I'm told. Doug Marrone has been unable to get the team to perform close to its standard from last season, and the penalties, issues with the media, outlandish statements, lashing out at teammates and opponents and failure to put forth the expected effort has the franchise in a crisis.
Coughlin, who spent one year in the NFL office quasi-retired before reemerging in Jacksonville, does not lack the vigor or spirit to go back to the sidelines, according to those who know him well, though it would obviously be a significant lifestyle change at age 72. The Jaguars are well over the cap for 2019, need to find a quarterback and skill players through the offensive roster and now suddenly face the prospect at looking up at three teams in the division that all have a long-term quarterback in place.
All of that ultimately might be enough to convince Coughlin not to take on the chore at this point, but he will at least consider it. Coughlin has long been a champion of Giants vice president of football operations Kevin Abrams, who sources said he would strongly consider in any front office shake-up. At 4-9, the Jaguars have assured they will finish with a losing record for the seventh time in the last eight years; only 2016 (10-6) was the exception.