Jaguars looking for new coach

By John Reid
The Florida Times-Union/TNS

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - To find his replacement for Doug Marrone, Jaguars owner Shad Khan is not going to hire outside consultants or advisors to help him as he did before hiring Gus Bradley in 2013 after firing Mike Mularkey after one season.

Khan says he's gone through his rite of passage as a new owner and now has a better sense of knowing exactly the type of coach he needs to turnaround his struggling franchise.

He wants a proven leader that has the ability to hire talented assistants.

Khan plans to lead the coaching search, and team president Mark Lamping will be involved in the hiring process. The Jaguars search is expected to be extensive, with no set timetable for making a hire.

Khan said potential candidates could include former head coaches, top assistants, and current and former college coaches. After having just fired Marrone Monday morning, Khan said there is no leading candidate, even though former Florida and Ohio State coach Urban Meyer was rumored to be a frontrunner.

Khan said he has known Meyer over the years through the Big Ten, but has not spoken to him or anyone about the job.

The Jaguars will be required to adhere to the NFL's Rooney Rule, requiring that teams interview minority candidates during every head-coaching search.

Khan stressed that diversity is important for many different reasons, but he wants to hire the best person for the job, but they intend to look far and wide at potential candidates.

"I think it’s a consideration to really get the best person and then how do we move the needle on diversity?" Khan said. "There are many, many different ways of doing that. It could be assistants. It could be other things that we can do to really [have diversity]. Diversity is a major significant issue I think for the NFL, but [if] you hire not the best person just because of color, you’re not helping the franchise or the diversity."

Here are some potential replacements for Marrone as the Jaguars begin their search for a new head coach:

Brian Daboll, Buffalo Bills offensive coordinator

With the Jaguars having the No. 1 overall pick and expected to draft Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence, Daboll could emerge as a strong candidate for the Jaguars' job because of his work with Bills quarterback Josh Allen, who has excelled after just his third season. Behind Allen, the Bills were one of the top explosive offenses this season, averaging almost 400 yards a game. At 13-3, the Bills are the No. 2 seed in the AFC playoffs. Daboll worked under Nick Saban as Alabama's co-offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach in 2017 before taking the Bills job. Before joining Saban's staff, Daboll was the New England Patriots tight ends coach from 2014-16.

Urban Meyer, former Florida and Ohio State head coach

No one expected Khan to come out and say after firing Marrone Monday that Meyer is their top candidate. The Jaguars are required to conduct an interview process that must include minority candidates because of the Rooney Rule. It's obvious someone close to to Meyer leaked that the Jaguars have shown interest. The NFL Network's Ian Rapoport reported this past Saturday that Meyer has been lining up a staff and telling people he's close to in the football community that he expects to land in Jacksonville, per sources. Khan said he has not spoken to Meyer but that means directly. In most coaching searches, teams put out feelers to speak to a candidate's agent to draw input on their interest. Meyer won national championships at both Florida and Ohio State and he would likely want input on personal decisions with the Jaguars. But the question is how much does Meyer really want to get back into coaching? Only Meyer knows the answer and the Jaguars are probably waiting on his answer.

Eric Bieniemy, Kansas City Chiefs offensive coordinator

Bieniemy is a highly sought after head coach candidate who is in his third season as the Chiefs offensive coordinator. He has been groomed by head coach Andy Reid and the Chiefs' high-powered offense led by quarterback Patrick Mahomes carried them to a Super Bowl title last season and they could repeat next month. Bieniemy, 51, has waited patiently for his shot to become a head coach after coming up the ranks in both college and the NFL as an assistant. He was set to interview with the Atlanta Falcons and Detroit Lions on Monday, and the Jets have reportedly requested an interview.

Jim Caldwell, former Detroit Lions/Indianapolis Colts head coach

Caldwell was the Detroit Lions' head coach from 2014 to 2017 and led the team to two playoff appearances in four seasons. He also led the Colts to a Super Bowl appearance in 2009, but they lost to the Saints. He had two winning seasons in three years with the Colts but was fired after going 2-14 in 2011 when Peyton Manning missed the entire season after undergoing neck surgery. Caldwell interviewed for the Texans job last month.

Greg Roman, Ravens offensive coordinator

Experienced at coaching mobile quarterbacks with Ravens coach Lamar Jackson, who was the league's MVP in 2019. Roman previously served as offensive coordinator with the San Francisco 49ers (2011-14) and the Buffalo Bills (2015-16). Though Lawrence is a pocket passing quarterback, he's also been an effective runner.

Arthur Smith, Tennessee Titans offensive coordinator

Smith is in his second season as the Titans' offensive coordinator. He helped quarterback Ryan Tannehill emerge as a play-action passer and Yulee native Derrick Henry continues to be a dominant runner who led the NFL in rushing with 2027 yards. He has been an assistant with the Titans since 2011, including serving as their defensive quality control coach in 2011.

Former Ohio State head coach Urban Meyer looks on during the College Football Playoff Semifinal between the Buckeyes and Clemson at the PlayStation Fiesta Bowl at State Farm Stadium in Glendale, Ariz., on Dec. 28, 2019.