As the search for coaches drags on, Jacksonville Jaguars fans are wondering: what exactly is going on? – Jacksonville Jaguars Blog

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — A year ago, the Jacksonville Jaguars had one of the most sought-after head coaching jobs in the NFL. With the guarantee of getting the No. 1 overall pick, which was obviously going to be quarterback Trevor Lawrence, and tons of salary cap space, it would have been hard to find someone who didn’t want the job.

Now the Jaguars can’t find anyone who does.

It’s been 47 days since owner Shad Khan fired coach Urban Meyer and 33 days since the first interview, but the Jaguars are still looking for a coach. They interviewed 10 candidates, including former Las Vegas Raiders interim head coach Rich Bisaccia on Monday, and Doug Pederson would have a second interview on Tuesday, according to an NFL Network report.

The search could also last another two weeks, due to the team’s interest in Los Angeles Rams offensive coordinator Kevin O’Connell. The Jaguars cannot officially speak to him about the job until the day after the Super Bowl (February 13) because they did not speak to him during the week of the divisional playoffs. So, in theory, the Jaguars could go more than 60 days between head coaches.

You have to do your due diligence and take the time to make the best decision possible, and then there’s…everything going on in Jacksonville.

The Jaguars interviewed Pederson on December 30 and over the next 16 days Todd Bowles, Jim Caldwell, Kellen Moore, Byron Leftwich, Darrell Bevell, Bill O’Brien, Nathaniel Hackett and Matt Eberflus. They brought in Eberflus for a second interview on January 20 and Leftwich for a second interview on January 25. Leftwich had become a fan favorite and looked like the favorite to land the job.

Several reports surfaced early last week that Leftwich and the Jaguars were negotiating a deal, and another report later in the week said the Jaguars were close to hiring the vice president of professional scouting from Leftwich and Arizona Cardinals Adrian Wilson to be the team’s general manager.

The problem with the second report: Trent Baalke is the team’s general manager, and until Khan fires Baalke, the Jaguars can’t interview anyone for the job. The NFL’s Rooney Rule also requires teams to interview at least two minority outside candidates for a general manager position. A week later, Baalke is still the Jaguars’ general manager and there are no signs that Khan intends to fire him.

This, according to sources and multiple reports, has been a big hurdle in the search for Jaguars coaches. It was reported that Baalke had some backstage issues during his time with the San Francisco 49ers when working with head coaches Jim Harbaugh, Jim Tomsula and Chip Kelly, and Baalke reportedly doesn’t have a great reputation in the game. league circles. Sources say Hackett and Leftwich – who, along with Eberflus, were runners-up – feared taking the job with Baalke in place, although there were advanced talks with Leftwich.

Once these broke down, however, the Jaguars must have been audible, which precipitated interest in O’Connell and Bisaccia. There are also other viable candidates available for immediate interview, including San Francisco defensive coordinator DeMeco Ryans, Kansas City Chiefs offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy (who interviewed the Jaguars last year) and former coach Miami Dolphins Brian Flores, for example.

O’Connell was with Baalke in San Francisco for one season (2016) when he was in charge of special projects. Bisaccia, the Raiders’ special teams coordinator, took over when Jon Gruden stepped down and helped lead Las Vegas to the playoffs.

O’Connell has plenty of interest from other teams, however. He interviewed the Houston Texans on Monday and is expected to have a second interview with Minnesota this week, so he could be out of action before the Jaguars even have a chance to speak to him officially.

For fans, this is the most frustrating thing about research. It could have ended last week or even sooner if Khan had wiped the slate clean at the end of the season and focused on hiring a general manager and let the general manager hire the head coach or have a meaningful contribution – the way the Bears, Vikings and Giants did.

The Jaguars had a two-week head start in their search for coaches on every team except the Raiders (who hired Josh McDaniels on Monday), but they are still scheduling initial interviews with candidates. Now they’re back to Pederson, who wasn’t one of their three finalists.

Thorough research should not take a lot of time. Chicago interviewed 13 general manager candidates and 10 head coaching candidates in 14 days before choosing general manager Ryan Poles and Eberflus. The Bears signed Poles on Jan. 25 and he moved to Eberflus two days later. The Denver Broncos interviewed 10 head coach candidates in nine days, and three times they interviewed multiple candidates on the same day, before settling on Hackett.

The Jaguars job should again be one of the most desirable for the same reasons as last season, especially with even more salary cap space available. Instead, the search expands into its second month, and fans, players and the rest of the league are wondering: what exactly is going on?

Amanda J. Marsh