What a difference 72 hours makes.
Three days after ESPN reported that the Jaguars had informed coach Doug Marrone that he will be fired after Sunday’s regular-season finale against the Colts, the Jaguars have announced that Marrone will return for 2020.
The Jaguars also have announced that G.M. Dave Caldwell will return for another year.
The ESPN report was met with immediate resistance. PFT reported, citing multiple sources, that Marrone had been told no such thing. A spokesman for Jaguars owner Shad Khan promptly refuted the report as well, implying that even if a firing were to happen it wouldn’t happen until later in the week.
By Sunday, ESPN had softened the report, claiming only that Marrone would be fired after the game and not that he’d already been informed of his fate. That remained incorrect. As explained on NBC’s Football Night in America, the confusion likely arose from the fact that Marrone initially had been led to believe that he’s safe, and that he later was led to believe that his status was in question.
The Jaguars also have announced that the job previously held by Tom Coughlin — V.P. of football operations — will not be filled in 2020.
“We came out of our AFC Championship Game season of 2017 by making a four-year commitment to the collective leadership of our football operations,” Jaguars owner Shad Khan said. “Only two seasons have passed and one change from that leadership team has already been made. I want to see what we produce under a new organizational structure in 2020. Goals have been established. Accountability will be paramount.”
Although it’s clear that Marrone and Caldwell won’t enjoy an unlimited commitment, the fact that they’ve gotten another year gives them a chance to show what they can do without Coughlin’s strong tendency to micromanage. It also gives quarterback Gardner Minshew a chance to develop without a new regime that may not regard him the same way the regime that discovered and developed him does.