During Sunday’s CBS broadcast of the Texans-Jaguars game, it was disclosed that Jaguars quarterback Trevor Lawrences hopes to have input in the hiring of a new coach — and that owner Shad Khan has said that Lawrence will indeed have such input.
During his midweek press conference, Lawrence was asked to explain what he’s looking for in a new coach. Lawrence decided not to get into it.
“I mean, honestly, I really don’t want to get into all of that right now,” Lawrence said. “Really, I’m just focused on finishing this season strong, like I’ve said the last couple weeks. Building some momentum with the guys here, with the people that we have in place. And just going and being out best every week. And we’ll see where that puts us at the end of the year. And obviously it’s a big offseason so, you know, there’s a lot of questions to be answered. But right now I just want to focus on being my best and helping this team be our best.”
Reasonable minds will differ on whether and to what extent the quarterback should have input on the selection of a coach. When the Packers hired Matt LaFleur, Aaron Rodgers had no input. And it has worked out so far (in large part due to Rodgers’s presence, of course). That said, teams expect franchise quarterbacks to be much more than players. The franchise quarterbacks show up early, stay late, watch film, set the example, communicate messages from the coaching staff to the locker room. When they are expected to be more than players, it doesn’t feel right to treat them like less than management.
Regardless of whether Lawrence has direct input in the decision, the eventual relationship between Lawrence and the next head coach will be critical both to the player’s development and to the fortunes of the team. The Jaguars should want coach and quarterback to have the right chemistry. That should be the goal, the balance to strike, making sure coach and quarterback will become a good partnership without giving quarterback direct or indirect influence over the move.
However the move is made, the consequences of the next decision to reverberate for years. Given the chronic inability of owner Shad Khan to make a hire that works, it’s critical that he finally get it right.