Seemingly lost in all the hype surrounding the Jacksonville Jaguars and their wild playoff run this year is a simple question:
Who deserves the credit for the stunning turnaround?
This was a 3-13 team last year and is now a virtual lock to make the playoffs this year.
Is it Doug Marrone, the former Buffalo Bills coach who has his fingerprints all over the team’s offensive and defensive game plans— and is the most direct link to the players?
Is it Dave Caldwell, the oft-criticized general manager who is responsible for most of the team’s key foundational players?
Is it Tom Coughlin, the Executive Vice President of Football Operations, who set the tone for the franchise by SETTING THE CLOCKS BACK 5 MINUTES!!??
We’re going to make a case for each one of them. Let us know who you think deserves the most Credit, or if there’s someone we left out.
Doug Marrone is the face of the franchise as the head coach. He is the bridge between the front office and the players. He directly interacts with the players and the assistant coaches more than anyone on this list.
He’s knocked his assistant coaching hires out of the park. Marion Hobby is perhaps the best assistant coach we never talk about. Kudos to Wash for scheming a defense that caters to the player’s strengths. Hackett is doing everything he can to minimize how much is on Blake Bortles’ shoulders.
He put the focus back on winning.
He put this team through a hard ass training camp. He made sure this team was in much better shape. He mixed up the locker assignments. Hell, he actually made this team feel like, well, a team.
Apart from the disaster that was the Cardinals game, he has been flawless in his game management. No more unnecessary timeouts and stupid penalties.
Consider this — last week was the first delay of game penalty against the Jaguars all year.
The Jaguars are a well-coached team again, thanks to a head coach almost no one wanted during the offseason.
This is probably the most intruiging option. How much credit can we actually give Caldwell?
There’s not a single player on the roster from the 2013 NFL Draft class. Blake Bortles is currently the starting quarterback on our team. Gus Bradley was our coach for the past four years.
Caldwell is the one responsible for many of the key foundational pieces that are making winning plays this year. Pushing the button on Jalen Ramsey, Myles Jack, and Yannick Ngakoue in three consecutive rounds was probably his signature moment as a general manager, quite frankly.
We don’t know how much of a hand Coughlin had in bringing in A.J. Bouye, Calais Campbell, and the rest of the free agent class or draft class, but all indications are that Dave did a lot of the scouting homework on them prior to the new league year. That shouldn’t be taken for granted.
HE SET THE CLOCKS BACK 5 MINUTES, MAN.
And infused the team with a hard-nosed, disciplined approach that the players consistently mention as one of the primary reasons for their success. He has placed an added emphasis on winning, alluding to the luster Jacksonville had during the 1990s.
He was the brains behind drafting Leonard Fournette.
He works on things Caldwell never focused on, like the overall identity of the roster and the culture of the franchise. A key example of this is when Coughlin went out and signed a couple of well-known special teams players early in free agency, signaling a focus on an area Caldwell previously neglected.
Although those signings largely failed, it still demonstrated Coughlin’s balanced approached to this roster, and it’s something we should expect moving forward.
It also appears that Coughlin has recognized that the Jaguars are in win-now mode. No where is this more apparent than when the Jaguars traded for Marcell Dareus in exchange for a conditional draft pick. (I just wonder why they don’t take that approach with the quarterback position, but that’s a discussion for another day.)
After the Dareus trade, the 55.3 yards per game allowed is the fewest in the NFL and the 2.6 yards per carry is fourth fewest.
All three deserve some form of credit — you can’t have success in one place without another person doing their job.
But what do you think? Who should get the most credit for the Jaguars’ success this year out of Doug Marrone, Dave Caldwell, and Tom Coughlin? Let us know in the below poll and comments!