A person familiar with the search says the Jacksonville Jaguars have hired Doug Marrone as head coach and brought back Tom Coughlin in an executive role.
The person spoke on condition of anonymity because the team has not announced the hiring. ESPN first reported Marrone had been chosen to replace Gus Bradley, who was fired in late November after going 14-48 in three-plus seasons.
The Jaguars (3-13) also gave general manager Dave Caldwell a two-year contract extension, the person said.
Coughlin, who was Jacksonville’s first coach and won two Super Bowls in 12 seasons with the New York Giants, will serve as executive vice president of football operations.
Marrone, who also interviewed with Los Angeles and San Francisco, served as Jacksonville’s interim coach for the final two games. The Jaguars won one and blew a late lead in the season finale at Indianapolis. Players seemed to rally around him, but after the loss to the Colts, rookie cornerback Jalen Ramsey said a ”complete flip will serve us good.”
Marrone and Coughlin surely will bring a different vibe, a much more old-school approach.
Marrone likely will keep offensive coordinator Nate Hackett, providing some stability for inconsistent quarterback Blake Bortles. The former first-round draft pick has had three play-callers in three seasons.
The Jaguars (3-13) also interviewed Atlanta offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan, Tampa Bay defensive coordinator Mike Smith, New England offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels and Arizona offensive coordinator Harold Goodwin for the job.
Players said Caldwell told them the next coach would bring a winning mentality. Bradley came under fire for failing to evolve his always-positive message that placed little emphasis on winning games.
Marrone has been Jacksonville’s assistant head coach/offensive line coach since January 2015. He joined the team after two seasons as Buffalo’s head coach. He guided the Bills to a 15-17 record before opting out of his contract because of uncertainty over potential organizational changes.
The Bills went 9-7 in Marrone’s second season in 2014, the franchise’s only winning record since 2004.
Bradley hired Marrone in 2015 to replace offensive line coach George Yarno, who left the team after being diagnosed with cancer. Marrone interviewed with five teams that had head-coaching vacancies after the 2015 season, but was not offered a job.
Marrone also has been a head coach on the collegiate level, going 25-25 at Syracuse from 2009 to 2012.
The 70-year-old Coughlin was Jacksonville’s first head coach, leading the Jaguars to a 68-60 record in eight seasons (1995-2002). Coughlin resigned last January after a dozen years with the Giants, but made it clear he wanted to return to the NFL. He served as a senior adviser to the league’s football operations department this season.
”He’s got so much experience on myself or on any coach that we have in this building and he’s a great individual, so I think you can always learn from people,” Caldwell said after Bradley was fired. ”There’s always a place for knowledge.”
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