The Jacksonville Jaguars are starting their coach search earlier than usual.
This time around, owner Shad Khan doesn’t already have his guy lined up.
The Jaguars (2-13) will start fielding and interviewing candidates this week – the NFL now allows teams to start the process in the final two weeks of the regular season – and Khan is expected to cast a wide net at the looking for its fifth head coach in the past decade.
Khan had preliminary talks with (and essentially targeted) Urban Meyer a year before sacking Doug Marrone after the 2020 season. Khan never imagined that Meyer, one of college football’s most successful coaches, would be such a winner. NFL debacle.
Khan fired Meyer on December 16, ending one of the most turbulent and toxic coaching terms in league history, and clearly must demolish and completely rebuild a dismal franchise that has suffered losses at two digits nine times in 10 years.
Jacksonville has lost 34 of its last 39 games, including a 26-21 against the New York Jets on Sunday.
“I had a lot of failures; they weren’t on the sports page, ”Khan said earlier this month. “You get up, like football, you dust yourself off and start over.”
The next step should include someone with coaching experience in the NFL. Former Philadelphia coach Doug Pederson, former Indianapolis and Detroit coach Jim Caldwell, former Minnesota coach and current Buffalo defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier should be considered.
Tampa Bay offensive coordinator Byron Leftwich, Green Bay offensive coordinator Nate Hackett, Kansas City offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy and former Atlanta coach and current Dallas defensive coordinator Dan Quinn could also be in the mix.
NFL teams that have fired their head coach can now interview potential substitutes in the final two weeks of the regular season, with the consent of the candidate’s employer. The proposal was adopted at the end of October.
Khan is expected to request talks with the coaches currently employed on Tuesday.
Matt Wright has managed his six field goal attempts in the last two games. He connected three times to the Jets, including twice over 40 meters, to give the Jaguars a chance down the stretch. He’s made 16 of 19 this season, nine in a row.
Although he doesn’t have enough leg to consistently reach the end zone on kickoffs – he only has two touchdowns out of 21 kickoffs – his accuracy should make him an option to stay somewhere. heads to the NFL, maybe even Jacksonville, next season.
WHAT NEEDS HELP
Jacksonville’s run defense was mostly non-existent in New Jersey, in part because it was without linebacker Myles Jack (COVID-19) and safety Rayshawn Jenkins (ankle). The Jets ran 36 times for 273 yards, averaging 7.6 yards per carry. The low point for the Jags was when rookie QB Zach Wilson broke away for a 52-yard touchdown in the first quarter.
Tavon Austin begins to act in various ways. Austin, a first-round pick in the 2013 St. Louis draft, caught six passes for 68 yards against the Jets and ran three times for 21 more. All were season highs for a 31-year-old wide receiver who plays for his third team in as many years.
Austin is fortunate enough to help the Jags cope with season-ending injuries to wide receiver Jamal Agnew (hip) and now running back James Robinson (torn Achilles tendon).
Dare Ogunbowale replaced Robinson early and ran 17 times for 57 yards, averaging 3.4 yards per carry against a Jets defense that was playing without five starters. Ogunbowale also dropped a pass. No one would be surprised to see new running back Ryquell Armstead touch down on goal in the last two games.
Robinson is heading to the injured reserve and will undergo surgery which is expected to affect his availability to start next season. … Bettor Logan Cooke injured his right knee and will miss at least one game, possibly the last two.
8 – number of casualties suffered by the Jags in New England. They never won.
Find the right coach who can help Jacksonville end his losses.
More AP NFL coverage: https://apnews.com/hub/nfl and https://twitter.com/AP_NFL