No, Jack Del Rio is not joining the legions of Big Cat Country faithful with lumberjack beards, but the coaching situation could take a turn for the... let's say difficult. One of the reasons Wayne Weaver decided to keep Jack Del Rio on was because he didn't want to "start over" so to speak. "I think it would be a knee-jerk is the best way to put it, if I decided to start over with a new coach and a new staff. One of the players I have great respect for today, and I didn't solicit this, he said to me, ‘Mr. Weaver I hope that we're not planning to start over because this team is this close to becoming a real good football team.' And he said starting would set this team back," Weaver said in his post-season press conference.
Well, Jaguars offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter interviewed yesterday for the Denver Broncos head coaching vacancy. I've also heard some murmurs other teams were interested in Koetter, professional football and college. Not only is Koetter getting looks, but according to Jason La Canfora of NFL Network, Jaguars new defensive coordinator Mel Tucker is a hot name in coaching circles and has garnered interest for the open defensive coordinator positions in San Diego and Dallas, both of which run a 3-4 defense.
Wayne Weaver noted that all of the assistant coaches contracts were not rolled over, as they typically are year to year. This means all the coaches are coaching on one-year contracts, which they don't often like to do. "Our guys understand that but in terms of wanting them to do what's best for themselves and their family, absolutely. They have to do that. I will always support that but we have a good staff and they believe in what we're doing and I think you'll see that our staff will remain intact," Jack Del Rio said about allowing his coaches to seek other employment opportunities.
Here's where it gets fun: The Jaguars could potentially lose their offensive and defensive coordinator, and with that could also lose some of the guys of their position staff. Wayne Weaver said he didn't want to blow the whole thing up, but by not rolling over the contracts of the assistant coaches his hand could be forced. If Koetter and Tucker both leave, you'll be hard pressed to find guys willing to work on a one-year coordinator position, especially in the looming potential lock out. That was another plus on Del Rio's side in keeping his job, with a potential lock out it offers potentially less time for a new coaching staff to implement their system on the field. Well, the Jaguars might be in that situation anyways.
Now, I'm not saying to double back and fire Jack Del Rio. I'm saying Wayne Weaver might have inadvertently hamstrung his head coach. It's going to become a real no-win situation if both coordinators leave. Unless Weaver wants to bump their contracts, which is pretty evident he doesn't, I'm not sure if they'll stay. I haven't heard one way or the other about Koetter's chances in Denver, but I know he's a well respected offensive mind in NFL circles.
So, Weaver didn't want to blow up the coaching staff and start over... but by doing so he might have sabotaged it from the start. I already felt like Jack Del Rio was a lame duck coach heading into 2011, but it might be entered John Fox in Carolina territory quickly if both coordinators bolt.