With today came news that came as a shock to no one. After 139 games over nine seasons with the Jaguars, Jack Del Rio's time as head coach came to an end this morning. His 68-71 career record with the Jaguars represents the most games any NFL head coach has ever coached in a single tenure that finished with a losing record. Coaches just don't make it 139 games with a losing record and it's noteworthy that Del Rio held the job as long as he did.
Was it all Del Rio's fault that the Jaguars struggled to break into a playoff caliber team? Absolutely not. It's easy to argue that there was never a quarterback on the Jaguars during the Del Rio era that was capable of winning a Super Bowl. Ultimately, though, the Jaguars made the move that had to be made to provide the team the fresh start they were slowly becoming desperate for.The impact of a coach on a team is very difficult to talk about because it's an impossible thing to quantify. Would the team have done better over the last nine seasons with a different coach? Many would like to think so, but it's impossible to know and because of that it's impossible to truly say without doubt that Del Rio was bad at his job.
My opinion is that Jack Del Rio is a very good coach, if his role is limited to that. As a scout and executive, he failed during his time with the Jaguars and was effectively fired from those roles following the 2008 season when Gene Smith was hired to be the general manager of the team.
As a manager and/or director of the Jaguars, Del Rio also failed. Where I felt he always got the most out of his players, he struggled to work cohesively with assistants and positional coaches and struggled with decisions that a team's commander in chief must make. His horrific career challenge success rate are only one of severals indicators of that.
But as a coach of players, I feel that Del Rio is good at his job and will find success elsewhere, but not as an NFL head coach. Never during Del Rio's tenure did I feel that the Jaguars underacheived as a football team or gave up as a team.
As a linebackers coach in Baltimore, Del Rio found success and as a defensive coordinator in Carolina he found success. Even during his time in Jacksonville, the Jaguars linebackers were always a strength of the team. Did he succeed with each of this teams due to the personnel that already existed or was added, or did he help foster growth and teach these players to become better? It's impossible to know.
When he became the manager of not just players, but assistant coaches and coordinators too, he struggled to adapt and never succeeded in that regard. I've always had respect for Jack Del Rio as a person and still to this day believe that he is good at coaching players to their fullest. However, it was a move that had to be made and opens a door of exciting possibilities for the Jaguars and their fans.