One of the most consistent rumors for the recent opening for the Jacksonville Jaguars head coaching position has been mutual interest between the team and former New York Giants and Jaguars head coach Tom Coughlin. Coughlin was fired from the Giants after the 2015 season after three losing seasons, similarly to how his exit the first time in Jacksonville went, though without the salary cap issues. Coughlin interviewed with the Philadelphia Eagles last offseason, but otherwise interest in him as a head coach from other teams has been pretty quiet. A rumor popped up with the Buffalo Bills being interested, but that feels more like an agent doing work than actual interest from a team that’s yet to fire their current head coach.
I’m not going to go over why Coughlin is a worthy candidate, and while he’s not my first choice, there’s no denying he is qualified for the job. One of the issues I hadn’t thought of with Coughlin was mentioned by 1010XL radio host and Jaguars sideline reporter Rick Ballou on Mid-Day Chalk. One of the most important things for a head coach is to be a CEO and let the offensive and defensive coordinators do their thing, but would Coughlin have issues building a staff if he were to come to Jacksonville?
That sounds silly out of the gate, but if you think about it… it is a very valid concern.
Coughlin’s “guys” are all still employed by the New York Giants and it’s not likely many of them will be willing to jump ship, nor would the Giants be willing to let them leave for what would likely be lateral moves. This was one of the issues in why he didn’t get the Eagles job, among other things. He wasn’t able to bring his guys with him.
His offensive coordinator? He’s the Giants head coach. His quarterbacks coach? Now the offensive coordinator. His defensive coordinator, Steve Spagnuolo might be up for another head coaching gig, and it’s unlikely he’d want to make a later move with the tools he has on the Giants defense right now.
There are some former Coughlin assistants that he could look at in positions, though. His defensive coordinator from 2010 to 2014, Perry Fewell, is currently a defensive backs coach for Washington, though he was fired in 2014 despite having the eighth ranked defense in the NFL. Coughlin’s former longtime offensive coordinator, Kevin Gilbride, is retired and he’s continuously rebuffed offers to return to the NFL. He could call on someone like Houston Texans wide receivers coach Sean Ryan, who worked as an assistant with the Giants for a few seasons, but it looks like this could be an issue for Coughlin.
I have no doubt Coughlin could assemble a good staff and it’s true anyone they hire will have to go through this, but with Coughlin especially it’s just interesting since “his guys” are all still employed by the team he used to coach, in the same positions he’d be looking for.