The Jacksonville Jaguars offseason is already off to a very fast start.
The team has scheduled three interviews for this week just this morning: Buccaneers defensive coordinator Mike Smith, Falcons offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan, and Cardinals offensive coordinator Harold Goodwin. The team has also reached out to Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels.
The latter two coaches that I named are thought provoking, not only for their résumé, but for their connection to current Jaguars quarterback Blake Bortles.
Both head coaching candidates are linked to Bortles. Around the 2014 NFL Draft, both the Cardinals and the Patriots were interested in drafting Bortles. Considering Bortles, being a QB, is an offensive player, both Goodwin and McDaniels were most likely a part of his evaluation process.
I’ll start with Goodwin. Goodwin became the Cardinals offensive coordinator in 2013, a year before Bortles was drafted. Goodwin inherited Carson Palmer when he became OC, and saw him throw for 24 TDs and 22 INTs during the 2013 season. Palmer wasn’t any getting younger either, as he was 34 during the 2013 season. Many people believed it was time for the Cardinals to find a QB of the future.
The Cardinals didn’t end up taking a QB, but general manager Steve Keim said this on SiriusXM NFL Radio the day after the first round of the 2014 NFL Draft:
“We liked Blake Bortles a lot. We thought, when you looked at his size, his athleticism, his ability to improvise. He doesn’t have quite the arm strength that Ben Roethlisberger had but he has some of the same skill set.”
The Jaguars selected Bortles with the third overall pick in that draft, so the Cardinals didn’t have much of chance of drafting him, as they sat at #20.
Next, I’ll discuss Josh McDaniels.
McDaniels has been the Patriots offensive coordinator since 2012, so he was around when the Patriots expressed interest in Bortles.
And boy, did they express some interest:
#Patriots, via Willie McGinest, have taken QB Jimmy Garoppolo from Eastern Illinois. They would have taken Blake Bortles if he fell to them— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) May 10, 2014
It's interesting, b/c in addition to Manziel, the Patriots visited with Blake Bortles while checking out UCF prospects in Orlando last week.— Albert Breer (@AlbertBreer) April 1, 2014
Ian Rapoport’s report states that, if Bortles had fallen to the Patriots, who held 29th pick, he would have been their selection. The report makes sense, as the Patriots ended up selecting a QB in the 2nd round: Jimmy Garoppolo.
So, what does this all mean?
Well, keep in mind that in Dave Caldwell’s press conference after the firing of Gus Bradley, Caldwell stated “There won’t be any mandates” for the next head coach to start Blake Bortles. Caldwell said that he “Believes in Blake”, but then stated “I encourage a different kind of perspective, the right perspective” on how to handle Bortles.
However, those comments may not end up meaning anything. Considering Goodwin and McDaniels have heavy connections to Bortles, they likely wouldn’t have to be mandated into starting Bortles if they got the head coaching job — They already like him.
So, take all of this as you will, but just be sure to keep Harold Goodwin’s and Josh McDaniel’s connection to Blake Bortles in mind while they go through the interview process with the Jaguars.