Atlanta Falcons offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan and New England Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels are both set to interview with the Jacksonville Jaguars this week for their vacant head coaching position, and Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports seems to think those are the leaders in the clubhouse for the Jaguars head coaching position. Both make a ton of sense for the Jaguars going forward, given how much of a drop off on the offensive side of the ball there was in 2016.
Here is what La Canfora had to say when he placed who he thought were the leaders for each job opening.
The franchise took Bortles third overall in 2014, and he took massive steps backward in 2016. They want this to work and finding a guy who they believe can make it work will be paramount. The GM who drafted Bortles is still on staff leading the search. Kyle Shanahan is going to check every box when they talk to him this weekend. So will Josh McDaniels.
I know the headhunter involved in the search, Jed Hughes, is a big Shanahan guy. He'd mesh well with the heavy analytics bent in the building. Don't discount interim coach Doug Marrone if Shanahan and McDaniels and the other hottest candidates go elsewhere. As for Tom Coughlin, coming back at age 70 is less than ideal for a rebuilding team and if that was a slam dunk or anything close to it, it probably already would have happened. As much as he yearns to coach, Coughlin may be best cast as a football czar type at this stage.
The emphasis in the above quote is mine, which is something I find really interesting. The Jaguars hired Korn-Ferry to assist with the search for a reason, so if Shanahan is indeed the leader in the clubhouse or their No. 1 target so to speak, it makes a ton of sense. There will be some that worry that Shanahan doesn’t have head coaching experience, and while that is a concern, that’s something I less concerned with with Shanahan specifically. He’s been around the NFL coaching scene and immersed in it for a long, long time, given his father’s success as a head coach. He knows what it takes and he’s seen it first-hand both professionally and personally.
The other interesting parts of La Canfora’s comments were on interim head coach Doug Marrone, as what sounds like a fall back option. I don’t think that’s necessarily a bad plan, but it would probably be the worst possible outcome. That’s not a shot at Marrone either, but he has the stigma of coming from the staff that was part of the worst run in Jaguars history and that’s a lot of stink to rinse off. The Jaguars could certainly do a lot worse than Marrone, who has generated interest from other teams, however.
Personally, I think the Jaguars end up with either Shanahan or Mike Smith, but I don’t really have juice on that more than me just piecing things together and my logical interpretation.