The Jacksonville Jaguars shook up their front office a bit with the hiring of former Jaguars and New York Giants head coach Tom Coughlin as the vice president of football operations. Coughlin was given a role above general manager Dave Caldwell and head coach Doug Marrone, where he is essentially running the team. Both Marrone and Caldwell report to Coughlin and Coughlin has the final say on the Jaguars roster.
Coughlin has been in charge of a roster previously, as when he was the Jaguars head coach he effectively was also the general manager. There will still be an adjustment for him to make, however. Still, the idea for Coughlin's role, which many thought would be as a head coach, was
"This [being the EVP of football ops] is sort of something that I thought would be a good concept for me," Coughlin told Adam Schefter on his podcast Know Them From Adam. "And the way I explained it to the owner, Mr. Khan, I said, 'Hey, I can help the owner. I can help personnel. I can help the coaches. I can help in a lot of ways, a lot of different ways, because of the things that I've done and seen over the course of my career.'"
The biggest thing to look for with Coughlin in his new role, is going to be how he handles not being the coach. Coughlin has been employed as a football coach in some capacity from about 1969 through 2015. How is he going to handle being on the sideline in practice this summer when... he's not in charge? Sure, he's in charge, but he's not the head coach. That's going to be something he will need to come to terms with in his new role and something he's aware is going to be difficult.
"I'm going to have to stifle myself on occasion, no doubt, so I don't say something stupid," Coughlin told Schefter.
Having someone with the wealth of knowledge that Coughlin has around for Marrone to lean on is important, but it's also important that the knowledge is given when necessary, and not forcefully. What I mean by that is that Coughlin is going to have to toe the line of when to interject on coaching matters and when to hold back. A lot of the talk this offseason has been about Coughlin and it's almost like Marrone doesn't exist.
In a way, it's probably nice for Marrone that he's flying under the radar, but make no mistake; Marrone is the head coach, not Tom Coughlin. Coughlin needs to be available to help Marrone if he needs it and to interject when he needs to interject on an issue, but there has to be a balance and he can't over step. There is a clear hierarchy in place and it needs to be followed, because if the executive is constantly undercutting the head coach's authority that can have a damaging ripple effect through a team. Marrone needs to be the authority, at least visually, to the team.
Tom Coughlin can be a big help as the VP of football operations, but it's a double edge sword. He can't swing it wildly.