While the Jacksonville Jaguars are deciding on how to approach the quarterback position this offseason, we will get to see the battle of the “win now” mentality pitted against long term planning. That dichotomy between the different philosophies is going to play out based on how Jaguars head coach Doug Marrone and general manager David Caldwell answered questions about the direction of the team at the position.
At the end of last season, Jaguars owner Shad Khan issued a statement that most people labeled as a win-now ultimatum, but I’m still not sure that’s what Khan actually meant by it. I took it more as an ultimatum to be competitive, not be an embarrassment offensively and not be eliminated from the playoffs by the end of October. Like I said though, that’s how I personally took it. How the organization took and/or meant it could be entirely different.
The main point is though, you will often hear about how certain people in an organization have a mentality to win now. They’re concerned with the upcoming season, not four years down the road. You also have some who are concerned more-so about the long term than right now. They’re building out a franchise, not just a season.
For instance, look at how Doug Marrone answers a question about being under pressure to win now.
“When aren’t we under a lot of pressure to win? You look at the way the league is now, and I can’t speak for anyone else, but I look at it as the same every day. There are 32 of these jobs. You can never take it for granted. Every day for me, I am trying to come in and earn that job, whether it is now, tomorrow, because at any given time, if you don’t do a good job someone can say, ‘Hey, listen, we are moving on and bring someone else in.’,” Marrone said when asked about the pressure to win coupled with the uncertainty at the quarterback position.
“I think that when decisions are made I think that is why the management structure is set up the way it is. I think for coaches we understand that,” Marrone continued. “We may put forth decisions to win now and do some things differently that may hurt the organization for the long period of time where I think you have a general manager and we have a executive vice president [of football operations] that they keep the owners best interest for the long term of the organization involved. I think that is a battle and the reality of it. I tend to make sure I am a team player and I really make decisions that I think are best for the team.”
More or less, Marrone is saying he’d ideally prefer to have an experienced proven player but he knows that those decisions are above him and he can only work with what he’s given and understands sometimes it’s about more than just the right now.
I’ve seen some people try to parse how Marrone answered this to say he’s lobbying for a veteran or he’s already been told they’re going young, but I think that’s getting a little ahead of it. Marrone has always been pretty straight forward, so I think this it just him answering earnestly what he’d like in an ideal situation.
It’s a pragmatic answer.
It makes sense that a coach would prefer the “win now” type of route, because that’s how their job is judged. What are they doing with what they have currently. They’re not concerned about three years down the road, because they might not be here.
On the flip side of that, someone like Dave Caldwell and Tom Coughlin have to consider the long term because the chances are they out last the coach. Not necessarily that these two will outlast Marrone, but typically a front office guy is going to last a bit longer than a head coach. They have to not only consider what is the best course of action for the 2019 season, but also looking ahead to 2020 and 2021.
We don’t often get to see that battle play itself out, because none of these people are what I would call “safe” in their current roles.