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Potential candidates for vacant Jaguars offensive coordinator position

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After mutually parting ways with offensive coordinator John DeFilippo, the Jaguars are in search for their third offensive leader in three years

NFL: AUG 24 Preseason - Saints at Jets Photo by Gregory Fisher/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Yesterday, the Jaguars and offensive coordinator John DeFilippo mutually decided to part ways after just one season. Under DeFilippo the Jaguars offense struggled mightily with veteran quarterback Nick Foles and was far too inconsistent with rookie quarterback Gardner Minshew II at the helm.

DeFilippo was hired in tandem with Foles during the 2019 offseason — a combination which worked well with the Philadelphia Eagles when DeFilippo was the team’s quarterback coach from 2017-2018. The Jaguars regressed heavily in two key departments in 2019: red zone and third-down efficiency.

Jaguars head coach Doug Marrone will be tasked with finding a new offensive coordinator as soon as possible — the third offensive coordinator under Marrone in as many season. With the Jaguars offense entering a sort of limbo heading into 2020, one of the more important aspects of their hire will not only be the fit, but also their experience coaching directly with quarterbacks.

Jaguars quarterback Gardner Minshew II displayed incredible ball placement, and showed high football acumen as the team’s starting quarterback for 12 games in 2019. A very teachable quarterback, Minshew II will need a leader who has had a history at the position or has shown an ability to develop a young quarterback at the highest level of football.

While it remains to be seen whether or not the Jaguars will revolve the offense around the seven-time Pepsi Rookie of the Week award winner, the team will need a coach who believes in the young quarterback enough to design plays with Minshew II in mind.

Five offensive coordinator options:

Joe Lombardi

Currently the quarterbacks coach for the New Orleans Saints, Lombardi has coached under Saints head coach Sean Payton for 11 years collectively (2007-13, 2016-2019) in his current role and an offensive assistant. Two years away from the Saints in 2014-15, Lombardi coordinated the Detroit Lions’ offense before being let go during the 2015 season. Marrone and Lombardi both coached with the Saints from 2007-08 when Marrone was the team’s offensive coordinator.

With years of experience under one of the brightest offensive minds in football in Payton, Lombardi would bring a fast-paced offense to Jacksonville which relies on the quarterback’s ability to get rid of the football quickly and accurately. Minshew II displayed both abilities in his time in Jacksonville this season after posting multiple games with a completion percentage over 60%.

Mike Kafka

Currently the quarterbacks coach for the Kansas City Chiefs, Kafka played 5 years in the NFL before becoming an offensive quality control coach for the Chiefs in 2017 under head coach Andy Reid. After being promoted to quarterbacks coach in 2018, Kafka oversaw the growth of Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes. Mahomes has shown incredible growth over the past two seasons since entering the NFL in 2017 and is thought of as one of the best quarterbacks in the NFL today.

Kafka brings plenty of hands-on experience with the quarterback position and has learned from one of the best offensive minds in football in Reid. Kafka is also rumored to be a potential replacement for current Chiefs’ offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy if and when Bieniemy lands a head coaching job.

Jon Kitna

Kitna is similar to Kafka in that he does not have experience calling plays in the NFL, however after 17 years as a quarterback in the NFL he has been thought of as one of the best up-and-coming coaches in the NFL today.

Most recently, Kitna coached quarterbacks for the Dallas Cowboys where he helped Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott accomplish his most successful season as a quarterback. Prescott threw for 4,902 yards while completing 388 out of 596 (65.1%) of his passes adding 30 touchdowns and 11 interceptions.

The Jaguars are still seeking a quarterbacks coach, and it is possible Kitna could still join the staff in that capacity. Kitna is available to be hired immediately after not being brought back following the ouster of Cowboys head coach Jason Garrett.

Jason Garrett

The Dallas Cowboys long-time head coach, Garrett was let go by the team only two weeks ago after failing to make the playoffs this season with a 7-9 record in the NFC East. Although he was not highly successful in the playoffs, Garrett oversaw a Cowboys team which saw just one losing season (2015) in nine years.

Garret is one of the most seasoned coaches available right now and has the potential to hold the title of assistant head coach given his experience at the position. As a former NFL quarterback, Garrett broke into the NFL as the Miami Dolphins’ quarterbacks coach from 2005-06.

Suggested by 1010XL’s Hays Carlyon, if the Jaguars hire Garrett, there is a chance the team will be making a move for the future with the idea of Garrett taking over as interim head coach during 2020 if Marrone is let go during the season.

Jim Caldwell

Caldwell most recently was appointed as the Miami Dolphins quarterbacks coach before taking a leave of absence shortly before training came this season to address health issues. Reportedly in the running for the vacant offensive coordinator role with the Philadelphia eagles, Caldwell has over 18 years of NFL coaching experience including two stints as a head coach (Lions, Colts), and 10 years of quarterback coaching experience.

One of the most respected offensive coaches in the NFL, Caldwell will bring valuable teaching experience not only as a coordinator but as a teacher for Minshew II and in his development moving forward.

Other potential options: Greg Knapp, Mike LaFleur, James Urban, Todd Monken