The Jacksonville Jaguars are finally looking for a new head coach following the ugly and controversial midseason departure of Urban Meyer. Meyer's 10-month reign of terror was thankfully short-lived but managed to create a staggering amount of toxicity within the organization. Star players and assistant coaches were consistently alienated and treated unfairly. It goes without saying that owner Shahid Khan must course-correct the franchise by hiring an excellent coach to usher them forward. Interim head coach Darrell Bevell received an interview to retain the job but is hardly viewed as a likely candidate. Jacksonville's next head coach must be a strong leader that can quickly leave the Meyer stink in the rearview mirror. It qualifies as an extremely important hire given that franchise quarterback Trevor Lawrence is heading into a crucial sophomore season. Lawrence didn't exactly set the league on fire in year one despite being viewed as a can't-miss prospect ahead of the 2021 NFL Draft. BetOnline recently updated their odds while ranking the candidates. They are as follows:
- Byron Leftwich, Buccaneers offensive coordinator (+190)
- Bill O’Brien, Alabama Crimson Tide offensive coordinator (+250)
- Doug Pederson, former Eagles head coach (+450)
- Jim Caldwell, former Lions and Colts head coach (+600)
- Darrell Bevell, Jaguars interim head coach (+900)
- Kellen Moore, Cowboys offensive coordinator (10/1)
- Eric Bienemy, Chiefs offensive coordinator (10/1)
- Nathaniel Hackett, Packers offensive coordinator (10/1)
- Brian Daboll, Bills offensive coordinator (12/1)
THE FAVORITE AND MY PICK: BYRON LEFTWICHA former Jaguars quarterback and current offensive coordinator in Tampa Bay, the 41-year-old Byron Leftwich would represent the ideal hire for all parties involved. Leftwich has made a flawless transition from playing to coaching under the wing of Buccaneers head coach Bruce Arians. Leftwich's brilliant offensive mind has quickly captured the trust of Tom Brady, which is an extremely difficult task to achieve. Leftwich's stint as a play-caller in Tampa Bay has been nothing short of superb. The former seventh-overall selection in the 2003 NFL Draft now has a chance to win his second consecutive Super Bowl with the Buccaneers. Leftwich has been primed and prepared for an opportunity of this magnitude. His magnificent work over the past three seasons has earned him the right to lead a franchise forward. Lawrence's development as a quarterback directly ties itself to the next head coach in Duval. Leftwich has proven himself beyond adequate as an offensive-minded coach that has a special touch with quarterbacks. Khan must win the fan base back and Leftwich remains a popular figure in Jacksonville.
THE NO. 1 CONTENDER: BILL O’BRIENBill O'Brien the head coach and Bill O'Brien the general manager lead to two very different conversations. O'Brien is often remembered for making several questionable decisions when he became the Houston Texans' general manager ahead of the 2020 campaign, including the puzzling trade of DeAndre Hopkins where the Texans failed to receive adequate compensation in return for Hopkins' elite services. O'Brien is rightfully ridiculed for how his tenure as the Texans' do-it-all man ended, but it's unfortunately easy to forget how successful O'Brien was as a head coach before he gained full control of Houston's roster. O'Brien won four division titles in six attempts as Houston's head honcho while claiming two postseason victories along the way. He certainly wouldn't represent the best-case scenario for the Jaguars and their anxious fan base, but owner Khan and Co. can do a lot worse than appointing O'Brien as their new head coach, given that he simply serves as the head coach and doesn't gain control over the 53-man roster. However, the reaction to this would-be hiring would likely be met with anger and confusion from the Duval faithful.
A WORTHY DARK HORSE: JIM CALDWELLCaldwell wouldn't represent the sexiest of hires, but he would be a damn good hire nonetheless. Caldwell last coached in the NFL when he led the hopeless Detroit Lions to a reputable 9-7 record in 2017. The Lions then confusingly fired Caldwell and appointed Matt Patricia, who went an abysmal 13-29-1 in three seasons as Detroit's head coach. It's astounding to believe that 9-7 and two playoff appearances in four attempts wasn't accomplished enough for the hapless Lions, who have gotten significantly worse in Caldwell's absence. The Lions have yet to fully rebound from that mind-numbing decision. Caldwell departed the Lions with a respectable head coaching record of 36-28 (.563), which represents the most successful winning percentage the franchise had experienced since the 1950s. A two-time Super Bowl champion, Caldwell has since interviewed for several head coaching vacancies around the league, and his reputation remains in good standing. The Jaguars could be looking for a steadying presence that qualifies as an excellent leader of men. Caldwell would be more than proficient.
- May 21, 2022
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