<
>

Jaguars coach Doug Marrone on job status: 'Am I concerned? Yes'

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Jacksonville Jaguars head coach Doug Marrone will learn later this week whether he will return for his fourth season, but until he gets that news he's going to continue to operate as he planned.

He will, however, take a few moments after Sunday night's 38-20 victory at TIAA Bank Field to decompress and reflect on what has been a long and disappointing season.

"Am I disappointed? Obviously," Marrone said. "Am I concerned? Yes, you're always concerned when you have a disappointing season, but for this moment, when I leave here after I'm done answering the questions [from the media] ... I might have a little bit more than one beer."

Marrone's job status is up in the air and won't be decided until he meets with owner Shad Khan in the middle of the week. Marrone and a Khan spokesman both said an ESPN report on Saturday that Marrone had already been told he was not going to be retained was false. Marrone on Sunday called the report "kind of a joke."

Marrone wouldn't go into what he planned to say in the mid-week meeting with Khan to make his case for returning after a 6-10 season. Marrone has a 22-28 record in three seasons with the Jaguars, which includes an 11-21 mark since winning the AFC South with a 10-6 record in 2017 and an appearance in the AFC title game.

"You're asked those questions quite a bit at the end of the year, every year," Marrone said. "No matter what. 'Hey, how are we going to do this? How are we going to get better? How are we going to change?' Because the one thing, and I'll say it again, Shad and Tony [Khan] want a great football team here. There's no doubt in my mind, and they are two great owners.

"Obviously, I'm not going to communicate that [what he will say] here. That's for a private conversation, and 'this is the way I feel, this what we have to do, this is what I need,' and express those opinions and if it is the right direction, then I'm the right person for the job. If it isn't, then I'm not, and that's the case no matter what. And that's the case in coaching forever."

The Jaguars' 2018 season fell apart because of a rash of injuries to the offensive line and tight end positions, poor quarterback play from Blake Bortles, and a dismal season from running back Leonard Fournette. There was optimism for 2019, however, because of the signing of free-agent quarterback Nick Foles and rookie defensive end Josh Allen.

But a long list of issues and distractions caused problems:

  • Linebacker Telvin Smith, the team's leading tackler last season, announced in May that he was taking the 2019 season off for personal reasons.

  • Defensive end Yannick Ngakoue held out the first 11 days of training camp before reporting without a new contract.

  • Foles lasted just 11 snaps before suffering a broken collarbone while throwing a touchdown pass to DJ Chark Jr. in the season opener.

  • Foles returned as the starter in Week 11 against Indianapolis, but the supposed franchise quarterback was benched by Marrone just 10 quarters after his return from the injury.

  • Rookie sixth-round pick Gardner Minshew II turned into a pleasant surprise and went 4-4 as the starting quarterback until Foles' return in November. Minshew again took over after Foles was benched.

  • Cornerback Jalen Ramsey got into a sideline spat with Marrone during a Week 2 loss at Houston, was privately chastised by management after the game and demanded a trade. Ramsey played the following week against Tennessee but missed the team's next three games because of a back injury before GM Dave Caldwell traded him to the Los Angeles Rams for a first-round pick in 2020 and first- and fourth-round picks in 2021.

  • There was a strained atmosphere inside the building due to executive vice president Tom Coughlin's iron-fisted approach. Khan ended up firing Coughlin on Dec. 19, two days after the NFLPA sent a letter to NFL players that detailed Coughlin's disregard for the league's collective bargaining agreement and warned players about potentially signing with the Jaguars.

Now, Khan has to decide whether he's bringing back Marrone and GM Dave Caldwell, who has been in place since 2013.

"They [the Khans] want to do the best job they can for our fans and for the city, for our sponsors, for everyone in the building," Marrone said. "I appreciate that and thank them. I feel that it [the season] has been disappointing.

"I know in my heart that I can take this team to better roads, but, again, that's not my decision."