After much speculation and an ESPN report that suggested his fate had already been decided prior to Week 17, Doug Marrone has survived Black Monday. Jaguars owner Shad Khan announced on Tuesday that both Marrone and general manager Dave Caldwell would be retained following a disappointing 6-10 season that ended in a blowout victory over the Indianapolis Colts on Sunday.
Rapoport also said that one of the driving reasons Khan decided to keep the pair was to give them a chance to operate without Tom Coughlin, whose presence apparently permeated the entire organization so deeply that Khan believes his departure could turn things around.
Given what we've heard about Coughlin's practices (like fining players a gigantic amount of money for missing voluntary treatments), there is an argument to be made that the Jaguars' slide from the AFC Championship Game to two consecutive top-10 picks can be largely blamed on him. Giving Marrone and Caldwell another swing at the plate prevents Khan from having to upend the building and keep the staff that dealt with a lot of change over the season; their presumed starter going down after merely one quarter and Jalen Ramsey getting traded in a disastrous spectacle both come to mind.
But Marrone has exactly one season that would suggest he's a good enough head coach to warrant a fourth season. Outside of the magical 2017 run that ended in Foxboro, Marrone has been a sub-.500 coach in Jacksonville, and overall has a 37-45 record as an HC in the NFL. He also went a perfectly average 25-25 at Syracuse. He wasn't dealt an easy hand this season, but was given essentially the exact same team in 2018 and went 5-11 after going 10-6 the year prior.
But if Marrone was fired, Jacksonville wouldn't exactly have their pick of the litter when it comes to potential candidates; the Giants, Panthers, and Browns are all looking for a new head coach, and the Cowboys seem all but certain to join them in that search soon. All of those situations, from a football perspective, are more appealing than Jacksonville.
Khan may be doing the right thing ensuring some continuity for the rookie who looks to be their signal-caller of the future in Gardner Minshew, and this is a tough offseason for a coaching transition. But from where we're sitting, after two consecutive losing seasons, it's hard to see why Khan thinks Marrone is the man who will return the Jaguars to relevance.