After what started off as a promising season, the Jacksonville Jaguars have now fallen to fourth place in the AFC South with a disappointing 4-9 record. They have lost five in a row, with their most recent loss being a blow out 45-10 against the Los Angeles Chargers. It is time for the team to look to 2020 and make some decisions regarding the future of multiple big-contract players and their front office. This includes the future of head coach Doug Marrone and executive vice president of football operations Tom Coughlin…or both.
Sources have told Pro Football Network Insider Benjamin Allbright that there is tension all over the organization from personnel to play-calling and more. In fact, according to what sources have told Allbright, Marrone and Coughlin had what can be described as a “loud dispute” regarding their starting quarterback situation.
It is not clear what side either was on, but one could speculate the Coughlin was supporting Nick Foles while Marrone was supporting Gardner Minshew.
Allbright has been told that because of this – along with other instances this season – owner Shahid Khan is considering making changes to the front office. It is uncertain if this means that either Maronne or Coughlin would be let go. However, with the way this season has progressed, it wouldn’t be a surprise if both men are looking for employment for the 2020 season. Don’t forget about general manager Dave Caldwell, who also might be at risk.
Coughlin has remained silent regarding his future and that of his head coach. Coughlin hadn’t spoken to the media for nearly seven months but after finally stepping in front of the cameras, it was evident that he wasn’t going to give his head coach any sort of vote of confidence.
“We have five games to go, and then there will certainly be an evaluation of every one of us. Of everybody,”
Coughlin was then asked if he would be returning next year, and he didn’t seem very confident that would be the case either. His response to the question, “there are five games to go.”
The problem with the starting quarterback
There is more behind the scenes drama than just a quarterback controversy in Jacksonville. As we noted above, there is tension all over the organization. This includes personnel, play-calling, and more. Now, the Jaguars find themselves in quite a precarious position with the three men Khan charged to lead this team.
Foles’ struggles hasn’t helped the tension. This offseason, they brought in the former Super Bowl MVP on a four-year, $88 million deal. At the time of the signing, Foles became the 11th highest-paid QB in the NFL. They went all in and expected a hefty return from the highly sought after free-agent.
When the 2019 NFL Draft came along, the Jaguars needed a developmental backup quarterback and used their 178th overall selection to bring in former Washington State quarterback Gardner Minshew. They walked away with the impression that they were in a good place at the quarterback position.
Unfortunately, in Week 1 of the NFL season, Foles went down with a broken collarbone. Minshew was forced to step in earlier than anticipated and surprised many in the league with his success.
If we use Pro Football Network’s OSM metric to see how well Minshew did, you can see that his success came early on when defenses couldn’t scheme for him. In Week 3 and 4 of the season, Minshew was as high as QB 11 and 12 with an average OSM score of 25. In terms of OSM, any score between 20-29 is considered good.
In Week 6, Minshew struggled and was QB 27 with an OSM score of 6.53. His OSM score continued to drop and the Jaguars continued to lose games. When Foles was finally healthy again, the decision was made to put him back in. He had two decent games, finishing as QB 11 and QB 19. But, the Jaguars were blown out and lost both those games.
In Weeks 13 and 14, the team once again went back to Minshew. However, Minshew could not replicate his early magic and the Jaguars lost both of those games.
The future of the team
The Jaguars will now miss the playoffs for the 11th time in the last 12 seasons. Coughlin, Marrone, and Caldwell are all under contract through the 2021 season, having received extensions in 2018. The team will have a number of high priced players to deal with at the end of the season, the most important being Foles. If the current regime, or a potential new one, were to cut him, it would carry a $33.875 million dead cap hit. That likely will not be the route they take.
Whatever direction the team decides to go, it will be interesting to see who they go with moving forward, Foles or Minshew. We will get a better picture of what will happen next year after the next three regular-season games.