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#pounditThursday, January 27, 2022

Articles tagged: Jacksonville Jaguars

Did Byron Leftwich force Jaguars to fire GM Trent Baalke?

Trent Baalke at a press conference

Byron Leftwich is viewed as the favorite to be named the next head coach of the Jacksonville Jaguars, but he may want them to make a major front office move before he signs on the dotted line.

A report earlier this week claimed Leftwich was close to finalizing a deal with the Jaguars. Those talks have since stalled, and that may have something to do with general manager Trent Baalke. First Coast News sports director Chris Porter reported on Thursday morning that Leftwich wants the Jaguars to fire Baalke and hire Arizona Cardinals executive Adrian Wilson as their next GM.

Leftwich has a relationship with Wilson from Leftwich’s time with the Cardinals. Prior to being hired as the offensive coordinator of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Leftwich was an assistant coach in Arizona for two seasons.

Leftwich may have gotten his way. According to Mike Jurecki of the Cardinals’ official website, Jacksonville is working toward hiring Wilson as GM and Leftwich as head coach.

Baalke is extremely unpopular in Jacksonville. Thousands of Jaguars fans dressed in clown costumes for the final game in the regular season to show the team how unhappy they are with the job Baalke has done. There have been reports that some candidates would only have interest in the Jaguars head coaching job if Baalke were fired.

It would appear Leftwich is one of those coaches. The 42-year-old is suddenly drawing interest from another NFL team, but he has ties to the Jags organization. Leftwich was drafted by Jacksonville in the first round back in 2003 and started 44 games for the Jags.

Before he joined the Jaguars’ front office in 2020, Baalke’s previous job was as GM of the San Francisco 49ers from 2011-2016. The Niners enjoyed great success early in Baalke’s tenure with the team, but he has been criticized for forcing Jim Harbaugh out. It would hardly be a surprise if Leftwich didn’t want to work under him.

Photo: Jaguars general manager Trent Baalke during Friday afternoon’s press conference at TIAA Bank Field. After his arrival in Jacksonville, Florida Friday morning, April 30, 2021, Jacksonville Jaguars first-round draft pick Trevor Lawrence along with team owner Shad Khan, head coach Urban Meyer and the Jaguars general manager Trent Baalke held a press conference in the afternoon inside TIAA Bank Field. They were also joined by the Jaguars 25th pick in the first round of the draft and former Clemson teammate of Lawrence, running back Travis Etienne. [Bob Self/Florida Times-Union]

Vic Fangio a surprise head coach candidate for AFC team

Vic Fangio on the sideline

Vic Fangio was fired by the Denver Broncos earlier this month after three seasons with the team, but he may already have a shot at another head coaching job.

Fangio has interviewed for the Jacksonville Jaguars job, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter.

The Jaguars appear to have another candidate at the top of their list, but they have yet to make a hire.

Fangio went 19-30 in three seasons with the Broncos. He was fired after the team finished 7-10 this year. He had a surprisingly blunt response about Denver’s quarterback situation toward the end of the year, so he might be intrigued by the possibility of working with Trevor Lawrence.

It’s hard to imagine Fangio is at the top of the Jaguars’ list. They are likely just trying to keep all options open.

Photo: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Jaguars not finished with coaching search despite Byron Leftwich report

Byron Leftwich

The Jacksonville Jaguars are not finished with their search for a new head coach, despite reports to the contrary.

The Jaguars are going ahead with a second interview with Green Bay Packers offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett, according to Eugene Frenette of the Florida Times-Union. That means that, even if the Jaguars are leaning toward Byron Leftwich as their choice, his hiring is not a done deal.

Reports emerged earlier Wednesday suggesting that the Jaguars had already begun contract negotiations with Leftwich. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers offensive coordinator has long been linked to the job and is clearly a favorite, but the job is clearly not filled yet.

There had been rumors that the Jaguars would struggle to land top coaching candidates, and most of the hottest names on the market have not been linked to them. Still, they appear to have at least two interested candidates, with one clear favorite.

Byron Leftwich reportedly expected to land Jaguars job

Byron Leftwich

The Jacksonville Jaguars appear to be closing in on hiring their next head coach.

Aaron Wilson of Pro Football Network reports that the Jaguars have been discussing contract terms with Tampa Bay Buccaneers offensive coordinator Byron Leftwich. Jaguars owner Shad Khan and other team executives met with Leftwich for roughly eight hours on Tuesday night. The two sides are expected to come to an agreement “barring an unexpected breakdown.”

Leftwich has been viewed as a logical candidate for the Jaguars job since the team fired Urban Meyer. The former quarterback was drafted by Jacksonville in the first round back in 2003 and started 44 games for the Jags. He has spent the last two seasons working with Tom Brady, which has boosted his resume significantly. The Jaguars are searching for a coach who can help develop Trevor Lawrence, so it makes sense that they have reportedly chosen Leftwich.

At least one top candidate is said to have turned down the Jaguars. The good news for Leftwich or whoever else Jacksonville hires is that things can’t get much worse than they were under Meyer.

Leftwich, 44, has no previous head coaching experience. He began his NFL coaching career as a quarterbacks coach with the Arizona Cardinals in 2017. He was then promoted to interim offensive coordinator in 2018, and Bruce Arians hired him as Tampa Bay’s offensive coordinator in 2019.

Photo: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Steelers thank Jaguars over Twitter with fitting meme

A colts meme

The Jacksonville Jaguars did the Pittsburgh Steelers a big favor on Sunday, and Pittsburgh said thank you in the most 2020s way possible: with a meme.

The Jags beat the Indianapolis Colts 26-11 in a Week 18 stunner, preventing the 9-8 Colts from making the playoffs. Pittsburgh beat Baltimore 16-13 in overtime on the road to improve to 9-7-1, which is good enough to be alive to reach the postseason.

The Steelers’ Twitter account thanked the Jags afterwards. They used the Jags’ “#DUUUVAL” hashtag. Then they used a meme from “Thor: Ragnarok” where Hela was replaced by the Colts logo.

If the Steelers indeed qualify for the postseason (so long as the Raiders-Chargers game doesn’t end in a tie), they wouldn’t have been able to do it without the help of Jacksonville. The best part is the win didn’t even prevent the Jags from locking up the No. 1 draft pick. It was a win-win for everyone. Well, everyone except the Colts.

Video: Jaguars fans in clown costumes taunt GM Trent Baalke

Jaguars fans wear clown costumes

Jacksonville Jaguars fans promised to take a stand against the team’s poor management during their season finale on Sunday, and many of them delivered.

Thousands of Jaguars fans showed up to TIAA Bank Field for Sunday’s game against the Indianapolis Colts wearing clown accessories. Some just had red noses, while others were completely decked out in clown gear.

The clown protest was organized in an effort to pressure the Jaguars to fire general manager Trent Baalke. Those who took part made that message clear very early in the game.

Jacksonville entered Week 18 with just two wins. The Jags will once again search for a new head coach this offseason, and Baalke’s presence has already reportedly hindered their search. Owner Shad Khan may have no choice but to fire the GM if he wants to attract decent head coach candidates. The fans are doing their part to make it happen.

Report: Jaguars GM has preferred coach and DC in mind

Trent Baalke at a press conference

The Jacksonville Jaguars could reportedly bring a lot of experience to their next coaching staff if general manager Trent Baalke gets his way.

Baalke is a strong supporter of Alabama offensive coordinator and former Texans coach Bill O’Brien to take over the head coaching job in Jacksonville, according to Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports. If O’Brien is hired, the team would reportedly target Denver Broncos coach Vic Fangio as defensive coordinator, assuming the Broncos fire Fangio.

Previous reports have indicated that Baalke is a hindrance in the team’s search for a new head coach. That is not said to be the case with O’Brien, who is “aligned” with Baalke and would be willing to work under the GM.

The question at this point is whether Baalke gets to make the hire. Jaguars fans are putting pressure on the team to fire the GM, but owner Shad Khan has not relented at this point. Hiring O’Brien as coach would look pretty uninspiring, and will likely only increase the sense of urgency among fans to call for Baalke’s job.

Photo: Jaguars general manager Trent Baalke during Friday afternoon’s press conference at TIAA Bank Field. After his arrival in Jacksonville, Florida Friday morning, April 30, 2021, Jacksonville Jaguars first-round draft pick Trevor Lawrence along with team owner Shad Khan, head coach Urban Meyer and the Jaguars general manager Trent Baalke held a press conference in the afternoon inside TIAA Bank Field. They were also joined by the Jaguars 25th pick in the first round of the draft and former Clemson teammate of Lawrence, running back Travis Etienne. [Bob Self/Florida Times-Union]

Jaguars facing embarrassing lawsuit from major sponsor

Shad Khan smiling

The Jacksonville Jaguars have suffered through an embarrassing season from start to finish in 2021. The campaign appears to be ending in appropriate fashion, with the franchise facing a very embarrassing lawsuit from a primary sponsor.

RoofClaim.com, a Georgia-based roofing company, is suing the Jaguars in a bid to disassociate the brand with the team’s final regular season game. The company fears “irreparable harm” for being associated with the game, in which a group of fans plans to dress up as clowns to protest owner Shad Khan’s decision to retain GM Trent Baalke.

In a complaint filed Thursday in Jacksonville, RoofClaim.com stated that it wanted to avoid “its brand being emphasized as the primary sponsor of the clown game,” via Mark Long of the Associated Press. The claim, originally obtained by the Florida Times-Union, argues that the Jaguars “utterly failed to provide the sponsorship benefits outlined in the agreement” by creating a “toxic marketing environment.”

The Jaguars said the lawsuit was “baseless and without merit.”

Some Jaguars fans plan to participate in a “Klown Out” for Sunday’s game against the Indianapolis Colts to register their displeasure with the decision to keep Baalke as GM. While it is unclear how many fans will participate, there is clearly some fear that the number will be fairly high if a company is willing to go to court over this.

Beyond the fact that Baalke has few successful personnel moves to point to in Jacksonville, there are rumors he may be hindering the team’s head coaching search. Now, fairly or not, his presence has led to the phrase “clown game” being attached to the team’s season finale in a legal filing. That has to be pretty embarrassing for Khan and the organization as a whole.

Photo: Oct 17, 2021; London, England, United Kingdom; Jacksonville Jaguars owner Shad Khan (Shahid Khan) watches from the sidelines during an NFL International Series game against the Miami Dolphins at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Report: Ex-division rival head coach to interview with Jaguars

Shad Khan smiling

The Jacksonville Jaguars appear to be casting a wide net in their search for a new head coach, and one name on their list should be plenty familiar to AFC South fans.

Bill O’Brien will interview with the Jaguars next week for their head coaching vacancy, John Reid of the Florida Times Union reports. O’Brien is currently the offensive coordinator at Alabama and is helping the Crimson Tide prepare for their National Championship Game against Georgia on Monday night.

This is the second report we have heard this week about the Jaguars being interested in O’Brien. Though, he doesn’t exactly have as good of a reputation as Doug Pederson, Jim Caldwell and some of the other candidates he is up against.

Like many others before him, O’Brien has managed to repair his image a bit while working under Nick Saban. He was the head coach of the Houston Texans from 2014-2020. There were indications that he had lost the locker room prior to being fired and was butting heads with several star players. He did, however, lead the Texans to the playoffs four times in his six full seasons.

The Jaguars almost certainly prefer other candidates to O’Brien. The 52-year-old is known for being hard-nosed. Many Jacksonville players and coaches reportedly felt that Meyer ruled with too much of an iron fist. Those same issues could resurface if the team hires O’Brien.

The Jags may have to make one major change to their front office if they want to attract more candidates.

Photo: Oct 17, 2021; London, England, United Kingdom; Jacksonville Jaguars owner Shad Khan (Shahid Khan) watches from the sidelines during an NFL International Series game against the Miami Dolphins at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Report: Jaguars have interest in ex-coach of division rival

Bill O'Brien in Alabama hat

Another name has surfaced in the Jacksonville Jaguars’ head coach search, and it will be a familiar one to fans of the AFC South.

Former Houston Texans coach Bill O’Brien is of interest to the Jaguars as they search for a replacement for Urban Meyer, according to Gene Frenette of the Florida Times-Union. It is not clear how firm that interest is, however.

O’Brien is currently offensive coordinator at Alabama, where he has somewhat rehabilitated his image. The ending of his tenure with the Texans was disastrous, in part because of some very controversial personnel moves and the loss of locker room authority. He did make the playoffs with Houston four times in six full seasons, which would be a step forward for the Jaguars.

Still, O’Brien’s reputation is such that he would not excite many as a candidate. It would be worrisome if he is the best Jacksonville can attract, but there might be a reason for that if it’s the case.

Photo: Alabama Offensive Coordinator Bill O’Brien during warm ups before the 2021 College Football Playoff Semifinal game at the 86th Cotton Bowl in AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas Friday, Dec. 31, 2021. [Staff Photo/Gary Cosby Jr.]
College Football Playoffs Alabama Vs Cincinnati