By: Hays Carlyon
Doug Marrone has a 33-36 overall record as an NFL head coach. That’s not overly impressive until you look at an important aspect, one that could indicate how quickly the Jaguars can rebound from this season’s 5-11 disappointment.
Marrone has won his 33 games, which includes two playoff wins, largely with subpar-to-awful quarterbacks.
He spent two seasons in Buffalo from 2013-14 before serving as the Jaguars top coach after taking over as the interim for the final two games of the 2016 season.
These are the quarterbacks Marrone has been saddled with in his NFL career.
- Blake Bortles (33 starts, including three in the playoffs, from 2017-18)
- E.J. Manuel (14 starts in Buffalo from 2013-14).
- Kyle Orton (12 starts in Buffalo in 2014).
- Thad Lewis (five starts in Buffalo in 2013).
- Cody Kessler (four starts with the Jaguars in 2018).
- Jeff Tuel (one start in Buffalo in 2013).
How has this man managed to stay just three games below .500 with an AFC Championship Game berth on his resume?
The Jaguars are a few months away from making a decision that will alter the course of the franchise — the post-Bortles path. The Jaguars have several options available to them to fix the quarterback problem. Personnel chief Tom Coughlin and general manager Dave Caldwell could elect to sign a pricey free agent or move up in the draft from the seventh spot.
Either move comes at a cost.
The expensive free agent makes filling other needs difficult and could open up more holes as veterans are released. Moving up into the top three would require giving up the team’s 2020 first-round pick.
I believe Coughlin will try to sign Philadelphia’s Nick Foles to a lucrative contract if he is released and hits the market. I doubt the Jaguars would trade for him. Signing Foles would enable the Jaguars to draft multiple offensive players (including with the seventh pick) to build around Foles with their four selections in the first three rounds.
The Jaguars could also consider Joe Flacco, who will be released in Baltimore. Despite his flaws, Flacco would be by far the best quarterback Marrone has ever had to lead his offense.
Marrone’s history with unremarkable quarterbacks could even make Coughlin consider going with a cheaper veteran option (Sam Bradford or Ryan Fitzpatrick) to help protect the defensive assets on the roster. Either player would arguably be a better quarterback than any Marrone has had to guide his offense.
I think Coughlin will be less likely to depend on a rookie quarterback to protect his job in a must-win season. However, Marrone’s history of being able to usually compete without the benefit of consistent quarterback play might sway Coughlin if he believes Ohio State’s Dwayne Haskins or Duke’s Daniel Jones are supremely talented.
It would be fun to see what Marrone can accomplish with good quarterback play. His resume so far suggests that if Coughlin can acquire it for him, the Jaguars could be a strong bounce-back contender this fall.
(You can email Hays at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter @HaysCarlyon)