By: Hays Carlyon
Here’s what I’ve learned over the past month.
Jaguars general manager Dave Caldwell is safe.
Now and forever.
Jaguars owner Shad Khan will continue to employ Caldwell not because of some misguided belief in his acumen. He’ll do it because he doesn’t want to go through the arduous process of hiring a new general manager, a task that he can’t delegate without significantly altering the power structure in the organization.
Caldwell has served as the team’s GM since 2013. He’s 38-77 (including the playoffs).
The Jaguars would need to win their next 39 games for Caldwell to get to .500.
Things won’t get better in 2020. The current roster is in terrible shape compared to the rest of the NFL.
Jaguars coach Doug Marrone isn’t safe because Caldwell can hire the next coach.
If the Jaguars go 4-12 next season, Marrone probably won’t return.
But Caldwell will still be here.
Khan shows no sign of wanting to clear three weeks of his January calendar to conduct a search for a general manager. That would require building a candidates list, conducting multiple interviews and ultimately making and introducing his hire.
He didn’t even want to be bothered enough to explain his decision to keep Caldwell and Marrone moving forward in a press conference.
Here is my view on how Khan prioritizes his amazing empire of assets.
- Flex-N-Gate: This is Shad’s baby. He became a self-made billionaire through his brilliant ownership of the company.
- New acquisitions: From attempting to purchase Wembley Stadium to the Lot J/Shipyards development to all the other pursuits that interest him, Khan is focused on the future.
- Fulham: Founded in 1879, Khan owns a part of London history. His affection for London makes this a higher priority than the Jaguars. Khan has fired six Fulham managers since buying the team in 2013.
- Jaguars: Khan is rarely in Jacksonville and tolerated former coach Gus Bradley having a 14-48 record from 2013-16.
Khan would be the ideal Jaguars owner if the team was winning. His hands-off approach and willingness to spend is a much more advantageous mindset for the franchise than a meddling, cheap owner.
The problem is the Jaguars aren’t winning and haven’t since Khan bought the team, outside of the 2017 AFC Championship Game appearance. Khan’s record as Jaguars owner is 40-91 including the playoffs.
The losing just doesn’t seem to bother Khan enough, certainly not like Fulham losing bothers Khan.
How else can you explain his decision to retain Caldwell and Marrone after they’ve lost 20 of their last 28 games?
Would Khan prefer to win? Of course. However, he’s so engaged in his other assets and potential assets that fixing the Jaguars doesn’t rise to paramount importance to him.
Khan released a statement after the 2018 season ended in a 5-11 record that indicated massive improvement would be expected in 2019. The Jaguars went 6-10 and the only casualty was executive vice president of football operations Tom Coughlin. That was because the NFLPA blistered the franchise in a statement over Coughlin’s fining of players during voluntary portions of the year.
Coughlin’s position has been eliminated. Caldwell and Marrone got more power after a 6-10 campaign.
An owner has to be disconnected to make that decision.
I was asked how many games do the Jaguars have to win in 2020 for Caldwell to keep his job?
I answered zero.
If the Jaguars have the top pick in the 2021 draft and Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence is available, it’s easy for me to see Khan’s potential viewpoint: Yes, Dave has struggled finding us a franchise quarterback, but now we have Trevor so that is solved and Dave has been OK on the other decisions so I’m keeping him.
I hope I’m wrong. For your sake. The Jaguars fanbase is incredibly passionate. You all kick apathy’s butt on a yearly basis. You’ll be tested this year like you’ve never been tested.
It’s a shame Khan doesn’t share your pain. He’d rather win, but he isn’t going to move his schedule around to find you an upgrade at general manager.
Being 39 games under .500 is good enough for him.
(You can email Hays at email@example.com and follow him on Twitter @HaysCarlyon)