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Look ahead: 2017 offseason

Posted Jan 5, 2017

Senior writer John Oehser examines the Jaguars’ 2017 offseason …

JACKSONVILLE – First things first:

That’s a good place to start, and the first thing the Jaguars must do during what promises to be an eventful offseason is hire a head coach.

Will that be Tom Coughlin? Or Doug Marrone? Or one of a slew of other candidates?

Coughlin, the Jaguars’ head coach from 1995-2002, reportedly interviewed during the final week of the regular season and Marrone – the Buffalo Bills’ head coach from 2013-2014 and the Jaguars’ assistant head coach-offensive/offensive line in 2015-2016 – spent the final two weeks of the 2016 season as the Jaguars’ interim head coach.

General Manager David Caldwell has said Marrone will be a candidate, and he reportedly interviewed this week. Marrone also reportedly will interview with the Los Angeles Rams.

Beyond that, the Jaguars appear to be getting into the meat of the interview process with Atlanta Falcons offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan, Tampa Bay Buccaneers defensive coordinator Mike Smith, Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels, Buffalo Bills interim head coach Anthony Lynn and Arizona Cardinals offensive coordinator Harold Goodwin reportedly among those who have interviewed or who are expected to interview.

Of that group, Coughlin, Smith, McDaniels and Marrone have prior NFL head coaching experience. Coughlin went 68-60 with two AFC Championship Game appearances with the Jaguars, then followed that with a 102-90 record with two Super Bowl championships while serving as the New York Giants’ head coach from 2004-2015.

Smith, the Jaguars’ defensive coordinator from 2003-2007, had a 66-46 record as the Atlanta Falcons’ head coach from 2008-2014. The Falcons made the playoffs from in four of his first five seasons.

Marrone had a 15-17 record in two seasons with the Bills, and went 1-1 as the Jaguars’ interim head coach. McDaniels had an 11-17 record with the Denver Broncos in 2009-2010.

McDaniels reportedly will interview with the Jaguars, Los Angeles Rams and San Francisco 49ers on Saturday. Smith, who was out of football in 2015 before returning as Buccaneers defensive coordinator this past season, also is expected to interview with the San Diego Chargers.

Goodwin reportedly interviewed with the Jaguars this week and is also is expected to interview with the Rams and Bills. Shanahan is expected to interview with the Jaguars in the coming days, the Broncos on Saturday and he also is considered a candidate with the Rams and 49ers.

Lynn reportedly also will interview with the Bills, Rams and 49ers.

After the head coach is hired, he will hire a staff. If the staff in place before the Senior Bowl in Mobile, Alabama, the week leading to January 28, that week may be the group’s first major stop/event. If the staff isn’t yet in place, assistants often are hired and announced there.

After that, February will be spent with the staff diving into the roster. Decisions about players to be retained or released are made as free agency approaches, then the new staff will be into the heart of the offseason.

Here’s a look at how the offseason breaks down and how it relates to the Jaguars:

January 7-8: Wild-card weekend. Assistant coaches with playoff teams with a Wild Card Weekend bye may interview for head-coaching positions through the conclusion of Wild Card Weekend. Shanahan and McDaniels fall into this category.

January 14-15: Divisional Playoffs. Assistants with playoff teams that won on Wild Card Weekend may interview for head-coaching positions until the conclusion of Divisional Playoff weekend. There have been no reports that the Jaguars are requesting interviews with any such candidates.

January 16: This is the deadline for collegiate underclassman to apply for the NFL Draft. The Jaguars hold the No. 4 selection.

January 21: East-West Shrine Game, Tropicana Field, St. Petersburg, Florida. This is the first of the two most significant pre-draft, collegiate all-star games.

January 28: Senior Bowl, Ladd-Peebles Stadium, Mobile, Alabama. This is the second and most significant of the premier collegiate all-star games. The time to watch is the week leading to the game. That’s when Mobile turns into the heart of the NFL.

January 28: Second interview deadline. This is the last date an assistant on a Super Bowl team who already has interviewed for a head-coaching positon may have a second interview.

January 29: NFL Pro Bowl, Camping World Stadium, Orlando, Florida. The Jaguars have no Pro Bowl selections this offseason.

February 5: Super Bowl. Hall of Fame voting will take place in Houston the night before the game. Former Jaguars left tackle Tony Boselli is one of 15 modern-era finalists for the Pro Football Hall of Fame Class of 2017.

February 15: First day for clubs to designate Franchise or Transition Players. Teams use the franchise and transition tags to limit potential movement by players scheduled to become free agents at the start of the new league year. The Jaguars’ highest-profile potential free agents this offseason: offensive tackle Luke Joeckel and safety Johnathan Cyprien, first- and second-round selections in the 2013 NFL Draft, respectively.

February 28-March 6: NFL Scouting Combine, Lucas Oil Stadium, Indianapolis, Indiana. Head coaches, assistants, scouts, general managers, team physicians and other support staff – pretty much the entire NFL – gather to test, interview and time more than 300 of the nation’s top draft-eligible prospects. The scouting aspect is important, and it also serves as the NFL’s largest annual convention.

March 1: Prior to 4 p.m., New York time, deadline for teams to designate Franchise or Transition Players. Most of the tagging of potential free agents takes place as the deadline approaches.

March 7-9: Beginning at noon New York time on March 7 and ending at 4 p.m. New York time on March 9, teams may contact and enter into negotiations with agents of players scheduled to become unrestricted free agents at the start of the new league year -- 4 p.m., New York time, March 9. A contract cannot be signed with a new team until 4 p.m. March 9. No contact is permitted between prospect team and player during the negotiating period, but players may speak with their former teams.

March 9, 4 p.m. The start of the 2017 league year. Trades also can begin taking place at this time.

March-early April: Pro Days. Draft-eligible players hold workouts for scouts, coaches and general managers at their respective college campuses.

March 26-29: Annual League Meeting, Phoenix, Arizona. General managers, coaches and owners all gather at the largest official league meeting of the year.

Mid-to-late April: The NFL regular-season schedule is typically announced around this time.

April 27-29, 2017 NFL Draft.

April-June: Teams that hire a new head coach may begin offseason workout programs April 3. The Jaguars will fall into this category this season. Phase One of the offseason program lasts two weeks and is limited to strength and conditioning. Phase Two last three weeks and includes work with coaches on the field; no one-on-one or full team work is permitted. Phase Three of the offseason is the period known as “OTAS” – four weeks that include three weeks of organized team activities and a one-week mandatory minicamp. The minicamp week is the only offseason work that is mandatory for veterans. Once minicamp ends – usually in mid-June – veterans are off until training camp.

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