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Finding the right person


Shahid Khan understands the public's desire for information.

But near the end of his first day as the Jaguars' sole owner, Khan early Wednesday evening said there is something more important than the franchise's fans knowing just who he and General Manager Gene Smith are targeting as the next head coach:

That's the process of finding that coach, and Khan said because the hire is the most important priority facing the organization, he doesn't plan to discuss it publicly until a decision is made.

"You have to protect the integrity of the search," Khan said Wednesday on Jaguars This Week.

Khan said while some NFL assistants the team has contacted have become public, he said for the most part the search will be kept as private as possible.

"I think I would be doing a disservice to Jaguars fans by talking about it," Khan said. "And I'd obviously be doing a disservice to people we're talking to."

Khan has previously said that Jaguars interim coach Mel Tucker will be among the candidates for the position, and according to published reports, the Jaguars also have requested permission to interview five offensive coordinators: Brian Schottenheimer (Jets), Mike McCoy (Broncos), Rob Chudzinski (Panthers), Mike Mularkey (Falcons) and Bill O'Brien (Patriots).

Khan said he has been "amazed" with the level of interest in the position.

"The Jaguars as an organization, the players and the city are very highly thought of," he said. "There's a huge amount of interest."

Khan said when it comes to moves concerning football operations, "We have our first 25 plays, and we are executing them, and we started executing them really when the money changed hands" on Wednesday afternoon.

He said while the search for a head coach will be efficient and timely, it also will be thorough.

"One thing you won't be able to say is that we didn't cast a wide enough net," Khan said. "I feel the most important thing I can contribute certainly for the next two or three years is to get this right, get the right person not only for the Jaguars, but for Jacksonville."

Khan added, "To me, this is not about money. This is about finding the right person."

He said the objective is to not only get the right person for the coach, but to connect and to really get "some Jacksonville soul into the Jaguars."

Khan said the first element he is seeking in a head coach is chemistry – not only with Khan, but with Smith and the "whole organization."

"That person has to connect," he said. "We don't want an egomaniac who is going to come in with their system and we'll be cleaning up the mess three years from now. They have to connect, they have to be a winner, and they have to engage in the community.

"Those are really the three key things we're going to look for."

Khan also said because the NFL is a passing-oriented, quarterback-driven league, implementing such a style is critical in the coaching search.

"That is absolutely vital," he said.

Khan, who said that "absolutely" did not mean that the permanent head coach must be an offensive coordinator, also discussed Jaguars quarterback Blaine Gabbert. He said he believed Gabbert "is going to be a great quarterback," and that a "key" question to any coach involves Gabbert's development.

"How are you going to make him the best he can be?" Khan said. "I've been asking them point-blank, 'Can you work with him?' So far, everybody says he's great."

Khan added, "I think he is our franchise quarterback and I think he needs development. We need to develop him and we want to give him tools, a dedicated coach. I think he's going to be great."

Khan also discussed Smith's role in the coaching search, saying Smith has done "100 percent of the heavy lifting."

"His research has been amazing," Khan said of Smith. "He's thoroughly organized and has incredible sources. In this business, you have to have official and unofficial sources. He's very well plugged in. He's a huge asset to the Jaguars."

Khan said while he had not met Smith until the day he was approved as owner, "I have tremendous respect for him and he's absolutely a huge asset to this organization."

Also on Wednesday, Khan discussed:

*His preference for style on the field: "Today, the exciting football also happens to be the winning football, which means you have to be able to pass the ball. This is a quarterback league and the quarterback is the CO of the organization. It's wonderful that we have absolutely the best rusher in the league (Maurice Jones-Drew), but you have to have a balanced attack and you have to have a passing attack."

*Participating in free agency: "We're going to identify where our weaknesses are. If we need free agency to fill those, and I'm sure there will be some of those, we're going to participate in those. Our goal will be to put the most competitive team out there."

*The sense of responsibility that comes with owning an NFL team: "There's an emotional investment, which is probably even more than the money investment. With that really comes a responsibility to do well – on the field and off the field. It's quite a load. The Weavers' are really huge shoes to fill for us."

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