MOBILE, Ala. – Senior writer John Oehser's takeaways from Head Coach Doug Marrone's Wednesday morning conference call discussing new offensive coordinator Jay Gruden …
1.This hire wasn't necessarily quarterback-centric. Marrone didn't commit to a starting quarterback Wednesday, calling Gruden an asset whoever starts at the position: Gardner Minshew II, Nick Foles or Josh Dobbs. Minshew started 12 games as a rookie this past season with a 6-6 record, with Foles starting four (0-4) and Dobbs not playing. "We have three quarterbacks," Marrone said. "Situations … they're up, they're down, they can change. Jay has some success at the position as a player, so I think he sees things through the eyes of a quarterback – which I always think gives you a little bit of an advantage of what you're looking for." Marrone also said he liked the success Gruden has had with different types of quarterbacks, citing his experience as the Cincinnati Bengals offensive coordinator with Andy Dalton and with the Washington Redskins as head coach with Alex Smith. "He's been around it and I know he's going to be able to help our football team," Marrone said. "I like the schematics of how he does things. It's more in tune with what I believe and I'm looking forward to it."
2.Gruden's head-coaching experience played a role in the decision … Marrone said he liked Gruden's experience as a head coach. Marrone never has had an ex-head coach as coordinator during three previous seasons as the Jaguars' head coach, and said Wednesday a former head coach better understands the dynamics of dealing with multiple areas of football operations – and managing other coaches. "All those experiences come into play, especially from the management standpoint of players," Marrone said. "A quarterbacks coach, you're in that room with those two or three guys. … You also have a better understanding of the whole picture. You get in some meetings sometimes and guys will fight for their position group or their side of the ball; they'll challenge you on, 'Hey, we need this,' or, 'We need that.' You need a little bit of that, but at the same time you have to be able to see the whole picture. The more people you have around who can see the whole picture – and that's what we're trying to create – I think the more success you can have." Todd Wash has been the Jaguars' defensive coordinator throughout Marrone's tenure, with Gruden following Nathaniel Hackett (2017-2018) and John DeFilippo (2019) as offensive coordinator.
3…. and his play-calling experience did, too. Marrone said Gruden's play-calling experience factored into the decision "because of our situation and where we are." The Jaguars are 11-21 over the last two seasons. "My experience has been obviously I've had people with me who are first-time coordinators," Marrone said. "I think you go through a learning process where you're getting better each year. There is a curve. One thing going into it that I felt was I don't have time for that curve. I was looking for someone with experience, someone with conviction in what they believe in that matched what mine and our staff was. Our staff was heavily involved in this. We all had time spent with each candidate. Together, we made a collective decision on what was best for all of us."
4.The Jaguars won't necessarily hire a quarterbacks coach. The specifics of quarterbacks coach will play out in the coming days, with Marrone saying the idea of Gruden having the role hasn't been ruled out. Scott Milanovich, quarterbacks coach from 2017-2019, left immediately after this past season to become the head coach of the Canadian Football League's Edmonton Eskimos. "We're discussing that right now – the role of the offensive coordinator, play-caller with the quarterbacks coach," Marrone said. "I've done it both ways, where the coordinator has been the quarterbacks coach. When you go that way, you have to have more logistics support. I've also gone the other way where you have the quarterbacks coach working [with the quarterback]. Those guys have to be really in line [with the coordinator on philosophies of teaching quarterbacks]. Jay and I spoke this morning on it. We're going to think about the direction we want to go and we'll have discussions later on. If we do, we'll go through the same type of process of trying to find the best guy who knows what we want to do and knows how we want to teach the quarterback, and someone who has the skills to get them to improve."