JACKSONVILLE – The searches continue.
With the Jaguars having completed at least five head-coaching interviews in the last week, they again focused on general manager on Tuesday – reportedly interviewing New Orleans Saints vice president/assistant general manager of pro personnel Terry Fontenot for the position.
Fontenot, who has been with the Saints for 16 seasons, served as a pro scout from 2008-2014 and has been New Orleans' assistant general manager of pro personnel since 2015.
Albert Breer of MMQB reported the Fontenot news Tuesday.
Fontenot reportedly is among the finalists for the Atlanta Falcons' general-manager position, according to Adam Schefter of ESPN. He also reportedly has interviewed to become the Denver Broncos' general manager.
Other reported candidates for the Jaguars' general-manager position: Jaguars Interim General Manager Trent Baalke, former Cleveland Browns General Manager Ray Farmer, former New York Giants General Manager Jerry Reese, ESPN analyst Louis Riddick and former Houston Texans General Manager Rick Smith.
The Jaguars' head-coach position also remains open, with reported candidates for that position being former Florida/Ohio State Head Coach Urban Meyer, Tennessee Titans offensive coordinator Arthur Smith, San Francisco 49ers defensive coordinator Robert Saleh, Kansas City Chiefs offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy, Atlanta Falcons Interim Head Coach Raheem Morris and former Dallas Cowboys Head Coach Jason Garrett.
Khan announced last week that Doug Marrone no longer is the Jaguars' head coach. Khan dismissed General Manager David Caldwell on November 29.
Below are the reported candidates for the Jaguars' general manager and head-coaching positions, with analysis from NFL Media analyst Bucky Brooks:
Eric Bieniemy, Kansas City Chiefs offensive coordinator
Background: Chiefs offensive coordinator (2018-present), Chiefs running backs coach (2013-2017), Colorado offensive coordinator (2011-2012), Minnesota Vikings assistant head coach/running backs coach (2010), Vikings running backs coach (2006-2009), UCLA running backs coach (2003-2005) and Colorado running backs coach (2001-2002).
Bucky's take: The Chiefs' offensive coordinator has been instrumental in the development of the league's most explosive offense. Bieniemy has helped crafted an innovative scheme that exploits the electric talents of a gifted quarterback and a five-star cast of playmakers on the perimeter. Despite sharing play-calling duties with Chiefs Head Coach Andy Reid, the expressive leader has added balance and power to the Chiefs' offense with his attention to detail with the running game. Additionally, Bieniemy has played a major role in the passing game with tweaks to pass protection to ensure Patrick Mahomes remains unscathed in the pocket. Considering the quarterback's development and performance after entering the league as a diamond in the rough, the Chiefs' offensive architect should be considered an offensive wizard with the leadership skills and expertise to construct a powerhouse in Jacksonville.
Jason Garrett, former Dallas Cowboys Head Coach
Background: New York Giants offensive coordinator (2020), Dallas Cowboys Head Coach (2011-2019), Cowboys offensive coordinator/assistant head coach (2008-2010), Cowboys offensive coordinator (2007) and Miami Dolphins quarterbacks coach (2005-2006).
Record as head coach: 85-67 in nine seasons with the Cowboys; three playoff appearances (2014, 2016, 2018), three NFC East titles (2014, 2016, 2018).
Bucky's take: The Dallas Cowboys' former head coach has enjoyed a solid career as a team leader. During a 10-year run with America's Team, Garrett claimed three division titles and compiled a .559 winning percentage. As a CEO-type leader, he delegates responsibilities to his coaches and oversees the operation as a game manager. He is an A-plus teacher with a solid track record of developing young players, particularly quarterbacks, in schemes that enable them to play fast on the perimeter or in the trenches. Although critics will suggest that Garrett's teams underachieved near the end of his tenure, the former NFL backup quarterback has only one losing record on his resume and finished with at least 10 wins in three of his final six seasons on the sidelines. Considering his experience, philosophy and overall consistency, Garrett would be a solid hire in Jacksonville to rebuild the franchise.
Urban Meyer, Fox Sports analyst and former Florida/Ohio State Head Coach
Background: Ohio State Head Coach (2012-2018), Florida Head Coach (2005-2010), Utah Head Coach (2003-2004), Bowling Green Head Coach (2001-2002), Notre Dame wide receivers coach (1996-2000), Colorado State wide receivers coach (1990-1995), Illinois State quarterbacks coach (1989) and Illinois State outside linebackers coach (1988).
Record as head coach: 187-32 (83-9 at Ohio State, 65-15 at Florida, 22-2 at Utah, 17-6 at Bowling Green); one national title (2014) and three Big 10 titles (2014, 2017, 2018) at Ohio State, two national titles (2006, 2008) and two SEC titles at Florida (2006, 2008), two Mountain West titles (2003, 2004) at Utah.
Bucky's take: The three-time National Champion is a proven program builder with a blueprint that's worked at every stop of his coaching career. From Bowling Green to Utah to Florida and Ohio State, Meyer has quickly transformed underachieving programs into championship-caliber franchises. He is a culture creator with exceptional leadership skills and a keen eye for talent. Although the jump to the NFL would require the long-time college coach to tweak his methods, particularly when it comes to player acquisition, Meyer's vision and perspective on building a championship program would serve him well in Jacksonville. If paired with an experienced general manager or personnel executive who understands the coach's vision and is capable of acquiring personnel that fits the designated criteria, the Jaguars could certainly rebound quickly under the championship coach.
Raheem Morris, Atlanta Falcons Interim Head Coach
Background: Atlanta Falcons Interim Head Coach (2020), Falcons defensive coordinator (2020), Falcons assistant head coach/secondary coach (2015, 2019), Falcons assistant head coach/wide receivers coach (2016-2018), Washington Football Team defensive backs coach, Tampa Bay Buccaneers Head Coach (2009-2011), Buccaneers defensive backs coach (2007-2008), Kansas State defensive coordinator (2006), Buccaneers assistant defensive backs coach (2004-2005), Buccaneers defensive assistant (2003), Buccaneers defensive quality control coach (2002), Hofstra defensive backs coach (2000-2001), Cornell defensive backs coach and special assistant (1999) and Hofstra graduate assistant (1998).
Record as head coach: 21-38 (17-31 with Buccaneers, 4-7 with Falcons).
Bucky's take: It is rare for a candidate to have the capacity to call the game as an offensive or defensive coordinator, but Morris is a modern-day Tom Landry. Morris cut his teeth in the league as a well-respected secondary coach and defensive coordinator before serving as a wide receiver coach/passing game coordinator for the Falcons. The experience directing units on each side of the ball gives him a unique perspective as a team-builder tasked with overseeing the entire operation. In addition, Morris' previous experience as the head coach of the Buccaneers gives him a better idea of how to rebuild the franchise from the ground up. With an enthusiastic demeanor that's infectious and a direct communication style that challenges players to raise their level of player, Morris is more than ready to take on the Jaguars' rebuilding process.
Robert Saleh, San Francisco 49ers defensive coordinator
Background: San Francisco 49ers defensive coordinator (2017–present), Jaguars linebackers coach (2014–2016), Seattle Seahawks defensive quality control coach (2011–2013), Houston Texans assistant linebackers coach (2009–2010), Houston Texans defensive quality control coach (2006–2008), Houston Texans defensive intern (2005), Georgia defensive assistant (2005), Central Michigan defensive assistant (2004), Michigan State defensive assistant (2002–2003).
Bucky's take: The San Francisco 49ers' defensive coordinator is a high IQ, alpha-dog leader with an infectious personality that captivates the room. Saleh is a natural leader with a passionate approach that prompts his players to perk up in his presence. Although his energy and enthusiasm will lead some to miscast him as simply a motivator, he is a masterful tactician with the capacity to match wits with offensive gurus around the league. Saleh's problem-solving skills, leadership ability and communication skills should translate well as a head coach. If he can assemble a coaching staff of energetic teachers with the ability to develop young players, he could create a positive culture that sparks a change in Jacksonville.
Arthur Smith, Tennessee Titans offensive coordinator
Background: Tennessee Titans offensive coordinator (2019-2020), Titans tight ends coach (2016-2018), Titans assistant tight ends coach (2014-2015), Titans offensive line and tight ends assistant (2013), Titans offensive quality control coach (2012), Titans defensive quality control coach (2011), Ole Miss (defensive intern, 2010), Washington Redskins (defensive quality assistant, 2007-2008) and North Carolina (2006).
Bucky's take: The Tennessee Titans' offensive coordinator is a rising star in the business. He has quickly climbed the ladder of the profession through his diligence and exceptional attention to detail as a teacher. As an offensive coordinator, he has demonstrated extraordinary creativity and adaptability, building a smash-mouth running game that features NFL rushing leader Derrick Henry while also showcasing a complementary aerial attack directed by reigning NFL Comeback Player of the Year Ryan Tannehill. Smith's ability to tailor his schemes around his personnel is impressive when factoring in the number of young players contributing to the Titans' offensive success. Given the youth and inexperience dotting the Jaguars' roster, Smith's developmental skills and teaching ability will serve him well as he compiles a coaching staff full of teachers to build the team from the ground up.
Trent Baalke, Jaguars Interim General Manager
Background: Jaguars Interim General Manager (2020-present), Jaguars director of player personnel (2020), 49ers General Manager (2011-2016), 49ers vice president of player personnel (2010), 49ers director of player personnel (2008-2009), San Francisco 49ers western region scout (2005-2007), Washington Football Team college scouting coordinator (2004), Washington Football Team national scout (2001-2003), New York Jets pro scout (1998–2000).
Record as general manager: 51-44-1 with 49ers, three postseason appearances (2011-2013), two NFC West titles (2011-2012), one NFC title (2011).
Bucky's take: The long-time personnel executive helped built the 49ers into a Super Bowl contender with a "draft-and-develop" strategy that helped form the team's star-studded nucleus. Baalke's experience building a contender combined with the lessons gleaned from some of the best minds in football, including Bill Parcels and Joe Gibbs, has shaped a team-building philosophy that prioritizes player development and team chemistry. Given time to implement a homegrown strategy that works well with small-market teams, Baalke could get the Jaguars back utilizing an updated "draft-and-develop" approach.
Ray Farmer, former Cleveland Browns General Manager
Background: Browns General Manager (2014-2015), Browns assistant general manager (2013), Kansas City Chiefs director of pro personnel (2006-2012), Atlanta Falcons scout (2002-2005), Duke academic coordinator (2001).
Record as general manager: 10-22 with Browns.
Bucky's take: The former Cleveland Browns' general manager is a bright football mind with a cutting-edge approach to building a team. Although it didn't work out in his previous stop, Farmer has a strong reputation for identifying talent and putting the pieces of the puzzle together as a team-builder. The former NFL linebacker wants to assemble a collection of smart, fast and physical football players to play an old-school brand of football that's needed to thrive in the AFC. Farmer will commit countless resources to build up the offensive and defensive lines to ensure the Jaguars are capable of controlling the trenches and imposing their will on opponents. As an exceptional communicator and collaborative leader, he will assemble a staff of traditional and analytical football minds to build a team capable of achieving sustainable success.
Terry Fontenot, New Orleans Saints vice president/assistant general manager of Pro Personnel
Background: Saints director of pro personnel (2015-2020), Saints pro scout (2008-2014).
Jerry Reese, former New York Giants General Manager
Background: New York Giants college scout (1994-1996), Giants pro scout (1997-2003), Giants director of player personnel (2004-2006), Giants General Manager (2007-2017).
Record as general manager: 91-85, five postseason appearances, two NFC East titles, two NFC titles, two Super Bowl titles.
Bucky's take: Reese is highly respected in league circles for his ability to build championship-caliber rosters. The two-time Super Bowl winner is an old-school scout who places a great emphasis on size, speed and production in the evaluation process. As a long-time scout with the Giants who learned from George Young and Ernie Accorsi, he wants to build a team full of heavyweights with the capacity to overwhelm opponents with their physicality and toughness. Reese has a keen eye for talent in the draft, as evidenced by his selections of defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul, wide receiver Odell Beckham, Jr. and safety Landon Collins. Although he was subject to constant scrutiny and criticism in the Big Apple, the Giants hoisted a pair of Lombardi Trophies under his stewardship and his proven track record should make him a top candidate for a team with plenty of draft capital and free-agent resources.
Louis Riddick, ESPN analyst
Background: ESPN analyst (2013-present), Philadelphia Eagles director of pro personnel (2010-2013), Eagles director of pro personnel (2009), Eagles pro scout (2008), Washington Football Team director of pro personnel (2005-2007), Washington Football Team pro scout (2001-2004).
Bucky's take: The former NFL executive turned Monday Night Football analyst is one of the most respected minds in football. Riddick has combined his playing experience and scouting expertise to educate football fans on the nuances of the game. As a potential general manager, he is likely to adhere to a philosophy of building a team that's strong down the middle like the teams trotted out by his coaching influences: Nick Saban, Bill Belichick, and Andy Reid. In addition, Riddick will focus a building a team that embraces a tough, hard-nosed playing style that fits his old-school mentality. With the former NFL safety connected to some of the brightest minds in coaching, Riddick and his preferred head coach will put together a team loaded with smart, fast, physical football players with a team-first mentality.
* Rick Smith, former Houston Texans General Manager*
Background: Denver Broncos director of pro personnel (2000-2005), Houston Texans General Manager (2006-2017), Texans Executive Vice President of Football Operations (2012-2017).
Record as general manager: 92-100, four postseason appearances (2011-2012, 2015-2016), four AFC South titles (2011-2012, 2015-2016).
Bucky's take: The Texans' former general manager is an experienced team-builder with a track record of building winners in the AFC South. Smith's teams finished with a .500 or better mark in eight of his 12 seasons at the helm with four division titles and three playoff victories. The veteran personnel executive has an impressive track record of selecting cornerstone franchise players, as evidenced by his work with defensive end J.J. Watt, wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins, defensive end/linebacker Jadeveon Clowney, and quarterback Deshaun Watson. Smith is a "BPA" (best player available) proponent on draft day but is willing to utilize all vehicles to upgrade the talent on the roster. From the draft to free agency to the trade market, he will turn over every rock to find difference makers with the capacity to help the team close the gap or surpass the competition. Considering his work within the division and his reputation as an A-plus communicator and decision-maker, Smith is an ideal candidate to lead the Jaguars into a new era.