JACKSONVILLE – Jaguars Owner Shad Khan discussed various Jaguars-related topics in a recent jaguars.com interview with local media and a Tuesday conference call; here are four highlights …
1. On Caldwell/Marrone: "The best chance to win."Among the major topics Khan addressed in his comments was one discussed by Jaguars observers since the end of last season: why bring back Head Coach Doug Marrone and General Manager David Caldwell for 2020? "The key question that I have to ask myself, 'Is this the time to start over from where we were just two years ago?' A game away from the Super Bowl,'' Khan said Tuesday in his first public comments since the 2019 season's end. "I know things change greatly year to year, but we've been closer more recently than many teams in the league. My feeling is that we can return to that place and go much faster to where we want to be if we can keep some things intact for 2020." Khan noted that the Jaguars have a good young roster featuring a pair of 2020 Pro Bowl selections – wide receiver DJ Chark Jr. and defensive end Josh Allen – and he also noted the team's two first-round selections in the next two drafts. "We have a really good core of young players from our recent drafts," he said. "We have excellent draft capital." Caldwell will enter his seventh season with the team, and Marrone will enter his fourth as head coach. The Jaguars have finished last in the AFC South the past two seasons after winning the AFC South in Marrone's first season – 2017. "The message as the whole football organization as I met with them after our season was over is the time to win is now," Khan said. "We have everything really in place with some of the changes to expect a good season. The results are going to speak for themselves a year from now, and we will all know if this is the right approach I took and I will take full responsibility for it."
2. On Coughlin: "I thought we needed to make a change …"Khan on Tuesday also discussed the late-season dismissal of Executive Vice President of Football Operations Tom Coughlin, a move that came two days after the National Football League Players Association criticized Jaguars leadership for excessive fines in recent seasons. Khan praised Coughlin's contributions to the franchise, including his role in the AFC South-title season and his success as the Jaguars' head coach in the 1990s – but added it was time to make the move. "Tom was in charge and the last two years were not where we want to be," Khan said Tuesday. "That's where you have to start. Tom is iconic for Jacksonville. I think what he did at the start of the franchise and a couple of years ago, the first year he was there … we had a great season, but I thought we needed to make a change moving forward and that was really the key factor. I cannot emphasize that the results of the last season were not lost on me, so why not move in a different direction?"
3. On his role: "A little different."With Coughlin gone, Marrone and Caldwell both will report directly to Khan after reporting to Coughlin the past three seasons. "It's a little different role (for himself), quite frankly," Khan said told jaguars.com. "There is always a fine line between abdication and delegation, between micromanagement and being able. Where are those lines? But really … yes, I'm playing a little different role." Khan was asked about the role of his son, Tony, an NFL leader in analytics much of the last decade. "It's not something we talk about, but I think it has been a good part of our success, frankly," Khan said. "Both Doug and Dave – without talking too much about it – have been big users of analytics. They feel very comfortable with it and it always has been part of the plan."
4.Main objective: Succeed in the division.Khan said he spoke extensively with Marrone and Caldwell about plans and objectives moving forward. He said a major topic was "What do the Jaguars stand for?" Khan added, "Somehow, some way, we got away from the basics. If you go back to a couple of years ago, we were running the ball and our defense. So, what do we stand for? What kind of a team are we? The most important thing is, really our focus – which I've emphasized to them – is you need to focus on winning really six key games – our three opponents in our division. If we can do that, we'll have a good chance. So … how do we match up against those three teams? And what are we going to change player-wise, scheme-wise, etc., where we have a better chance of winning against those teams? The plan I have is to see how they're executing as we move forward. I think we have really good draft capital. We will have to look at the roster, but I think we'll have flexibility when it comes to salary cap to address our basic needs if we can't do those through the draft. We have the resources – if we have a clear vision and a plan – to have a winning team next year."