Gary Moeller is likely to become the Jaguars' next defensive coordinator, if Moeller can obtain assurance from the Detroit Lions that they will make good on their contract pay-off to Moeller.
Moeller, who was fired as Lions interim head coach by new Lions President Matt Millen, met with Jaguars coach Tom Coughlin in Jacksonville on Tuesday and Wednesday of this week. When Moeller left Jacksonville Wednesday afternoon to return to Detroit, he planned to approach the Lions about a pay-off plan on the $1.5 million he is owed by the Lions for each of the next two years. Moeller, who was the linebackers coach and assistant head coach under Bobby Ross, became the Lions' interim head coach when Ross re-signed at midseason last year.
Coughlin expects to be informed of Moeller's decision on the Jaguars job by early next week. Coughlin had interviewed former Washington Redskins and New York Jets defensive coordinator Mike Nolan on Monday.
Dom Capers, who was the Jaguars' defensive coordinator the past two seasons, joined Coughlin's staff in 1999 under circumstances similar to Moeller's. Capers had been fired as head coach of the Carolina Panthers, with whom Capers reached a pay-off on the remaining years of his contract. The Panthers continued to pay Capers while he was on Coughlin's staff. Capers, of course, was named the head coach of the Houston Texans recently.
Moeller was the head coach at the University of Michigan from 1990-94, posting a 44-13-3 record, winning three Big Ten titles and four of five New Year's Day bowl game appearances. He was also the head coach at Illinois from 1977-79.
Prior to his three seasons as an assistant with the Lions, Moeller spent two years as tight ends coach of the Cincinnati Bengals and would've almost certainly been a candidate for the Bengals head job if Dick LeBeau hadn't been retained following his stint as interim head coach last season.
In addition to his duties coaching the Lions linebackers under Ross, Moeller assisted Ross in administrative and consulting matters, and attended team salary cap meetings. He is largely credited with the development of Stephen Boyd into a Pro Bowl middle linebacker.