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View from the O-Zone: "There has to be improvement"

Marrone-Caldwell Presser-12

JACKSONVILLE – One thing became apparent Tuesday:

The Jaguars want it known – clearly – that the same won't be enough moving forward.

Owner Shad Khan made that clear in a statement early Tuesday, and Head Coach Doug Marrone and General Manager David Caldwell made it just as clear later in the day.

Yes, the two forward-facing faces running the Jaguars – Marrone and Caldwell – will be familiar in 2020. But Khan, Caldwell and Marrone all emphasized – repeatedly – that doesn't mean what happened the last two seasons can keep happening.

"The 2019 season was unacceptable and I've made my dissatisfaction clear," Khan said in a statement released Tuesday around 10 a.m.

That was the major sentiment around TIAA Bank Field Tuesday, a day that began with a morning statement from Khan that he was retaining Marrone and Caldwell in their current positions. That means Marrone will return for his fourth season as head coach and that Caldwell will return for his eighth season as general manager.

The theme continued in a mid-afternoon press conference featuring Marrone and Caldwell.

"Shad has made it very clear to both of us that the results of the past two seasons are nothing short of disappointing and expectations are high going forward," Marrone said during a statement to open the availability.

Caldwell agreed.

"There has to be improvement," Caldwell said. "There are no ifs ands or buts about that. What that's going to look like this time next year, we'll have to wait and see, but we feel confident we have a plan to put together to be vastly improved."

Khan in announcing the decision said he met with Caldwell, Marrone and their staffs in recent days – and he also said he met with Jaguars players Monday in the wake of a 6-10 last-place AFC South season. Khan said the discussions – and not a season-ending victory over Indianapolis – shaped his decision.

He emphasized the need to "compete for a postseason berth in 2020," and a belief that "this is not the time to consider an overhaul of our organization." He also said that the team's "second-half collapse" after a 4-4 start couldn't be explained.

Khan's statement also emphasized the December dismissal of Executive Vice President of Football Operations Tom Coughlin, noting that Caldwell, Marrone and Coughlin all received four-year contract extensions following the team's run to the AFC Championship Game following the 2017 season.

"Only two seasons have passed and one change from that leadership team has already been made," Khan said. "I want to see what we produce under a new organizational structure in 2020.

Khan added, "Goals have been established. Accountability will be paramount."

Khan said Coughlin's former role will not be filled next season, which means Caldwell and Marrone will report to directly to Khan – as they did on an interim basis in the two weeks since Coughlin's departure.

The two men now leading the team's football operations spoke at a joint press conference at 3 p.m. at TIAA Bank Field, and their themes echoed that in the release.

Caldwell and Marrone didn't just talk with pull-out quotes about improvement and expectations. They discussed extensively the need for better communication within the building, emphasizing improved communication between coaching and scouting to improve the quality of players being signed and drafted.

Marrone stopped short of predicting what record would signify success, saying that to do was to "sell everyone short." Marrone then explained his mindset entering a season is to "win every single game that we can possibly have the opportunity of winning, which is 16 to begin with – and after that you're going after it again."

"I think the mindset of the head coach has to be that way," he said, adding: "As a coach in the NFL, the only way you're going to feel true success – where you're going to define it and say, 'Yes' – is being able to get to that last game and go.

"Now, do we have a lot of work? Absolutely. Am I going to put a limit on this football team? Never. Whatever happens with the results, you have to be accountable for and you have to live with. That's the mindset of myself and all of our coaches: 'Let's go out there and compete and see where we are.'''

The availability touched on other topics. Caldwell said re-signing free-agent defensive end Yannick Ngakoue is a priority, and Marrone and Caldwell both said they believe the team's relationship with the NFL Players Association – a relationship damaged during Coughlin's time with the organization – can be repaired.

Those were the details, and they matter to the future of the organization. But the big picture of the availability was about sending a couple of messages. One is that the Jaguars will be a more communicative organization moving forward.

And maybe the biggest one was that what happened the past two seasons won't be enough in the next one.

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