JACKSONVILLE – Todd Wash's overall record is strong.
That's fact, and Head Coach Doug Marrone said that's something he considered when deciding the shape of the Jaguars' coaching staff moving forward.
"I look at the body of work, and I can see things on the inside," Marrone said last week at the 2020 Reese's Senior Bowl in Mobile, Ala.
The Jaguars' coaching staff was a topic last week after Marrone announced the hiring of Jay Gruden as offensive coordinator. Gruden replaced John DeFilippo, who coordinated the Jaguars' offense to rankings of 20th in yards and 26th in points in his lone season with the team.
The Jaguars' defense ranked 24th in the NFL in yards allowed and 21st in points allowed this past season. So, why retain Wash? Marrone said the reasons were multiple, including the Jaguars' defense from 2016-2018 – Wash's first three seasons as coordinator.
The Jaguars ranked Nos. 6, 2 and 5 in the NFL in yards allowed in those seasons, but Marrone said the defensive statistics were only part of why he felt strongly about Wash.
"I don't like throwing out all the stats because people are like, 'Oh, it's like defending,''' Marrone said. "I don't feel like his body of work needs to be defended. Now, do we all have to do a better job than we did the last two years? Absolutely."
Marrone also cited his extensive experience with Wash. The two have worked together since 2015, with Wash serving as the Jaguars' defensive line coach in 2015 and line coach/coordinator in 2016, Marrone's two seasons as the Jaguars' offensive line coach. Wash has served as coordinator under Marrone the past three seasons.
"It's like anything else in this sport: if you're not performing up to your level of what's expected of you from a fans' standpoint, you're going to get people who want to see change … they want something done," Marrone said. "It's no different than in my position. There are people out there who want me to be changed and I understand that. It's not like I'm sitting there going, 'I can't believe them …' I'm not like that. I get that. I understand what the profession is."
But while Marrone said he understands observers wanting change, he said he absolutely didn't see change necessary in Wash's case.
"I've been with Wash for five years," Marrone said. "I got to watch him very closely when I was the O-Line coach and he was the D-Line coach and then three years as a coordinator. When you look at the body of work, what we've done defensively over the course of time, you're talking about a Top 10 defense.
"There have been a lot of changes on defense. We have changed to try to put our players in better position. I think in the end it's going to help us and we're going to be back to the level of defense we want to play at. And that's why I made the choice with what's best for the team."
General Manager David Caldwell sees strengths in the Jaguars' tight-end group. He also sees where the group can get stronger. Caldwell, speaking at the Senior Bowl, lauded veteran tight end James O'Shaughnessy as showing strong signs this past season before a season-ending torn anterior cruciate ligament against Carolina in Week 5. "We see some things there," Caldwell said of the fifth-year veteran who caught 14 passes for 153 yards and two touchdowns in five games in 2019. Caldwell also said the team remains confident in Josh Oliver, who caught three passes for 15 yards in a four-game 2019 rookie season shortened by hamstring and back injuries. "He's a guy we remain high on," Caldwell said. Caldwell added that Oliver needs the sort of offseason/Year Two jump experienced last season by wide receiver D.J. Chark, who caught 14 passes as a rookie in 2018 before making the Pro Bowl in 2019. "It's important," Caldwell said of the tight-end group. "That's a very important position for us to look at. We just have to find some more pieces there."
Caldwell while attending the Senior Bowl also discussed the linebacker corps, saying of Myles Jack that "We still feel good about him and what he brings to the team." Caldwell noted that Jack can play either middle or weak-side linebacker, having started at middle the past two seasons after starting at strong-side backer as a rookie in 2016, and then playing strong in base situations and middle in nickel situations in 2017. Caldwell also discussed Quincy Williams, who – like Oliver – was a third-round selection in the 2019 NFL Draft. Williams started the first five games of the season, then was replaced in the lineup by veteran Najee Goode. Williams then started three more games – Weeks 12-14 -- before finishing the season on injured reserve with a hand injury. "Quincy's a guy who has rare traits in term of speed and athleticism and explosion," Caldwell said. "He just has to really just come grips with the defense. He had some brilliant flashes and some eye-catching plays and then he had some other situations where just because he's raw and inexperienced at the position he had had some downfalls."
Marrone on watching Sunday's Super Bowl: "Normally, I don't because it's been disappointing. But I'll watch. I know I came out one time and said I didn't watch it. I caught so much crap. Now, I just go ahead and say, "Yeah, OK, I'm going to watch it." So, now I watch it, and no one can give me any more crap."