INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – Doug Marrone feels good about Myles Jack's health.
That was clear this week, with the Jaguars' head coach saying he expects the veteran linebacker to be back from rehabilitating after knee surgery "sometime in mid-March."
Marrone was less specific on where Jack will play next season, praising Jack's versatility but opting not to say whether Jack will remain at middle linebacker – where he has played the past two seasons – or move to the weak-side linebacker position.
"At the end of the day, whatever combination is going to make us a better [team], that's what we're going to do," Marrone said during his 2020 NFL Scouting Combine media availability on Tuesday. "We're going to make sure we better the team as a whole."
Jaguars General Manager David Caldwell, in discussing what he said he considers a deeper linebacker position than the team has had in the past, touched on the idea of Jack moving positions.
"If we can get a guy to come in and if we need to move Myles … Myles offers so much flexibility, whether it's MIKE, WILL, he played SAM in 2017," Caldwell said. "We feel good about that."
Jack began his career at strong-side linebacker, then played strong-side backer in base situations and middle in nickel situations in 2017. He moved to the middle full-time in 2018 following the retirement of Paul Posluszny. Observers have speculated that a move to the weak side could maximize the athleticism that had him projected as a Top 5 selection before concerns over a knee issue caused him to slip into the second round of the 2016 NFL Draft.
"He is a guy that is super talented; he has played multiple positions for us already," Marrone said. "Getting him comfortable is really what my main goal is – and putting him in a spot where he can go and play and maybe not have to worry about a lot of other people.
"He has done a good job. He has been able to call the defenses for us. He has been a leader on that side of the football. We're going to do that in discussions with the player first before we publicly go out there and tell people what we are doing."
Jack, who started the first 59 games of his NFL career, missed the last five games of last season with a knee injury.
"He's doing really well; he's rehabbing well," Marrone said. "We're excited."
Marrone throughout the season and immediately after the season remained strong in his support of defensive coordinator Todd Wash, retaining him next season for his fifth season in the position. Marrone on Tuesday reiterated what he said about Wash at January's Senior Bowl – that he believed strongly in Wash, largely because of Wash's entire body of work as coordinator. "I think it's simple for me to see," Marrone said. The Jaguars finished sixth, second and fifth in the NFL in yards allowed in Wash's first three seasons as coordinator – 2016, 2017 and 2018 – before finishing 24th in the category this past season. "You talk about someone who has been around with me for a long period of time," Marrone said. "When you look at what he has done as a defensive coordinator, over the majority of time, you are talking about a defense that probably ranks fifth in the league [over that span]. A lot of time what happens in this profession is you get caught up in one year and it's, 'Oh my god, we have to make a change because we went down.' There were a lot of reasons. We had a lot of change, we had a lot of turnover on the defensive side. We had injuries on that side of the football. All of those things come into play, but I have complete confidence in Coach Wash and the rest of the defensive staff. We just have to do a better job of coaching and a better job of getting them in position and a better job of playing, too."
Marrone on hiring former Washington Redskins Head Coach Jay Gruden as offensive coordinator and former New York Giants Head Coach Ben McAdoo as quarterbacks head coach this offseason: "When people are former head coaches, they bring [experience], they will be able to help me in the seat I'm in. They understand what's going on. I think those coaches like Jay or Ben, they have dealt with a lot of players, a lot of different people, dealt with a lot of coaches. They have managed a lot of people. I think those people are always going to help you if you handle things the right way. For me, it was just a matter of what do these guys want to do? They want to win for Jacksonville. … Those guys have fit in great. Their communication has been awesome. I'm excited about what we've been doing and where we're going. There is an energy in our offices."