JACKSONVILLE – Senior writer John Oehser examines what we learned from Thursday's press conference to introduce Jaguars Executive Vice of President of Football Operations Tom Coughlin and Head Coach Doug Marrone …
1) There's a new lead dog …Entering Thursday's press conference, it was fair to wonder just how things might play out with the Jaguars' new football organizational structure – If you hadn't been around the Jaguars in the 1990s and early 2000s, that is. Would the culture indeed feel different? Would there really be a sense of a directional change? It didn't take long to learn for sure.
2) … and his name is Tom Coughlin.No one wondered after Thursday's press conference who is running the Jaguars' football operations. Coughlin, the Jaguars' head coach from 1995-2002 who won Super Bowls as the New York Giants' head coach following the 2007 and 2011 seasons, will oversee all football operations. He's in charge, and it's fair to say it's a role he's comfortable playing.
3) Coughlin is a "rock star."Coughlin owned Thursday's press conference in the easiest way there is to own a press conference: by being himself. He knows what he wants and how an NFL team should be run. He was expectedly at ease expressing what that means. His money quote came when asked if winning will be a focus: "What else is there? What the hell would you be doing this for? We are trying to win everything. We are trying to win today. Who is going to get the better lunch? I don't want any misunderstandings on why we are here. This is all nice and dandy, but winning is what this thing is all about." Vintage. Memorable. Classic.
4) Coughlin will have control over the 53.Coughlin emphasized that football decisions will be made as a team, and he emphasized that he expects he and General Manager David Caldwell to work hand-in-hand determining the roster. Khan said if it comes down to one person needing to make a decision that "obviously" will be Coughlin.
5) Coughlin wanted a front-office role.While there were reports late last season that Coughlin wanted to coach again, he made clear Thursday he was ready to change focus. "This is the role I really want," Coughlin said.
6) The structure has credibility.We didn't learn this at the press conference, exactly – but we learned it not long afterward: when the Jaguars on Friday morning hired Joe DeCamillis as special teams coordinator. DeCamillis is a veteran of 24 NFL seasons, and is widely considered one of the NFL's top special teams coaches. Strong first hire.
7) Marrone is ready for his position.It's not really fair to say we learned this Friday. It was evident Marrone was ready for this position during his two weeks as interim head coach at the end of the 2016 season. Marrone looked and acted the part of a head coach then. He did again Thursday. He's a head coach.
8) Players should be ready to work.And soon – as in, really soon. Marrone's money quote? "I hope our players are watching this and understand that they need to be working right now. Again, it is going to be a culture where you earn the right to work every day and win that day." Good stuff.
9) The staff has yet to be decided.Early reports this week that offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett and defensive coordinator Todd Wash were definitely returning in their previous positions were premature. "We have some coaches on board, but we have not defined any roles for our coaches right now," Marrone said.
10) Opinions will be shaped in the coming weeks.Neither Coughlin nor Marrone extensively discussed personnel Thursday. One reason is there certainly are personnel matters neither believe they are yet ready to discuss. Another reason is they are both relatively new to their positions – Coughlin having just re-joined the organization Monday and Marrone recently shifting into a dramatically more comprehensive role. A lot of studying and discussion will take place in the coming weeks – and a lot of decisions, too.
11) Blake Bortles is the Jaguars' quarterback.So said Coughlin and so said Marrone. That doesn't mean Bortles is guaranteed anything. That doesn't mean he will be the starter next season. That doesn't mean there won't be competition. It means Bortles is the quarterback until he isn't.
12) The vibe is new.You couldn't walk out of the press conference Thursday without feeling it. You couldn't watch it on television or online without feeling it. Heck, you couldn't be anywhere near Jacksonville without feeling it. Times have changed around EverBank Field. #winlunch