Another day, another confounding development in the Jaguars' search for their next head coach.
On Sunday morning of NFL Championship week, Ian Rapoport shared that Rams' offensive coordinator Kevin O'Connell had emerged as a candidate for the Jaguars' head coaching vacancy. In a vacuum, there's certainly nothing wrong with O'Connell being a candidate. He's been the offensive coordinator for Los Angeles over the last two seasons, both of which have resulted in impressive offensive outputs. Of course, how much KOC contributed to those offenses — while not calling the plays — is up for debate. But the Sean McVay coaching tree is hot right now, so there's no issue with interviewing his top offensive lieutenant.
The problem? The Jaguars can't interview Kevin O'Connell. At least not for another two weeks. Because Jacksonville never requested to interview O'Connell during the two-week window that the NFL allowed current assistants to interview for jobs with other teams, the Jags aren't permitted to speak with the Rams' offensive coordinator until after the Super Bowl. Meanwhile, the Vikings will interview O'Connell for a second time this week.
The Jaguars fired Urban Meyer on December 16th. Yet somehow, they didn't identify Kevin O'Connell as one of their head coaching candidates until January 30th? How is that even possible? And how did they not realize that if the Rams won the NFC Championship, they wouldn't even be allowed to speak with O'Connell until after the Super Bowl? A baffling situation, indeed.
On Monday morning, Tom Pelissero reported the Jaguars' plans to interview former Raiders interim head coach and special team coordinator Rich Bisaccia. Again, in a vacuum, Bisaccia is a qualified candidate. Despite multiple controversies surrounding the organization, he led the Raiders to a 7-5 record and a playoff birth as the interim head coach. He's been in the NFL since 2002 and has been an assistant head coach at multiple stops. There isn't a Raiders' player or staff member who has a bad thing to say about the guy. So again, interviewing Bisaccia to be the next head coach is a fine idea. But the Raiders have been eliminated from the playoffs since January 15th. So why, over two weeks later, are the Jaguars interviewing him for the very first time?
All of this points back to the dysfunction at the top of the organization. Trent Baalke and Shad Khan are leading a head coaching search that offers little in the way of logic. The logical decision would have been to part ways with general manager Trent Baalke — who is universally disliked in the football world — and hire a head coach and general manager who are aligned in their vision for the organization. Instead, it appears the Jaguars are searching for someone, anyone, who is willing to risk working with Trent Baalke, an executive who has miraculously outlasted the last five coaches he's worked with. This despite not helping a team to a winning record in nearly a decade.
It appeared the Jaguars were on their way to hiring rising star Byron Leftwich less than a week ago. But with no news on that front, negotiations have stalled. According to multiple reports, Leftwich wanted to bring Adrian Wilson — who he worked with in Arizona — with him as the general manager, but there was just one problem: Shad Khan's unwillingness to part ways with Trent Baalke.
The Jaguars are the laughing stock of the NFL right now, and for good reason. A team with a golden goose quarterback Trevor Lawrence, the number one overall pick in the draft, and a treasure trove of salary cap space, should have no problem finding a head coach. But that's precisely what's happening in Jacksonville.
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