Tuesday January 12th, 2010

After a profitable meeting with owner Wayne Weaver this morning in Jacksonville, Jaguars coach Jack Del Rio will stay in his current job for at least the 2010 season.

Del Rio, 58-57 in seven seasons at the helm, was thought to be on shaky ground with Weaver for a few reasons. He's only won one playoff game in his tenure and the Jags had a miserable end-of-the-year stretch by finishing with a four-game losing streak. Complicating matters, it was no secret the job at USC held some allure for Del Rio, a Trojans' alum, in the wake of Pete Carroll leaving for the Seahawks over the weekend.

But Weaver opted for something few owners in the league choose these days -- stability. The Jaguars played 16 rookies this season, including both starters at tackle on offense, and 33 players appeared in their first games for Jacksonville in the 2009 season.

Going forward, Del Rio will have to figure out who his quarterback is short- and long-term; David Garrard had a shaky season, suffering a career-high 42 sacks for the second consecutive season. Florida quarterback Tim Tebow would be a tempting pick for the marketability of the franchise. General manager Gene Smith is thought to not be a great fan of Tebow as an every-down quarterback, and Jacksonville has the 10th pick overall in the April draft. But that's probably too high to pick Tebow. Jacksonville also needs to find someone to pressure the passer. Its two high picks from 2008, Derrick Harvey and Quentin Groves, have been huge disappointments.

The offshoot of this story is that Southern Cal will have to move on in its search for a new coach, having seen candidates Mike Riley, Chris Petersen, Jeff Fisher, Steve Sarkisian and now Del Rio stay in their jobs rather than seek one of the premier jobs in college football.

The L.A. Daily News reported Tuesday that USC had sent Del Rio a contract Monday night. The newspaper said Del Rio hadn't accepted the job because his NFL contract could be a stumbling block. Del Rio had denied USC gave him a contract.

If Weaver had fired Del Rio, he would have been owed more than $15 million.

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