JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — This was an interesting weekend for Jacksonville Jaguars head coach Doug Marrone. On Saturday, an ESPN report stated he had been told he would be dismissed following Sunday's game vs. the Indianapolis Colts, only for the report to be disputed by the Jaguars.
A day later, Marrone led the Jaguars to a 38-20 trouncing of the Colts at TIAA Bank Field, a positive ending to an otherwise miserable 6-10 season. With rumors swirling about his job status, Marrone was able to stare the uncertainty dead in the eye and do what he had to do to get Jacksonville its second win in three weeks.
“We’ve had a plan for a while. Obviously the stuff comes out yesterday, which is kind of joke because the one thing I know about [Jaguars Owner] Shad [Khan] and Tony [Khan] is that we’ve had communication and it would come from them," Marrone said after the game. "It’s not going to come from somewhere out in the media, especially if it’s going to come from someone from a national standpoint. That didn’t phase me."
Jim Woodcock, Shad Khan's spokesman, said Saturday that Shad Khan would meet with Marrone mid-week to decide his fate. From what Marrone indicated, that has been the plan for some time.
"For weeks now, it’s always been, ‘Hey, exit interviews, meeting during the week, coming up with a plan,’ and I think Shad and Tony are going to look and see if that’s the right plan and make the best decision," Marrone said.
At this point it seems as if nobody knows what the future holds for Marrone, himself included. Until the fateful decision comes down from the Jaguars' ownership, things will be kept in limbo.
But regardless of the decision, Marrone knows he has to continue moving forward with a singular focus. Until told otherwise, he is the Jaguars head coach and he is going to try to find ways to improve the team.
There is a line of thinking that Jacksonville having such a good showing in Week 17 could bode well for Marrone, but even he didn't reveal just how much it could mean in the long run. He has been speaking to Shad and Tony Khan, however, and knows that will continue until a decision is made.
"The communication that we’ve had, even though it’s not public, we’ve had a lot of communication," Marrone said. "They want to do the best job they can for our fans and for the city, for our sponsors, for everyone in the building. I know for me; I appreciate that and thank them. I feel that it’s been disappointing. I know in my heart that I can take this team to better roads, but again, that’s not my decision.”
Marrone will likely have to sell the team's owners on if he should return in 2020, but from the mood of the Jaguars' jubilant locker room on Sunday, he doesn't have to do much to convince his players.
Several Jaguars players have given Marrone votes of confidence in the past few weeks, and the same positivity about the coach flew around the locker room Sunday.
"I have a lot of respect for coach Marrone. He kept us together through all the thick and thin, ups and downs this season and kept us focused," defensive lineman Calais Campbell said. "Obviously, we didn't play as good as we wanted to this whole season but being able to finish all that we have and stay together is really a testament to his coaching ability. I think we can win a Super Bowl with him as our head coach.”
But for now, all Marrone can do is reflect on Sunday's win and wait for Shad and Tony Khan's decisions. He will have to live with the disappointment of the 2019 season while also having to balance the uncertainty of his own future.
"Am I disappointed? Obviously. Am I concerned? Yes," Marrone said. "You are always concerned when you have a disappointing season, but for this moment, when I leave here, when I’m done answering the questions, which I really appreciate everyone being great all year, I might have a little bit more than one beer.”