Did the Internal Criticism of Doug Marrone Come From Tom Coughlin?

John Shipley

Jacksonville Jaguars head coach Doug Marrone made an open admission during a Tuesday press conference at TIAA Bank Field that he has faced internal criticism from within the Jaguars' organization in the past for how he went about preparing the team. Who did or didn't critique Marrone wasn't made any clearer on Wednesday.

“I’ve been criticized, even within the organization, of how the team was, and how I trained the team," Marrone said Tuesday when asked about if he has any regrets to a safe approach in the 2019 preseason.

When Marrone stated this, many connected the dots and assumed it was executive vice president of football operations Tom Coughlin who passed down the criticism. Coughlin spoke publicly for the first time since April on Wednesday and was asked about the Marrone comments, but he failed to provide much clarity.

“That would be between Doug and I. It's not for anyone else," Coughlin said when asked if he was the one who critiqued Marrone.

Coughlin was also about Marrone's job status heading into 2020, quickly replying "Five games to win.” 

Later in his Tuesday press conference, Marrone was asked to elaborate on his comments about internal criticism, and he stated that it wasn't "unnormal" for a head coach, but he said it was out of the norm for him to admit such criticism happened.

“I’m not going to stand up here and lie, but I’m also not going to make this thing a huge story… so, if you guys want to print it and go, I’m just telling you the truth," Marrone said. 

"That’s just how it is. And you know what, though, just to add to that, that’s not the first time that’s ever happened to me, and I’m sure it’s not the first time it’s ever happened to anyone in my position. So, it’s not abnormal. What’s probably not normal is me saying ‘Yes,’ that I have been [criticized]. But like I said before, I don’t have a lot of secrets and I’m really boring, so I don’t have a lot of [explicit] to hide.”

Jacksonville currently sits at 4-7 and has lost each of its last three games by 20 points or more. The recent stretch of bad play and lack of competitive games has led many to wonder if Marrone is on the hot seat, but Coughlin didn't say Wednesday if his head coach's job was in jeopardy or not. Coughlin also didn't elaborate on how he assesses the job Marrone has done leading the team this season.

“Well, as I keep saying, we have five games to go and then there will certainly be an evaluation of every one of us. Of everybody," Coughlin said. 

The one positive endorsement of Marrone that Coughlin did provide however was when asked about the growth of running back Leonard Fournette, who Coughlin has clashed with in the past.

“Leonard has made great progress along those lines. I think that Doug has done a great job with all of the players on this team," Coughlin said. "They all are -- the extension, as you well know, from the very beginning was trust. Trust and communication. And he’s done a great job of that. And Leonard, in return, has been one who has communicated, and [Running Backs Coach] Terry Robiskie and Leonard, and they have worked together to be a really solid part of our team.”

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