JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Things have changed inside the Jacksonville Jaguars' organization, despite things staying the same more than ever.
Jaguars' owner Shad Khan announced Tuesday general manager Dave Caldwell and head coach Doug Marrone would return in their respective roles in 2020 despite two consecutive losing seasons that netted a 11-21 record. But despite the continuity, the trio wants it to be known that the structure of how the team operates is changing.
"The 2019 season was unacceptable and I’ve made my dissatisfaction clear. While many unusual circumstances influenced our season, none can fully explain or defend our second-half collapse with first place in the division within reach on Week 9," Khan said.
"I want to see what we produce under a new organizational structure in 2020. Goals have been established. Accountability will be paramount. As part of our new framework, the position of Executive Vice President of Football Operations will not be filled in 2020. Dave and Doug will each continue to report directly to me, as they have since mid-December."
The unfilled role of executive vice president belonged to Tom Coughlin for the past three seasons. Under this power structure, Marrone and Caldwell reported directly to Coughlin, who had final say on all football matters. No matter what, the buck stopped with Coughlin. That is no longer the case.
"I think the biggest thing is, regardless of what the past was, is moving forward I am going to have a direct line with Shad, kind of like I did earlier," Caldwell said Tuesday. "Tom was great in a lot of aspects for me, both personally and professionally. But this structure here will allow us to communicate directly with the owner and be able to put our plan forward to him with Doug in a collaborative effort."
This restructure of how Jacksonville operates is similar to how the franchise was laid out when Caldwell served as the de facto front office leader from 2013-17. Now, Marrone will presumably have more of a say in football matters than he has in his previous three seasons, where Coughlin loomed over him.
"And there are points that we’ve laid out, or I have laid out, to Shad, and Tony [Khan] and obviously Dave of where I think we need to go to do a better job of that and have an opportunity to get this thing where we all want it," Marrone said Tuesday.
For the last several seasons, it has appeared as if the Jaguars' most critical decisions were being made by one man instead of a collaboration between the front office and coaching staff. With Marrone and Caldwell set to return in 2020, that appears to no longer be the case, and Caldwell thinks the team could be better for instilling more group-oriented thinking.
“Certain teams have different structures in how they do that but my feeling at the places I’ve been that have had success when you have thoughtful processes in place with the coaches and scouts and ownership, you generally make better decisions than one person,” Caldwell said. “And I’m not saying that’s the way it was in the past but I think some of the ideas that Shad, Tony, myself and Doug have come up with our coaching staff and our personnel staff on how we’re going to go about this in February and March and April, I think it’s going to be something where everybody in the organization is going to be on the same page and everybody’s going to be moving forward.”