Jags part ways with Marrone after 1-15 season

  • Covered University of Florida for 13 seasons for ESPN.com and Florida Times-Union
  • Graduate of Jacksonville University
  • Multiple APSE award winner

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — The Jaguars parted ways with head coach Doug Marrone on Monday after the worst season in franchise history.

“I am committed and determined to deliver winning football to the City of Jacksonville,” team owner Shad Khan said in a statement. “Realizing that goal requires a fresh start throughout our football operations, and with that in mind I spoke this morning with Doug Marrone to express my gratitude for his hard work over the past four seasons as the head coach of the Jacksonville Jaguars.”

Marrone has one year remaining on his contract and will be paid through the 2021 season. The team fired general manager Dave Caldwell on Nov. 29, and both openings should be highly sought-after because the Jaguars hold the No. 1 overall pick in the 2021 NFL draft and have four picks in the first two rounds and seven in the first four.

Sunday’s loss to Indianapolis in the season finale dropped the Jaguars to 1-15 and was their 15th loss in a row, two worse than the franchise’s previous record set over the 2012 and 2013 seasons. It also was the Jaguars’ 21st loss in their last 24 games, dating back to a Week 8 victory over the New York Jets in the 2019 season. Fifteen of those losses were by double digits.

Marrone, 56, has a 25-44 record, including the postseason, in four-plus seasons with the Jaguars, which includes a 12-36 mark since winning the AFC South with a 10-6 record in 2017 and making an appearance in the AFC title game. That was the franchise’s first division title since 1999 and first playoff appearance since 2007.

Three seasons later they’re one of the league’s worst teams. Entering the finale against the Colts, the Jaguars had already given up a franchise-record 464 points, and they ranked 27th or worse in the NFL in the four major defensive statistical categories (yards per game, rushing, passing and scoring). Offensively, the Jaguars ranked 27th or worse in yards per game, rushing and scoring, and ranked 20th in passing, which is largely a product of falling behind big in games and having to abandon the run.

The Jaguars upset Indianapolis in the season opener and then lost a close game to Tennessee in Nashville, where they’ve struggled to keep games close over the past six seasons, to create some optimism that the team would be competitive and better than many thought.

Miami, Cincinnati and Houston picked up their first victories of the season against the Jaguars. Per Elias, that makes the Jaguars the first team in NFL history to lose three consecutive games to winless teams (excluding season openers).

Marrone was named the Jaguars’ interim head coach on Dec. 18, 2016, after owner Khan fired Gus Bradley, who compiled a 14-48 record in nearly four seasons. Marrone, who had been the Jaguars’ assistant head coach/offensive line coach since 2015, became the head coach less than a month later.

Marrone served as the Buffalo Bills’ coach in 2013 and 2014, going 15-17 — including Buffalo’s first winning season in 10 years in 2014 (9-7) — before opting out of his contract after an ownership change. He was hired as the Jaguars’ offensive line coach and an assistant coach for offense before the 2015 season.

The Jaguars now join the Jets, Lions, Falcons and Texans as teams with head-coaching openings.

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