It has not been a good season for the Jacksonville Jaguars. Rumors, innuendo and bad coaching decisions have plagued the team this season. There has even been talk the Jags are the team the NFL wants to move into the new stadium in Los Angeles.
None of that matters now. The Jags are working on the here and now. Today they will announce the firing of their head coach Jack Del Rio.
Not that this move was unexpected. Last season the Jaguars ownership gave Del Rio an ultimatum. Make the playoffs or be gone. Del Rio almost immediately made it known the playoffs were out of the question. In the pre season Del Rio cut starting quarterback David Garrard, instead going with Luke McCown, then later rookie Blaine Gabbard.
This season, Jacksonville is 3-8 and coming off a loss Sunday to 20-13 against Houston. It was a game that the Jaguars played hard and didn’t give up in. But in the end, just like the rest of the regular season, it wasn’t enough.
Del Rio took over the Jags job in 2003 from Tom Coughlin. He is the second head coach in team history and has had some success. Jacksonville never won the AFC South, but did finish second in 2005 with a 12-4 record, losing in the Wild card game. Two years later, the Jags were 11-5 and again second in the division. Yet they won a playoff game, only to lose in the second round to New England.
That was the highlight of Del Rio’s coaching career. Since that 2007 season, the Jags have not won more than 8 games in a single season. Del Rio’s record with the Jags will finish at 68 wins and 71 losses, with a 1-2 playoff record.
Del Rio was offered the coaching spot at his alma mater USC before Lane Kiffin took the post in 2010. In retrospect, Del Rio might have played this game the wrong way. It appeared he wanted a contract extension from Jacksonville ownership and played the USC card in private to get it. Yet now he is out.
Del Rio is a good coach that should find a job elsewhere either in college or the Pros. But for now he is out in Jacksonville.