By HCR Staff | Aug. 30, 2018
Between now and the start of the 2018 season, Head Coach Ranking will provide a scouting report on all 32 NFL head coaches. Today, we’ll take a look at Jacksonville Jaguars head coach Doug Marrone.
Doug Marrone is a very confident guy — no matter what, he believes in himself and he simply doesn’t care what anybody else thinks.
All one has to do is look at how he left his first NFL head coaching job in Buffalo. After leading the Bills to their first winning record after nine consecutive losing seasons, Marrone chose to leave the Bills after failing to reach a contract extension. At the time he left, there was no guarantee that Marrone would ever get another head coaching opportunity again. That was Marrone’s way of showing confidence in himself, as well as telling the Bills that he wasn’t going to get pushed around in negotiations.
Just recently, reporters asked Marrone for his reaction to Eagles head coach Doug Pederson’s criticism of Marrone’s decision to take a knee just before halftime of last year’s AFC Championship Game. Marrone responded by telling reporters that he’d read a book this summer titled “The Subtle Art of Not Giving a (expletive).” That’s Marrone — confident, and a little bit of a wise guy.
But if he is a wise guy, he also has a team playing winning, wise-guy football.
The Jags are built in his mold: tough, confident, and they’re going to do it their way.
Marrone isn’t a top-tier strategist – yet — but we believe he’ll get there. He’d rather simply try to have his team dominate your team physically and beat you into submission. Having said that, the Jaguars did an excellent job last year on special teams in successfully pulling off a number of surprises.
The quality of Marrone’s in-game decision-making isn’t as consistent from week to week as the top-rated head coaches in our rankings. There are too many times where decisions seem to be made without much reason or coordination with his coordinators. While Marrone did not like anyone questioning his decision to kneel at the end of the first half during the AFC Championship Game, it was a legitimate criticism. We could understand why Marrone made that decision, but at that precise moment in the game, even another three points by the Jags might have sealed the deal psychologically going into halftime. However, Marrone knows his team better than anyone on the outside. And besides, he later had a 10-point fourth-quarter lead anyway — the Jags simply could not protect it.
Still, it’s hard to ignore what Marrone accomplished in 2017. He inherited a team that went 3-13 in 2016. He made a run in the playoffs despite losing back-to-back road games to end the season. And he beat the Steelers on the road twice, including in the playoffs.
Marrone is getting better and better as a head coach. He has a young team and relatively inexperienced coordinators. His QB is young, and his best defensive player (Jalen Ramsey) also is very young. So Marrone’s “keep it simple, stupid” strategy has some brilliance to it. Marrone now has bigger expectations, though, and it is a new pressure he’s never faced before. But somehow we suspect Marrone would tell us how much he doesn’t care.
Previous HC Previews:
Pete Carroll, Seattle Seahawks
Sean McVay, Los Angeles Rams
Kyle Shanahan, San Francisco 49ers
Steve Wilks, Arizona Cardinals
Mike McCarthy, Green Bay Packers
Mike Zimmer, Minnesota Vikings
Matt Patricia, Detroit Lions
Matt Nagy, Chicago Bears
Dirk Koetter, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Sean Payton, New Orleans Saints
Dan Quinn, Atlanta Falcons
Ron Rivera, Carolina Panthers
Jay Gruden, Washington Redskins
Pat Shurmr, New York Giants
Jason Garrett, Dallas Cowboys
Doug Pederson, Philadelphia Eagles
Jon Gruden, Oakland Raiders
Vance Joseph, Denver Broncos
Anthony Lynn, Los Angeles Chargers
Andy Reid, Kansas City Chiefs
John Harbaugh, Baltimore Ravens
Hue Jackson, Cleveland Browns
Marvin Lewis, Cincinnati Bengals
Mike Tomlin, Pittsburgh Steelers