In light of Jeff Fisher replacing running backs coach Earnest Byner with Kennedy Pola, I got this tweet from @jaxjaggywires:
"Fire the RB coach after a 2000 yard season by [Chris] Johnson? Little odd, isn't it?"
To which I responded:
"So if you have a great year, it's unquestionably because of your boss? Pola had good year too and was allowed to leave?"
POLAI have no insider information on the move. But I do know this: Fisher has attempted to lure Pola from Jacksonville at least once, and maybe twice, before. I suspect, knowing Pola was available, Fisher found the opportunity to add him simply too good to pass up, making this move more about the incoming guy than the outgoing one. Still, given Fisher's penchant for loyalty, Byner obviously hadn't won him over.
The Jaguars denied Pola permission to talk to Tennessee once before that was reported. And if the move was more about Byner than Pola, than Fisher probably could have brought back Sherman Smith, the respected running back coach who left to become offensive coordinator for Jim Zorn in Washington and recently joined Pete Carroll’s staff in Seattle, where Smith played.
I think Fisher really likes Pola.
There is a USC connection. Pola played for the Trojans and logged time as a USC assistant.
I suspect Fisher also found it a chance to jab Jack Del Rio, and it’s been clear for some time that despite their USC connection, the two head coaches aren’t especially enamored with each other.
Pola is the second Jaguars assistant who left for a lateral move -- Mike Tice went from overseeing tight ends for Del Rio to coaching the offensive line in Chicago.
It seems part of the organizational direction Wayne Weaver sees for the Jaguars includes some fresh perspective on Del Rio’s staff. Both Tice and Pola were part of what was regarded as an inner circle for Del Rio, who will now have to turn to others to lean on.