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Firing Del Rio ends Jaguars run of stability

11/29/2011

The Jacksonville Jaguars have had only two head coaches in franchise history – a mark of stability that only a few other teams can match – but they’ll soon have a third.
The team fired head coach Jack Del Rio on Tuesday and will begin its search for a permanent replacement. The team announced that defensive coordinator Mel Tucker will serve as interim coach.

Only two men, Tom Coughlin and Del Rio, have ever coached a game for the Jaguars. That’s a 17-year span which includes 267 regular-season games. Since the Jaguars entered the NFL in 1995, only a select few programs can say they’ve had that kind of stability.

The Titans (Jeff Fisher and Mike Munchak), the Steelers (Bill Cowher and Mike Tomlin) and the Eagles (Ray Rhodes and Andy Reid) are the only other teams who can make that claim. We’re not counting the Texans, who also only have had two head coaches (Dom Capers and Gary Kubiak), since their franchise didn’t begin until 2002.

Comparing to Coughlin

The timing works out in an interesting way – Del Rio is fired as he’s tied with Coughlin for the most wins in Jaguars history. Both men have 68. However, that’s where most of the similarities end.

Jack Del Rio
Del Rio

Tom Coughlin
Coughlin

It took Del Rio 11 more games that Coughlin to get his 68 wins. And while Del Rio’s Jaguars never won the AFC South, Coughlin’s did twice – in 1998 and 1999. Coughlin is also responsible for four of the franchise’s five playoff wins.

All told, Coughlin made the playoffs four times in his eight season in Jacksonville. Del Rio made it twice in nine seasons.

Del Rio’s fate tied to Garrard?

One could argue that Del Rio's fate was sealed on September 8 when the Jaguars released quarterback David Garrard.

Jaguars Passing

That was just five days before the Jags season-opener, which they actually won 16-14 with Luke McCown at quarterback. However, the quarterback play has been underwhelming ever since.

McCown was benched after a four-interception game in Week 2. Blaine Gabbert has started the last nine games but has just six touchdown passes and a completion percentage under 50 percent.

The result is a Total QBR that ranks the Jaguars last in the NFL. The new Jaguars coach will be just the third in the franchise’s history, and he’ll likely have to make improving the QB play one of his top priorities.