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When it comes to the Jacksonville Jaguars finding a new coach, general manager Trent Baalke is certain to play a role. Just not in the way you might think.
According to Jason La Confora of CBS Sports, Baalke’s presence may be serving as a hindrance, and could actually deter potential candidates from taking the job — or even wanting an interview.
It’s been quite a mess of a season again for the Jags, who started the year off with a bang after hiring Urban Meyer as coach and drafting quarterback Trevor Lawrence with the No. 1 overall pick. Meyer was fired just past the midseason point after a series of on- and off-field issues, and Jaguars owner Shad Khan has already started the interview process with possible replacements.
La Canfora reported, however, that Baalke could be a sticking point, as his team-building abilities have understandably been called into question. La Canfora added that “many of those [potential candidates] harbor reservations about the ability to truly thrive in Jacksonville” with Baalke calling the roster shots.
For starters, Baalke has seemingly been pushing for Alabama offensive coordinator Bill O’Brien, formerly of Penn State and the Houston Texans, as a candidate. “The latter’s ugly exit from Houston in 2020 was mired in exactly the sort of problem the Jaguars will be looking to avoid,” wrote Adam La Rose of Pro Football Rumors.
Meanwhile, per ESPN’s Mike Reiss, New England Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels isn’t likely to be interested in the vacancy as long as Baalke remains Jaguars GM.
Translation: While Khan has indicated Baalke isn’t going anywhere, the team owner may want to reconsider to land the coach he really wants. It’s definitely something on which to keep an eye as the regular season comes to a close next week.