The Jacksonville Jaguars have already begun their search for a new head coach, and it sounds like things are off to a rough start. In order to change that, they may have to make a significant front office move.
Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports reports that the Jaguars have already turned off several top candidates by retaining general manager Trent Baalke for their coaching search. Baalke has a poor reputation among coaching circles and a history of becoming wrapped up in power struggles. One agent told La Canfora he wouldn’t even let his client take an interview with the Jags unless Baalke is out.
“My client would have to fire me to take an interview there under this setup,” the agent told La Canfora. “No way. It’s totally backwards.”
Several candidates are open to interviewing with the Jaguars next week, but they reportedly want to gather information about why team owner Shad Khan has chosen to retain Baalke to lead the search. Many executives from other teams believe Khan will eventually have to fire Baalke due to feedback he has received from both fans and potential coaching candidates.
Many of Jacksonville’s candidates seem to prefer a totally clean slate in the wake of Urban Meyer’s brief tenure with the team. Some of the coaches the Jaguars reached out to are skeptical that they can produce positive results with the team as long as Baalke remains GM.
Before he joined the Jaguars’ front office in 2020, Baalke’s previous job was as GM of the San Francisco 49ers from 2011-16. The Niners enjoyed great success early in Baalke’s tenure with the team, but he has been criticized for forcing Jim Harbaugh out. Between that and the Meyer disaster, it would not be a surprise if coaches don’t want to work under him.
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