Jacksonville Jaguars Head Coaching Candidates

The Jacksonville Jaguars finally made the move. Gus Bradley was relieved of his duties Sunday afternoon after the team blew a 20-8 lead to the Houston Texans. The move had been expected to be made at the end of the season, but it seems all the close losses on top of this blown lead Sunday were the final straw.

Jacksonville Jaguars Head Coaching Candidates

Dave Caldwell and the Jacksonville Jaguars are now in search of their new head coach. There are some interesting candidates this year. Do they want to go with someone who has head coaching experience? Do they want to go with an up and coming coordinator like they did with Gus Bradley? Or maybe some highly thought of college coach?

Here are some potential candidates that they should be eyeing:

Mike Smith

The former Jaguars defensive coordinator was the Atlanta Falcons head coach from 2008-2014. He won NFL Coach of the Year in 2008 in his first season leading the Falcons to an 11-5 record. Over his seven seasons as head coach, he compiled a 66-46 record and appeared in the playoffs four times.

Smith was a highly regarded coordinator in his days in Jacksonville before his success in Atlanta. He is now the defensive coordinator in Tampa Bay and is turning that defense around quickly, helping his argument.

He would bring a candidate with prior success as a head coach. There’s already been plenty of rumors linking him to the position but obviously it’s still early in this process.

Tom Coughlin

The 70-year-old former head coach is a Jacksonville native and has been a hot name in the early goings of potential coaches to take over. Deservedly so, as he had great success when he coached the Jags from 1995-2002 and won two Super Bowls with the New York Giants.

This would be an ideal hire if you want someone with experience that will instill discipline into the young team.

Todd Haley

The former Kansas City Chiefs head coach and current Pittsburgh Steelers offensive coordinator should be a hot name in Jacksonville as this process gets going. He has been a part of some special offensive outputs in Pittsburgh since he arrived.

There has been a lot of talk about his time in Kansas City. There seems to have been a serious rift between him and the front office. That ultimately led to his downfall in Kansas City. He did lead the Chiefs to a 10-6 season while making the playoffs in year two though.

Josh McDaniels

McDaniels figures to be a very hot name when teams are allowed to start interviewing candidates for their head coach vacancies in January. He will get flack for his time in Denver where it seems he struggled to mesh with his team and ultimately didn’t have great success. He made some questionable moves and had the whole locker room against him. It’s been a few years now and I believe he has learned from those past mistakes.

McDaniels holds a lot of risk, but he provides the most upside of the bunch and still brings the prior head coaching experience that I think Dave Caldwell is seeking after taking on a first time head coach in Gus Bradley.

Other Names to consider:

Kyle Shanahan

The young offensive coordinator is doing some impressive things in Atlanta this season. He has that offense humming and has helped turn Matt Ryan and Atlanta around this season.

Jim Schwartz

Schwartz doesn’t seem to be getting as much talk as some of the other potential head coaching candidates but he should be. He is one of the better defensive minds in all of football. He had his ups and downs in Detroit, but ultimately I think he’s ready for another shot.

I fully expect the Jaguars to focus on coaches with previous head coaching experience. The failures of Gus Bradley are fresh in Jacksonville, therefore they likely want to go with someone more proven. These next few weeks should be pretty telling for the Jaguars and will be integral to the future of this organization. They need to hit and hit it big with this hire to get back on track.