When the Jacksonville Jaguars relieved now former head coach Gus Bradley of his duties, speculation began almost immediately regarding his successor.
There had already been speculation that should Bradley be fired this year that former New York Giants‘ head coach Tom Coughlin would be on their short list. Coughlin’s first head coaching job in the NFL was as the Jaguars’ first head coach when the team was founded in 1995. He coached the fledgling franchise for eight years before being fired after the 2002 season. Coughlin was then hired as the Giants’ head coach following the 2003 season.
When Coughlin stepped down as the Giants’ head coach following the 2015 season, he did not close the door on coaching again. This past spring he said that his “motor is starting to run again” in regards to coaching. Coughlin also maintains strong ties to the Jacksonville area through the Tom Coughlin Jay Fund.
Monday afternoon, Jaguars’ GM Dave Caldwell confirmed that Coughlin is indeed on the Jaguars’ list of head coaching candidates as they begin their search, saying "Tom Coughlin is someone we'd be interested in talking to.”
The biggest obstacle to a reunion between Coughlin and the Jags is the coach’s age. At 70 now and 71 by the time the 2017 season starts, the Jaguars might be reticent to hire a coach his age. Even with the pedigree of a two-time Super Bowl champion, Coughlin’s decidedly “Old School” approach to discipline might be a difficult sell to a young locker room without veterans like Eli Manning, Justin Tuck, or Antrel Rolle to translate his message.
It is also possible that if the Jaguars do indeed hire Coughlin they might want him to bring a “coach in waiting” with him. If so, he could tap current Giants’ coordinator Mike Sullivan to be his offensive coordinator in Jacksonville. Sullivan might jump at the opportunity to run his own offense again, and with Blake Bortles’ arm strength and the vertical threats of Allen Robinson and Allen Hurns, the Jags offer an intriguing fit with the Run N’ Shoot offense Sully learned from Kevin Gilbride. Coughlin could also look to former Giants’ defensive coordinator Perry Fewell (current Redskins defensive backs coach), who has some experience as a head coach as the Buffalo Bill’s interim head coach.
Of course this is all speculation as of now, but Jacksonville’s coaching search will be something to keep an eye on, and could potentially have ramifications for the Giants.