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Jacksonville Jaguars owner Shad Khan fired general manager Dave Caldwell on Sunday after the team's 10th straight loss, the worst streak in franchise history.
“Dave was exceptionally committed and determined to bring a winner to Jacksonville, but unfortunately, his efforts were not rewarded with the results our fans deserve and our organization expects," Khan said in a statement after the Jaguars’ Week 12 loss to Cleveland. "Our football operation needs new leadership, and we will have it with a new general manager in 2021.”
Head coach Doug Marrone will be retained, at least long enough to finish out the 2020 season, but his fate, and that of his coaching staff, will likely be determined by Caldwell’s replacement. Trent Baalke, a former executive for the 49ers, will act as the interim GM while the club conducts its search for a permanent general manager. Marrone is not expected to continue in his current post after this season.
THE LATEST VICTIM OF SACK-SONVILLE
Caldwell becomes the fourth general manager to receive his pink slips this season, joining Bill O’Brien, Thomas Dimitroff, and Bob Quinn. O’Brien was also the Texans’ head coach at the time of his dismissal, while Dimitroff and Quinn were accompanied by their head coaches, Dan Quinn and Matt Patricia, respectively, on the firing line. Dan Quinn and Patricia were just let go this past Saturday after a second consecutive lopsided loss, the latest coming on Thanksgiving at home.
Caldwell was a first time GM when Kahn hired him in 2013, compiling a 39-87 record during his tenure. The Jags reached the AFC Championship Game in 2018, but most recently have dropped 16 of their last 19 games, including a 1-10 record this year with 11 of those 19 losses coming by double digits.
Caldwell’s ultimate undoing was likely his lack of success in the draft and inability to identify an adequate franchise quarterback. Under his watch, the Jags have handed the keys under center to Blake Bortles, Nick Foles, and Gardner Minshew, with Bortles and Foles receiving large contracts that never panned out. Expectations are that the Jaguars will focus on that position at the top of next year’s draft, but even with no-brainer prospects like Trevor Lawrence and Justin Fields headlining the class, Khan will entrust another GM to make the pick, and likely another coach to groom him.
As noted, Caldwell whiffed on draft picks like Bortles, Luke Joeckel, Taven Bryan, K'Lavon Chaisson, and C.J. Henderson. And when he did hit on players like Jalen Ramsey, Allen Robinson, Yannick Ngakoue, Dante Fowler, and Leonard Fournette, he wasn’t able to retain them for myriad reasons.
The Jaguars won their season opener against the Colts, a potential playoff team, but then lost their next 10, exceeded in futility by only the Jets, with whom they’re now competing for the top pick in the Lawrence and Fields sweepstakes next spring, should they both declare. Their two-point loss to the Browns on Sunday saw Justin Glennon become the third quarterback to start for the team this year, with Minshew recovering from injury and Jake Luton getting benched. Glennon was 20-35 for 235 yards and two touchdowns with no interceptions.