Recently we heard the Jacksonville Jaguars wanted to hire Byron Leftwich, but the deal reportedly hit an unknown snag. We now might have a better idea of what’s holding the team back from striking a deal with the current Tampa Bay Buccaneers offensive coordinator. And it’s not necessarily a surprise.
According to Chris Porter of First Coast News, Leftwich is absolutely interested in coaching Trevor Lawrence and the rest of the Jaguars, but he reportedly wants general manager Trent Baalke relieved of his duties first.
This should come as no surprise as it’s been noted all along the Jaguars wouldn’t have their full pick of the litter when selecting their next head coach if they didn’t clean house by releasing Baalke from his contract.
We may be seeing that first-hand now with how Leftwich is responding to working alongside Baalke.
Porter also mentions Leftwich would prefer to be paired with the VP of pro scouting with the Cardinals, Adrian Wilson, who is a former NFL player himself.
Would the Jags really choose Trent Baalke over Byron Leftwich?
If the Jaguars ultimately miss out on the chance to hire Byron Leftwich because they want to stick with Trent Baalke, it could be a catastrophic mistake. As we’ve seen, Baalke hasn’t exactly impacted the Jags roster for the better. Who have they added, brought in that helped them turn their season around last year? How did Baalke help supply Lawrence with a positive atmosphere from which to grow and improve?
So far, we haven’t seen anything strong enough to suggest the Jags should hesitate to move on to a new general manager. Generally when hiring a new head coach, an organization wants to ensure the GM and coach are on the same page from day one. From the sounds of it, Leftwich isn’t interested in working with Baalke, if the Jags truly want to hire the QB they once drafted to be their head coach, they shouldn’t let Baalke get in the way.
There’s also a case to be made that the Jaguars shouldn’t allow a head coach to come in and make decisions about the general manager, but it’s a fairly common thread in the NFL. This isn’t really on Leftwich. We’ve seen coaches take gigs and then be paired with a disaster of a GM, thus directly impacting their ability to win on gameday.
A coach can only work with the talent on hand, but if the roster isn’t up to par, their win-loss record will suffer, eventually causing them to be fired. Leftwich should be on high alert before he accepts the first job offered to him. We’ll see what the Jags eventually decide, but Nathaniel Hackett is no longer an option.