JACKSONVILLE, Florida (AP) — The Jacksonville Jaguars are looking to their past to potentially find their future head coach.
General manager Dave Caldwell said Monday that former New York Giants Tom Coughlin "would be somebody we'd be interested in talking to" about the team's coaching vacancy.
The Jaguars (2-12) fired Gus Bradley after a ninth consecutive loss Sunday. Bradley went 14-48 in four seasons in Jacksonville, the worst winning percentage (.225) of any NFL coach with at least 60 games.
The 70-year-old Coughlin was Jacksonville's first head coach, leading the Jaguars to a 68-60 record in eight seasons (1995-2002). Coughlin resigned last January after 12 seasons with the Giants, but has made it clear he wants to return to the NFL. He is currently serving as a senior adviser to the league's football operations department.
Caldwell could give him a shot at getting back on the sidelines.
"Tom's a great man and a great person, and we'll see where it goes," Caldwell said. "There will be a lot of guys we're interested in talking to."
Coughlin won two Super Bowls with the Giants and led them to the playoffs in four consecutive seasons (2005-08).
"He's got so much experience on myself or on any coach that we have in this building and he's a great individual, so I think you can always learn from people," Caldwell said. "There's always a place for knowledge."
Caldwell said head coaching experience "would be helpful" for Bradley's successor. But he didn't rule out hiring someone without any.
"I don't want to avoid a candidate if he doesn't have it because you can be overlooking a great future head coach," Caldwell said. "Experience is critical, even with our players. Our players are young, but they may lack experience in certain areas and I think experience is invaluable."
Caldwell picked offensive line coach Doug Marrone as the team's interim coach for the final two games. Marrone went 15-17 in two seasons (2013-14) as Buffalo's head coach.
Marrone won't make any major changes when he holds his first team meeting Tuesday. He's even sticking with quarterback Blake Bortles, who was the main reason for Jacksonville's offensive struggles this season.
Caldwell remains committed to and confident in Bortles, but said he won't mandate that the new coach be dedicated to keeping Bortles under center. Bortles is tied for second in the NFL with 20 turnovers, and his sloppy mechanics have caused inaccuracy and inconsistency all season. He also has been playing through a shoulder injury.
"I always feel it's the coach's responsibility to play who he feels like gives us the best chance to win, with anybody," Caldwell said. "I still believe Blake gives us the best chance to win on Sundays. I know he's fighting through a lot of different things from a health standpoint."
Caldwell declined to name any other coaching candidates aside from Coughlin and Marrone.
Former San Francisco 49ers coach and current Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh, Detroit Lions defensive coordinator Teryl Austin, Dallas Cowboys offensive coordinator Scott Linehan, Atlanta Falcons offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan and Pittsburgh Steelers offensive coordinator Todd Haley should get consideration, too.
Caldwell acknowledged that part of the reason Khan fired Bradley with two games remaining was to get a jump on the coaching search, especially after the Los Angeles Rams parted ways with Jeff Fisher last week.
Khan and Caldwell discussed potential scenarios at the owners meetings in Dallas and decided later in the week to fire Bradley following Sunday's game at Houston, win or lose.
"There are some dynamics that when the ball started rolling that we didn't want to be left behind," Caldwell said.
Bradley expressed no hard feelings toward the club.
"I'd just like to be here with this team when it's successful," Bradley said. "The regret I have is not seeing these players (win). When you go through something that's hard and then you come through it and you have success and you say, 'That's why we do it. Look at where it took you.'
"I do believe that's going to happen. I regret not being here to see that."
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