Lame Duck Coaches Fleeing Jacksonville

Jaguars owner Wayne Weaver's decision to keep most of his assistant coaches on one-year deals appears to be backfiring, as most are leaving for jobs with more security. What does this mean for Jack Del Rio and the 2011 season?

Jaguars owner Wayne Weaver is finding out the football business isn't the same as a normal business.

Weaver has made what seems like sound business decisions, but they are backfiring on the Jaguars. For example, his decision to end the team's defined benefit pension program will save the team money.

And his decision to put all the assistant coaches on one-year contracts so he wouldn't have to pay them if they're fired at the end of the season also could save the team money if they are fired.

But the result has been that the Jaguars have lost two quarterbacks coaches in the offseason. And they would have lost more assistants if they hadn't denied them permission to interview for lateral positions.

First, the Jaguars lost quarterbacks coach Mike Shula to Carolina. He was free to leave because his contract had expired. They also lost assistant defensive line coach Ben Albert to Temple.

And this week, Todd Monken, who had moved from the receivers coach position to the quarterbacks coach position, left for Oklahoma State where he will be the offensive coordinator with more job security.

He had previously been denied the opportunity to interview with another NFL team.

That means the Jaguars will have to find a quarterbacks coach who is willing to take a one-year deal with no security. And offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter, who was denied permission to interview for the same job in St. Louis, will have to spend the offseason teaching the new quarterbacks coach the offense.

Weaver defended the one-year move, saying, "I sat down with some of our coaches and explained. My mentality is I've been very loyal to our coaches over the years. I think we pay our coaches really well here. We treat them well. So I've said look, I guess I'm old school somewhere. I've now been in the business world 56 years. And I've never had a contract in my life. Even in the big jobs when I was a CEO. It was my own company so I didn't have to give myself a contract. But I've had a contract in my life.

"So all I'm saying is just go work hard, do your jobs and everything works well in the end. That's all I'm asking people to do. I have all the confidence in our coaches."

He said the team showed growth in the last couple of years and added, "Now everybody has to work a little harder to make sure we show that growth again this year."

Meanwhile, it remains to be seen if working harder is the answer.

The assistant coaches are all lame-duck coaches facing an ultimatum that they have to make the playoffs to keep their jobs.

And Weaver admits the Jaguars can't fix all of their problems in the draft and hope to find help in free agency.

But with a lockout looming on March 4, nobody knows whether it will be settled in time to have any kind of free agency.

He said, "We have a couple of slots we need to get better at. We know we can't do everything we need to fix in the draft. We're realistic there. If a player or two or whatever who is out there that can come in and really help this football team, we're going to be open to that. We're just not going to make some of the mistakes they've made in the past."

In the past, they've paid big money to aging over-the-hill veterans like Hugh Douglas and Jerry Porter.

So the Jaguars head into the offseason with a lame-duck coaching staff and holes to fill in free agency even though they don't know what free agency will be like.

The result is there is a lot of uncertainty surrounding the team this year.

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