Jaguars VP Tom Coughlin mum on Doug Marrone's future

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Tom Coughlin's first media session in exactly seven months Wednesday was full of short answers, refusals to discuss certain issues and pleas for disgruntled Jacksonville Jaguars fans to show up for the team's final three home games.

What it didn't have? Minimal support or no vote of confidence for coach Doug Marrone.

The Jaguars' executive vice president of football operations did say there were no excuses for the team's 4-7 record and that everyone -- including owner Shad Khan -- needs to be on board with turning things around, but he didn't say whether Marrone would be included.

"Five games to win," was Coughlin's response when asked about Marrone's status beyond this season. He added later, in response to a question about assessing the job Marrone has done this season, that "we have five games to go and then there will certainly be an evaluation of every one of us. Of everybody."

To be fair, Coughlin also wouldn't say whether he would be or wanted to return next season, either. Coughlin, Marrone and general manager Dave Caldwell are all under contract through the 2021 season.

"There are five games to go," he said.

Still, it's notable that Coughlin didn't defend the coach he essentially hand-picked as Gus Bradley's successor in 2017. Khan hired Coughlin in January 2017 and gave him total control of all football matters, and Coughlin told Khan that Marrone was one of two coaches he wanted to work with.

Marrone is 19-24 in his two-plus seasons with the Jaguars, which includes a 10-6 record in 2017. Since a 3-1 start last season, the Jaguars have lost 17 of 23 games. They enter Sunday's game against Tampa Bay on a three-game losing streak in which they've given up more than 200 yards rushing in each game. All three games were against AFC South opponents.

The Jaguars were besieged by injuries last season -- especially along the offensive line and tight end -- and lost quarterback Nick Foles to a broken collarbone 11 snaps into the 2019 season opener. The Jaguars also dealt with linebacker Telvin Smith abruptly informing the team he wasn't going to play this year for personal reasons, defensive end Yannick Ngakoue holding out of training camp for 11 days while seeking a new contract, and disgruntled cornerback Jalen Ramsey requesting a trade.

Coughlin's lack of support could be related to a comment Marrone made on Tuesday in which he said he was criticized inside the organization over his decision to take a softer approach with the team during training camp in hopes of avoiding the injuries that destroyed the 2018 season. Marrone also changed the schedule in camp at the request of the players to allow for more free periods during the day.

Marrone wouldn't elaborate on where the criticism came from, but based on the team's organizational structure it would have to be Coughlin. Coughlin, however, wouldn't address that on Wednesday.

"That would be between Doug and I," Coughlin said. "It's not for anyone else."

That wasn't the only thing the 73-year-old Coughlin, who last addressed the media on April 27, wouldn't speak about on Wednesday. He was asked if there was an attempt to mend a fractured relationship with Ramsey (who was critical of management and Coughlin in particular) before the trade: "I'm not going to speak about Jalen. He's no longer a part of our team. He's a member of another team."

On whether he wants to keep defensive end Yannick Ngakoue: "We have five games to play and everyone has a lot to prove."

On whether there has been any progress on a contract extension for Ngakoue or consideration for the franchise tag: "That is not for discussion today, and it wouldn't be in this setting anyways."

Coughlin did say four times there is no excuse for the way the team has played this season, and he also made multiple pleas for fans to show up Sunday and for the team's two other home games (Dec. 8 vs. Los Angeles Chargers and Dec. 29 vs. Indianapolis).

"We know as an organization that we've put ourselves in a hole this season and, specifically, not performed as we had planned in the second half of the last three divisional games," Coughlin said. "I offer no excuses. ... It's important to keep in mind that we have five games to play and we are committed to do our very best to prepare, to practice and to put ourselves in the best possible position to win five games, one game at a time.

"... We have three more home games and we need our very loyal fans to come forward and support our players and our coaches and create for us the 12th-man advantage. We need everyone on board, and all pulling in the same direction. And by everyone I mean ownership, organization, coaches, players, scouts, staff, our great fans and our entire community. Everyone must be on board to help us win."