Jags Flip For DeFilippo
Jaguars Head Coach Doug Marrone has filled the vacant offensive coordinator position with tenured coach John DeFilippo. The hire was an important one for Marrone and the franchise, as the Jaguars look to recover from an offensively stagnant 2018.
A year in which the offense struggled to find points on the field (31st in scoring offense and last in touchdowns per game). That’s right, 31st and 32nd out of 32 teams! In addition to the inability to score, the Jaguars struggled with moving the ball as they ranked 27th with 302 yards per game and ranked 29th with 17.3 first downs per game.
Sure, the Jaguars offense was handcuffed with multiple injuries on the offensive line and play-makers, but the pedestrian play calling did not help the lack of productivity. Remember, the Jaguars defense finished fourth in the league in points scored and yearned for an offensive breakthrough that would never arrive after week four of the 2018 season.
With DeFilippo as the latest addition to the coaching staff, the goal is to balance the load and get the Jaguars back to postseason relevancy.
The Jaguars new offensive coordinator followed his father’s footsteps, Gene DeFilippo, as an administrator in sports. The elder DeFilippo held several athletic director positions at the collegiate level including University of South Carolina-Spartanburg 1984-1987, Villanova University from 1993-1997 and at Boston College from 1997-2012.
As a student/athlete at James Madison University, John DeFilippo spent his summers doing NFL internships with the Indianapolis Colts and Carolina Panthers. After a five year stint learning the coaching ropes as a graduate assistant at Notre Dame and a quarterbacks coach at Columbia, DeFilippo was hired by New York Giants head coach Tom Coughlin (currently the Jaguars Vice President of Football Operations) in 2005 as offensive quality control coach.
This initial opportunity spring boarded his career into several NFL positions (quarterbacks coach and/or offensive coordinator) with the Oakland Raiders, New York Jets, Cleveland Browns, Philadelphia Eagles, and most recently the Minnesota Vikings.
As a quarterbacks coach in Philadelphia from 2016-2017, DeFilippo is credited with the development of Carson Wentz, who went on to become a 2017 MVP front-runner, prior to Wentz’s season-ending knee injury, as well as the development of 2017 Super Bowl LII MVP Nick Foles.
Because of his success with the Eagles, DeFilippo became one of the most sought after coaches in the NFL. He was quickly hired away from Philadelphia in early 2018 to become the offensive coordinator for a team with Super Bowl aspirations, the Minnesota Vikings. While in Minnesota, he never was able to get high-priced free agent quarterback Kirk Cousins and the rest of the offense consistently rolling week to week and he was abruptly let go after a Week 14 loss in Seattle.
Expectations in Jacksonville
As far as expectations go for mentoring, it depends on the moves the Jaguars front office takes in the off-season. Early speculation is that the franchise has decided to move on from quarterback Blake Bortles and focus on the team’s future signal caller.
The future could be a veteran via free agency or trade such as Nick Foles, Teddy Bridgewater, or Joe Flacco. Foles has immediately been linked as a target for Jacksonville in association with the hiring of DeFilippo.
It could also be that there also be a rookie drafted in April. If so, DeFilippo has had experience with grooming and challenging young quarterbacks such as the before mentioned Wentz, Derek Carr in Oakland, and Mark Sanchez in New York.
Based on the current talent on the offensive side of the ball in Jacksonville, DeFilippo must jump start his preparation for the uphill battle that looms in 2019.
The lone concern for Jaguars fans was that Minnesota head coach Mike Zimmer publicly criticized DeFilippo for the lack of a running game. As 2019 unfolds, it will be interesting to see if he is able to meet in the middle with coach Marrone’s “ground and pound” philosophy without any drama.
There’s only one way for the offensive statistics to move and that’s up. But the Jaguars fans and coaching staff want more than statistics, they want consistency.
At the end of the day, if DeFilippo can use creativity and make the offense efficient, and productive next season, the Jaguars can make a return to the postseason.