Del Rio's Tenure in Jacksonville Had Highs, Lows

If the Raiders choose Broncos defensive coordinator, they'll be getting a former Jaguars head coach who turned that team around, then was fired after seasons of disappointment, tumult

At this point, all the signs point to Jack Del Rio as the hot candidate to be the next Raiders head coach.

With disarray in Denver after the firing of head coach John Fox, it’s now uncertain what that will mean for Del Rio, 51, the Broncos’ defensive coordinator. He could be a candidate for head coach there, but probably not. Reports from Denver late Monday night indicated the Broncos are more likely to look outside the organization.

Meanwhile Del Rio – and offensive coordinator Adam Gase, a candidate for the 49ers’ head coaching position – are free to pursue other opportunities.

Mike Klis of the Denver Post reported late Monday night that Del Rio is set to have a second interview with the Raiders Tuesday. The second interview is expected to be with the Raiders entire leadership team. The first was with Raiders owner Mark Davis in Denver on Jan. 4, reported Klis.

So, if Del Rio impresses all those silver-and-black clad interviewers and does indeed become the team’s next head coach, what kind of coach will the Raiders be getting?

First, they’d be getting one with plenty of experience. He was head coach of the Jaguars for nine seasons, compiling a 68-71 record with three trips to the playoffs. To Broncos linebacker Von Miller, Del Rio still had that aura of a head coach even as defensive coordinator.

“I think he will always be a head coach,” Miller told the Denver Post. “Even when he was here, I think once you’ve become a head coach, you never lose that. He coached us like he was the head coach.”

In Jacksonville, however, his tenure ended with his firing in 2011 following a couple of final seasons of turmoil.

Wrote, in November of 2011 following his departure:

“(Jaguars fans) will remember Del Rio’s tenure as one that lasted too long and was filled with quarterback chaos, inconsistency, staff turnover and late-season collapses.”

The same story cites Del Rio as having “a penchant for throwing players and assistants under the bus.” He fired 19 assistant coaches during his time with the Jags, according to ESPN.

However, when he took over the Jacksonville team in 2003 – following Tom Coughlin’s firing – he led the Jags to a 9-7 record in 2004. From 2005 through 2007, the Jags went 31-17, went to the playoffs twice and had a rugged rushing attack and physical defense. Young quarterback David Garrard appeared to be an up-and-coming star. Del Rio wasn't afraid to put his confidence in a young player (a good sign for Derek Carr).

The next year his contract was extended by the Jags, who were extremely happy with his 45-35 record at the time.

“I’m excited that Jack wants to lead this team for the next five years, and I think today’s announcement creates a stability and continuity that moves us closer to my commitment to this community to bringing a championship to Jacksonville,” said team owner Wayne Weaver at the announcement of the extension. “He’s earned the right for this extension.”

In Jacksonville, many of the Jaguars said they loved playing for Del Rio, a former Pro Bowl linebacker, star at USC and East Bay native.

“When I came here (Jacksonville), when he was the head man, I had never been coached by a head coach like that before,”  Jags linebacker Paul Posluszny told the Florida Times-Union in 2013. “He was telling me how to play … technique at middle linebacker. It was unbelievable to me. This is an 11-year vet, Pro Bowl player and he’s helping me out. So it was great. … I wish I could have played for him longer. I loved him as a head coach.”

Very soon, Raiders fans will find out if Mark Davis & Co. share the same feeling.

Contact Us