Jack Del Rio is fired as Jacksonville Jaguars’ coach
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Jack Del Rio announced Monday that he was sticking with struggling quarterback Blaine Gabbert as his starter. But the Jacksonville Jaguars are set to announce Tuesday that it is not sticking with Del Rio as their head coach.
Del Rio has been fired 11 games into his ninth season with the team.
The Jaguars dropped to 3-8 and were essentially eliminated from playoff contention with a 20-13 loss to Houston on Sunday. Going into the season, owner Wayne Weaver said the team needed to make the playoffs for Del Rio, a former All-America linebacker at USC, to keep his job.
Defensive coordinator Mel Tucker was named interim coach. A news conference is scheduled for 9 a.m. PST Tuesday.
The Jaguars went 69-73 under Del Rio, with a 1-2 record in two playoff appearances, and never won the AFC South.
It is perhaps fitting that Del Rio’s last move as coach was an announcement about the quarterback because moves concerning that position have marked his tenure in Jacksonville.
In 2003 he announced the benching of veteran Mark Brunell in favor of rookie Byron Leftwich before telling the players. During two different preseasons, he endorsed the incumbent starter (Leftwich in 2007, David Garrard this season), only to cut him days before the season opener.
This year he benched Luke McCown after two games and replaced him with the rookie Gabbert, who has gone 2-7 and hasn’t shown much progress as the starter. Gabbert, who has completed 48.5% of his passes for 1,371 yards with six touchdowns and six interceptions, was benched late in the game against the Texans.
Maybe it was one last vote of confidence for a struggling quarterback that finally did Del Rio in.
-- Chuck Schilken
The Associated Press contributed to this report