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NFL notes: Jaguars fire Doug Marrone; John Elway steps down as Broncos’ GM

Doug Marrone, in mask and headphones, stands on the sideline.
Doug Marrone coaches the Jacksonville Jaguars against the Chicago Bears on Dec. 27.
(Phelan M. Ebenhack / Associated Press)

The Jacksonville Jaguars fired coach Doug Marrone on Monday, a little more than 12 hours after ending the season with a 15th consecutive loss.

“I am committed and determined to deliver winning football to the City of Jacksonville,” owner Shad Khan said in a statement. “Realizing that goal requires a fresh start throughout our football operations, and with that in mind I spoke this morning with Doug Marrone to express my gratitude for his hard work over the past four seasons as the head coach of the Jacksonville Jaguars.”

The Jaguars (1-15) canceled Marrone’s season-ending news conference scheduled for Monday and planned to make Khan available on a conference call.

Marrone went 24-43 in four seasons in Jacksonville, falling a few plays shy of the franchise’s first Super Bowl in 2017 and then miring near the bottom of the league since. The Jaguars dropped 21 of Marrone’s final 24 games, including 15 by double digits.

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The Cleveland Browns survived a late rally by the Pittsburgh Steelers in a 24-22 win that pushes them into the playoffs for the first time since 2002.

Khan kept Marrone in place after firing general manager Dave Caldwell in late November.

It’s unclear whether Khan will hire a general manager or a coach first. He already interviewed former Houston executive Rick Smith, current ESPN analyst Louis Riddick and former New York Giants GM Jerry Reese for the GM position. Urban Meyer is considered a leading coaching candidate if he decides to leave Fox Sports and return to the sidelines. Meyer won college football titles at Florida (2006, ‘08) and Ohio State (2014).

Despite Jacksonville’s recent struggles, both jobs are generally considered to be attractive. The Jaguars have five of the first 65 picks in the 2021 NFL draft, including the overall No. 1 selection, and nearly $100 million in salary cap space to help rebuild.

Clemson star quarterback Trevor Lawrence is considered a slam dunk to land in Jacksonville and serve as the centerpiece of the team’s latest rebuild.

Elway steps down as Broncos’ GM

John Elway announced a major change in the Denver Broncos’ football operations Monday, saying he’ll hire a general manager who will report to him but have final say on the draft, free agency and the roster.

Elway, who has been GM since 2011, will remain as president of football operations in 2021, the final year of his contract.

“Working in this role for the last 10 years and going back to my playing days, I’ve always tried to do everything I can to help the Broncos win and get better,” Elway said in a statement. “As part of a transition I’ve thought about for a long time, I have made the decision to step up into an elevated role and hire a general manager to lead our personnel and football staff.”

Elway engineered a dramatic turnaround of the franchise when he returned to his beloved Broncos a decade ago, building a team that reached the playoffs in each of his first five seasons and added a third Lombardi Trophy to go with the two he won in Denver during his Hall of Fame playing career.

Elway moved on from Tim Tebow after one season, luring Peyton Manning to Denver in 2012 for the second chapter of his storied career after the Colts cut their star quarterback following a series of neck fusion surgeries.

Manning led the Broncos to a 55-17 mark over his four seasons, which included two trips to the Super Bowl, a loss to Seattle in Super Bowl 48 and a win over Carolina in Super Bowl 50.

Manning retired a month later and the Broncos haven’t been the same since.

Since then, the Broncos have won just 32 of 80 games, posted four consecutive losing seasons for the first time in half a century and have churned through 10 starting quarterbacks (including a practice squad receiver in 2020), five offensive coordinators and three head coaches.

Head coach Vic Fangio is 12-20, just one game better than the 11-21 mark that got his predecessor, Vance Joseph, fired.

But Fangio is returning in 2021, and Elway said Fangio will have a say in who’s hired as GM, as will team president Joe Ellis.


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