A Look Behind the Team: Jacksonvile Jaguars Coaching Staff Part 1

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A Look Behind the Team: Jacksonvile Jaguars Coaching Staff Part 1
(Photo by Sam Greenwood/Getty Images)

While the players perform on the field, it's the staff behind them that helps get them to where they need to be. The coaching staff brings years of knowledge and experience to the table and assists in guiding the teams to victory. Jacksonville has a wealth of knowledge and strength in the coaching staff that will support them in the upcoming season. This is the first in a series that will highlight the minds behind the plays.

The Jacksonville Jaguars have a coaching staff that is as diverse as the players themselves. In the past, some of the coaching staff’s styles, as well as personalities, have been a hindrance to the team. Let's take a closer look at the people that will help to make this team click.

Jack Del Rio—Head Coach

Del Rio began his career with the NFL in 1985 where over the next 11 years he played for the New Orleans Saints, Kansas City Chiefs, Dallas Cowboys and Minnesota Vikings. After losing a spot with the Miami Dolphins, Del Rio decided to retire in 1996.

In 2003, after Tom Coughlin was let go, Del Rio became the next head coach for the Jaguars. After a slow first year, Del Rio helped lead the team to playoffs in 2005. The Jaguars lost 28-3 to New England, but Del Rio had made his presence known as a strong head coach.

Motivating the Jaguars has been an undertaking for Del Rio, who in the first season with the team had a tree stump and axe put into the teams locker room. With it he attached a sign that reads, "Keep Chopping Wood." This was to symbolize the team’s efforts to slowly remove obstacles from their path.

Del Rio has said that the 2009 team will come together this season, as they are working on teamwork and accountability. Outside of coaching, Del Rio has a strong sense of Philanthropy and donates and assists several organizations.

Dirk Koetter—Offensive Coordinator

2009 will ring in Koetters third year as offensive coordinator for the Jacksonville Jaguars. Joining the team in 2007, Koetter has 27 years of coaching experience, and excels in passing offense strategies.

During that initial season with the Jaguars he helped the team set the franchise single-season records for points, touchdowns, touchdown passes and yards per play. In his first year with the team, Jacksonville’s NFL ranking went from 10th to seventh place.

Koetter is a former head coach for Arizona State where the team became quickly known for their vertical passing attack. His strength lies in his ability to take the offensive line and make them a force to be reckoned with.

Mel Tucker—Defensive Coordinator

New to the team, Mel Tucker is hopefully the breath of fresh air that the Jaguars need for the defensive team. Tucker served the 2005-2008 seasons as the defensive backs coach for the Cleveland Browns and was promoted in 2008 to defensive coach. Appointed to the Jaguars team on January 24, 2009, Tucker brings a soft spoken leadership style that will hopefully bring the defensive line the leadership it needs.

Tucker’s coaching background has consisted of Michigan State 1997-98, Miami (Ohio) 1999, Louisiana State 2000, Ohio State 2001-04, Cleveland Browns 2005-08, and now the Jacksonville Jaguars 2009. While the defensive lineup for the Jaguars needs some serious reworking, the majority seem to think that Tucker is the man to make this lineup one that won’t soon be forgotten.

Russ Purnell—Special Teams Coordinator

Russ Purnell is a 37-year coaching veteran who was appointed to the Jaguars on January 24, 2009. Purnell’s coaching background consists of Corona del Mar High School 1972, Edison High School 1973-81, Southern California 1982-85, Seattle Seahawks 1986-1994, Houston/Tennessee Oilers 1995-98, Baltimore Ravens 1999-2001, and the Indianapolis Colts 2002-08.

He went to the Super Bowl with Baltimore in 2000 and Indianapolis in 2006. Purnell also served with Del Rio in Baltimore from 1999 to 2001. The Indianapolis Colts, under Purnell’s expert tutelage, had a field goal percentage that ranked in the top five in the NFL. Purnell has a strong leadership background when it comes to special teams and could serve Jacksonville well.

Mike TiceAssistant Head Coach/Tight Ends

2009 brings Tice his fourth season with the Jaguars as their assistant head coach and his third season as tight ends coach. A former head coach for the Minnesota Vikings from 1996 to 2005, Tice brings a wealth of knowledge to the Jaguar’s table. Under the direction of Tice, the Vikings, in six of the nine seasons with Tice, finished in the top 10 in the NFL for total offense.

Tice is no newcomer to the tight end game as he played from 1981 to 1995 with the Seattle Seahawks, the Washington Redskins, and the Minnesota Vikings. He is a powerhouse when it comes to the tight end game and is a great second in command next to Del Rio.

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