After the Jacksonville Jaguars fired head coach of nine years, Jack Del Rio, Mel Tucker has five games to prove that he can take over the team.
Tucker joined the team in 2009 as a defensive coordinator and helped the team rise to a higher rank in 2011. Wayne Weaver, Jaguars’ owner, said he wanted to give Tucker the opportunity to prove himself in the five day trial run beginning with a game against the San Diego Chargers on Monday.
"I did assure Mel that he would have an opportunity to be interviewed for the job, and I think he certainly deserves that and he's earned that,” Weaver said.
However the owner explained that the search for a new head coach is far from over.
"I was very explicit with Mel that it's an interim position, that at the end of the season we're going to conduct ... a very extensive coaching search to make sure that we bring in someone that can help us really build this franchise and return to what we expect -- into a winning franchise,” he said.
Still, Weaver seemed impressed with the job Tucker has done as defensive coordinator over the past two years.
"I think Mel has been one of the bright spots of our football team this year, taking charge of the defense and calling the defensive plays," Weaver said.
Some Jaguars players are already behind Tucker, who they have recognized as a vital part of the team. Paul Posluszny, Jaguars’ linebacker, said the coach is a man of his word.
“What you see with him and what he says, that's him," Posluszny said. "He's very true to that. He doesn't try to put on a show or an act of anything like that. He's very true with the way he presents himself and the things that he says."
Tucker spoke about a simple strategy that could advance both his team and position.
"I believe in keeping it simple, simple enough where we can line up and play fast and we can be relentless and we can be aggressive,” Tucker said. “But we have enough where we can be confident in regards to covering whatever we need to cover, whatever offenses throw at us, multiple sets, things like that.”