Eskimos close in on Scott Milanovich as head coach

The Edmonton Eskimos have closed in on Scott Milanovich as their next head coach, per sources.

It’s not signed, but the Esks believe Milanovich could join the franchise.

Milanovich is currently the quarterbacks coach for the Jacksonville Jaguars. He would not be able to sign a contract until the NFL schedule is finished — the final game of the Jags’ season is on December 29.

Quarterback Trevor Harris worked with Milanovich for four years in Toronto from when he was a rookie to when he left for the Ottawa Redblacks. Milanovich helped Harris develop during the early stages of his career north of the border. During the 2015 season, Harris threw for a career-best 33 touchdowns. Harris is now the franchise QB for the Eskimos.

Milanovich coached 10 seasons in the CFL, including a five-year stint with the Montreal Alouettes from 2007 to 2011. He was hired as the Argos’ head coach for the 2012 season and promptly led the double blue to a championship, winning the 100th Grey Cup in Toronto. Milanovich was named coach of the year in 2012 and has a 43-47 win-loss record as a CFL bench boss.

After Milanovich resigned from the Argonauts in January 2017, he immediately joined the Jacksonville Jaguars as quarterbacks coach. The Jags made it to the AFC Championship game, but lost a close contest to the New England Patriots that season. Jacksonville quarterback Blake Bortles was efficient under Milanovich, completing 60.2 percent of his attempts for 3,687 yards with 21 touchdowns against 13 interceptions.

Head coach Doug Marrone relieved Nathaniel Hackett of play-calling duties in November 2018, which allowed Milanovich to take over on an interim basis. The position was opened up to all candidates in the off-season and Marrone selected John DeFilippo to be the permanent offensive coordinator.

DeFilippo’s connection to Nick Foles led to the quarterback signing a four-year, $88 million deal — including $50 million guaranteed — with the Jaguars. Foles broke his collarbone in Week 1 which put him on injured reserve. Rookie QB Gardner Minshew stepped into the starting role and performed beyond expectations. Minshew was ready due in part to working and learning from Milanovich.

Jacksonville is currently on the outside looking in on the AFC playoffs and sit last in the AFC South Division with a 4-9 record.

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