What do you have to consider?
This is his first year as a true defensive coordinator. There has been an impressive improvement in the play of the defense this year. There are a lot of differences between this year and previous years.
The improvement on the defensive side of the ball has been nothing short of remarkable. Mel said he was going to make it simpler and faster. Gene said he would bring in players who would be good fits with the Jags. The results are hard to argue.
Mel has been aided by an influx of well-known and anonymous free agents, some off the street. This year’s free agent acquisitions have started at free safety, strong safety, middle linebacker, outside linebacker, defensive end and now cornerback.
Mel’s had to overcome a troubling number of players hindered or lost to the season by injuries. He’s essentially been without Kampman all year. Alualu’s been hobbled all year. The anchor in the middle, Knighton, has missed the last three games and is questionable for Monday. I don’t even know who will start at defensive end opposite Mincey: Selvie? Chick? Or will Kampman make an appearance?
His top three cornerbacks are on IR. Who would have thought this time last year that David Jones would be back playing defense for the Jags one year later? By the way, the cornerback now starting opposite that street free agent is an undrafted rookie free agent, who just happens to be a former Missouri teammate of Blaine Gabbert.
Lane, Morgan and Smith, all expected to be significant contributors along the defensive line are on IR. So is backup safety Greene.
I also have to believe players like Jennings, Britton and Miller would make the offense better. But they’re not around either.
Oh, and did you hear the other news this week? Shad Khan bought the team, the wide receivers coach was fired, the starting wide receiver got cut and his replacement went on IR.
So if the Mel Tucker Jaguars look good Monday night, he should be a lock for serious consideration to become permanent head coach… or should he?
I was surprised to learn the Chargers are on a six-game losing streak. Their head coach is seemingly coaching his final five games for the Chargers. Their ace quarterback is having a very down year. They have no pass rush. And they’re averaging barely 20 points per game during this slump. They’re highly unlikely to make the playoffs, and I’m sure they’ll be described as “just playing out the string.”
So, what will Monday Night Football in Jacksonville tell us about Mel Tucker’s head coaching ability and his chances of roaming the sidelines in teal, in complete control, in 2012?
I have no idea, but I’m pretty excited to find out.