JACKSONVILLE, FL - OCTOBER 02: Paul Posluszny #51 and Drew Coleman #30 of the Jacksonville Jaguars miss an tipped ball during a game against the New Orleans Saints at EverBank Field on October 2, 2011 in Jacksonville, Florida. (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
The Jacksonville Jaguars released cornerback Drew Coleman earlier in the week and most estimated it was due to the Jaguars having numbers at the defensive back position and Coleman not really being versatile enough to keep. The point was brought up that Coleman stayed in his nickelback role even when the Jaguars suffered multiple injuries to their other cornerbacks, but the team ultimately decided to play street free agents over Coleman. This led Coleman to internally question the Jaguars coaching staff and front office.
"I didn't want to be the bad apple of the group, I didn't want to take it to the media," Coleman told Tania Ganguli of the Florida Times-Union. "I did want to play [outside], they never gave me the opportunity and now it's kind of like beating me in the butt because I never got that opportunity and they're releasing me because I only play nickel."
According to Coleman, the call on Tuesday morning asking him to meet with Gene Smith wasn't a surprise, but being informed of his release was.
According to Ganguli, the current plan for the Jaguars is to have Rashean Mathis and Aaron Ross compete for one of the starting corner positions and the loser taking over as the nickel corner. The Jaguars also drafted rookie corner Mike Harris in the sixth round, as well as bring back William Middleton who played the nickel role for the Jaguars in 2010. The Jaguars indicated to Ganguli that the team released Coleman when they did so he had a chance to catch on with another team.
Coleman told Ganguli he wouldn't mind returning to the New York Jets, or meeting with some of the other teams that had shown interest in him during the 2011 free agency period. One thing is pretty clear however, is that Coleman was not happy with his role on the team last year after all the injuries. Coleman kept his issue internal however, trying to find out from the coaching staff and general manager what the issue was.
"I went to Gene (Smith), my agent went to Gene, my agent went to the defensive coordinator, I went to the 'DB' coach at the time, I'm asking these guys why am I not getting the opportunity to play the corner," Coleman told Ganguli over the phone. "They're like well we'll give you these reps. What we're playing was pretty much cover 2. ... What we're playing is not difficult. I know how to play cover 2."
Coleman's ability to play outside corner apparently never came up in defensive meetings and he felt he was flat out overlooked. "The perfect opportunity came and they looked over me," Coleman told Ganguli. "They went all the way to Kevin Rutland. Nothing against Kevin but he's an undrafted rookie. No experience."
"Once again, went right over me and started him."