In advance of the scouting combine, Jaguars Executive Vice-President of Football Operations Tom Coughlin held a press conference at Everbank Field Friday morning. Most people found the presser to be rather boring, but it’s not a surprise that Coughlin didn't give away a ton of information. I do think there were some interesting things that Coughlin did touch on though.
The Jaguars are soft
It was blatantly clear that Tom Coughlin believes that the prior mindset around the Jaguars was too soft. Coughlin touched on both mental and physical toughness, having more accountability, and just being a lot more hard-pressing in general. One of the few emphatic moments of the presser came when Coughlin touched on former Jags receiver Keenan McCardell joining the staff, and discussing how Keenan would teach these young guys how to be tough and deal with adversity, in regards to both attitudes and injuries. Coughlin also was very emphatic that special teams would need to be improved, and that would start by having every player on the roster playing special teams, even the starters. Make no mistake, any thing that is perceived as entitlement, selfishness, or softness will not be tolerated going forward. As Coughlin put it, ‘this isn't pass and tap’.
A fullback is coming
Coughlin was asked directly about adding a fullback to the roster to help improve the Jaguars running game. While Coughlin did not come right out and say that the team would definitely be adding one, he did admit that they have had multiple discussions about it, adding that he is a fan of the position and believes in having that kind of guy on the roster. Coughlin also mentioned how he likes fullbacks who offer some receiving skills in addition to their blocking, so could someone like Kyle Juszczyk be added in free agency? That remains to be seen, but it certainly seems that a fullback will be added one way or another.
The defensive scheme is changing
This is something I feel like we have known for a few weeks now, but there were still questions floating around the fanbase as to whether it would actually happen or not. While Coughlin did not offer any specifics on what the scheme would be, he did confirm that it would be changing in some aspect. Exactly what will be changed remains to be seen, but don’t expect the same thing we’ve seen out of the Jags the past four years. Bye bye LOTTO? We can only hope.
More emphasis on the run game
I kind of touched on this in the fullback section, but I think it needs more discussion. Coughlin made it crystal clear that this team has to run the football better. When asked about the quarterback position, Coughlin said that Bortles could definitely improve (can’t turn the ball over like that), but they could also improve the team around him. He continued that one of the best ways to do that would be to improve the running game, and also added that he was not pleased at all with the run/pass balance the team has had in the past. Look for the Jaguars to improve their offensive line blocking, add a fullback, and probably take a running back early in the draft.
The pass rush isn’t good enough
When asked about it, Tom Coughlin did somewhat compliment both Yannick Ngakoue and Dante Fowler, saying that both players showed the ability to provide some pass rush for the defense. However, he followed that up by saying that you can never have enough pass rushers, and it’s something they will continue to look at addressing. When you combine Coughlin’s comments with the look of the current roster, it seems to indicate that pass rusher and running back are two positions that will be addressed this offseason. The draft is very heavy for both positions, and free agency offers some intriguing veteran pass rushers, such as Melvin Ingram and Jason Pierre-Paul, the latter of whom played under Coughlin with the Giants. Obviously players at other positions will need to be targeted as well, but all signs point to those positions being addressed through free agency or high draft picks.