The Jacksonville Jaguars hired Perry Fewell as the new secondary coach back in January. This is Fewell’s second stint with the team after originally coaching the defensive backs from 1998 through 2002 under Tom Coughlin.
I believe Fewell was a great addition to Jacksonville’s coaching staff — and with the 2017 season inching closer and closer, let’s talk about the potential impact this may have for Jacksonville’s extremely talented secondary.
Fewell has been around the game a long time. In fact, this will be his 33rd year of coaching. After working his way through the college ranks for 13 years, including stints with North Carolina, Army, Kent State and Vanderbilt, Coughlin decided to give Fewell a shot.
The Jaguars ranked just 23rd in passing yards allowed during their first season under Fewell’s tutelage, however that quickly changed. The following year, that magnificent 1999 season, Jacksonville’s pass defense ranked third in the league. The Jaguars also gave up the fewest points in the NFL that year (about 13.5 ppg) and ranked sixth in passing touchdowns allowed.
During the 2000 season, the Jaguars’ passing defense took a step back, but still ranked in the top half of the league (14th). The following season, however, the Jaguars were back in the top-10 in yards allowed and only gave up 13 touchdowns passes — which ranked only behind the Chicago Bears that year.
Fewell’s last season during his first stop in Jacksonville was 2002. The Jaguars once again finished ranked in the top half of the league in passing yards allowed, and in the top-10 in terms of touchdowns given up.
Fewell coached some of the most notable defensive backs in this franchise’s history, including Donovin Darius, Aaron Beasley and Carnell Lake.
After Jacksonville, he spent two seasons with the St. Louis Rams, and one season with the Bears before getting his big break as defensive coordinator for the Buffalo Bills in 2006.
Fewell brings more valuable experience to the staff in that he spent time as a head coach as well. The Bills fired then head coach Dick Jauron in Week 10 of the 2009 season, thrusting Fewell into interim duties. Fewell won three of seven games.
After the entire Buffalo coaching staff was let go at the end of that season, Fewell latched on with the New York Giants as defensive coordinator, reuniting with Coughlin. The pair went on to win Super Bowl XLVI together.
Of course he is not perfect. Fewell did have his struggles in New York — particularly when his guys were playing zone coverage — though a lot of that could have been attributed to personnel and untimely injuries.
Most recently, Fewell has spent the past two seasons with the Washington Redskins as defensive backs coach.
Now that he is back in Jacksonville, I think the Jaguars have the right teacher, and the right talent, in place to ascend the secondary even further into being one of the top units in the league. Jacksonville’s pass defense actually ranked fifth in the league last year.
With Jalen Ramsey, A.J. Bouye, Barry Church and Tashaun Gipson, the Jaguars certainly possess one of the more intimidating secondaries on paper, but hopefully with Fewell and assistant defensive backs coach Joe Danna on staff, it will meet expectations.