Tom Coughlin was the NFL Owners Meetings on Tuesday and spoke at length about the Jacksonville Jaguars, their roster, their coaches, their chances, and even their uniforms.
But several things stood out as noteworthy, either because it was new information or it was said in a new way.
1. This team is going to run the ball
It’s obvious, yes, but I can’t get over just how unashamed Coughlin is to be a power team in a pass-happy league. When speaking about newly signed left guard Andrew Norwell, Coughlin was quick to speak in a very assuming way of how this offense is going to play.
“Powerful. Outstanding toughness, 100 percent play time. Physical player. The kind of guy if you’re going to run the football you’d like in that position at left guard. Very attractive. Looking forward to working with him.”
Coughlin was then speaking several minutes later about the free agency process in general.
“We wanted to run the football, we wanted to have an outstanding defensive team, we went out and did some things about that to create those opportunities.”
On one hand, I don’t know if I can totally get on board with the idea that a quarterback of Blake Bortles’ caliber can win a Super Bowl. But I do like that this team finally has direction and is focused on getting there.
2. Blake Bortles got an extension because of the playoffs
Bortles played his best game against the Pittsburgh Steelers on the road in the AFC Divisional Round. He then put the team in a position to win going into halftime against the New England Patriots on the road in the AFC Championship. Coughlin hasn’t thrown the regular season out the window, but whenever he talks about Bortles’ extension, he references those two games.
“He’s getting better. He’s improving and that’s the whole key. I mean some of his best games were in the playoffs. You can’t ask for a better circumstance. In other words, you set it up, you want to know how a guy performs in big games, two of his best quarterback ratings were in those games. So we definitely feel that he is a young player, he’s played a lot of football, but he’s making progress in his game and we just look forward to the continuance of that.”
3. The uniforms are going old school
If Tom Coughlin approves, I approve.
“Well it was just a feeling of who we are, what we represent. It’s a good look, it’s a solid look. It is, as I said at one point in time, we have guys that will be in the Hall of Fame and the connection will be there, the uniform will be very similar as we go forward. We just wanted a little bolder statement and I think we got it.”
4. The Jaguars could add another receiver
Coughlin’s initial remarks about Lee were strange in that he focused on his blocking and toughness, but the end of the quote hinted at the team’s openness to finding another receiver in the draft.
“I think we have a couple of young guys, we have a couple of guys who have been around. In Marqise [Lee] we not only have a guy, as I explained to him, he’ll go block you. He’s a tough guy and will go accomplish all those things. That’s our starting point; we have speed, we have experience, we have some great opportunities to work with guys that have been in the league and guys that are just really touched their toe in the water. We look forward to it. Maybe we’ll find another young one. Who knows?”
Mel Kiper, Jr. seems to think we add another receiver in the first round, so maybe it’s not as off-base as we may think.
5. Special teams is very, very important
The success the Jaguars had last year was in part because the kick and punt coverages improved, the return games improved, the fake punt was a real option, and the team found a long-term solution at kicker in Josh Lambo.
But Coughlin knows just how important it is to find guys specifically suited for special teams and not just relegating backup linebackers and defensive backs to special teams plays.
“It takes all kinds of spots, it takes all kinds of players to come together as a team and you’re definitely looking for those guys that can now make great contributions to your special teams, but also their attitude about contributing knowing what you have. That’s why having the type of season we had last year. I think more people are aware of the style that we play and how we play and I think there’s a little bit more interest in those particular kind of players to be here.”
6. Coughlin respects the hell out of Keenan
This has been pretty well known, what with Coughlin keeping in contact with Keenan McCardell throughout the years and then offering him the wide receivers coach position in his first round of hirings last year when he reshuffled the coaching staff.
But the way Coughlin speaks about Keenan whenever he’s given the chance is a real testament to the player and leader he is in the coaching room.
“Keenan, as you well know if you studied him over the years, is an outstanding football player, very smart, very disciplined, very tough. I always include him and a handful of guys I always call the toughest people I have ever coached and he was one of them. He displays that same attitude, that same toughness, that same resiliency as a coach and I think his players enjoy playing for him too.”