For the first time in exactly seven months — the final day of the 2019 NFL Draft, Jaguars Executive Vice President Tom Coughlin spoke in front of the local media to address the team’s performance on the field over the first 11 games of the season.
While many questions were asked today, the majority were left unanswered, for the organizations future, and specifically the coaches, players, and front office of the team. The team’s Executive Vice President of Football Operations offered some, but not extraordinary support to the team’s coaching staff only to say “there are five games to go.”
To begin the press conference, Coughlin used an pre-written statement to address the fans along with acknowledging the hole the team is in by way of losing the previous three games of the season — all divisional matchups. Now at 4-7, the Jaguars are on the back burner of any potential playoff standings.
“Back up, it’s going to be more than a quick opening statement,” Coughlin began his opening statement today which lasted a little over five minutes. “You the fans are upset, and disappointed and frustrated and we as an organization – players and coaches – are frustrated and disappointed and suffer from remorse for opportunity lost.”
The Jaguars have five games remaining on their schedule, which was the overall message sent by Coughlin for the day.
“There are a few reminders we need to hear. We have three more home games and we need our very loyal fans to come forward and support our players and our coaches and create for us the 12th-man advantage. We need everyone on board, and all pulling in the same direction. And by everyone I mean ownership, organization, coaches, players, scouts, staff, our great fans and our entire community.”
Coughlin repeatedly demanded the fan’s support for the remaining five games of the season, requesting everyone within the organization — including the ownership — to rise up to the challenge of providing Jacksonville with a winning product on the football field.
When asked his future with the team or Jaguars head coach Doug Marrone’s furtute, Coughlin simply remarked the team has “fives games to win.” Adding, “Well, as I keep saying we have five games to go and then there will certainly be an evaluation of every one of us. Of everybody.”
“Doug has come before you with his message literally every day since the start of the season. If I can help reinforce that message, then that’s why I’m here. We’re all in this together, we all wanna win.”
Yesterday, Marrone remarked that he has been criticized by members of the organization before. When asked about it on Wednesday, Coughlin would only say whatever may have occurred between the two stays between those two, and “it’s not for anyone else.”
When asked about the two players who have departed, or stayed at home this season — Jalen Ramsey and Telvin Smith — Coughlin did not have much to say. Of Ramsey, Coughlin quickly noted, “I’m not going to speak about Jalen. He’s no longer a part of my team. He’s a member of another team,” also noting he has not heard from Smith — an indication that Smith will not be a part of the team moving forward, or for the foreseeable future.
The future of the team remains questioned as the Executive Vice President of Football Operations refused to answer questions regarding the team beyond the final five games of the season. Defensive end Yannick Ngakoue is due a contract by the end of the season, for example. “We have five games to play and everyone has a lot to prove,” Coughlin said. Later adding: “That is not for discussion today, and it wouldn’t be in this setting anyways.”
As far as the future of the team, Coughlin is still positive about the way the team has conducted itself as far as their attitude and the way they practice.
“You got to keep chipping away, there’s no other way around it, it’s hard work. And when you watch them practice, and when you see them come out on the field you know -- you look at Foles, you know what he wants to do. He wants to win for sure. And everybody else out there too, I’ve liked that part of this team.”
A team that wants to win, but has been stuck in mediocrity or worse throughout the season, Coughlin understands the sense of urgency, but wants to underscore his belief in the organization and the players on the field. The culture — for what the team has gone through this season — is “solid”, according to Coughlin.
The decision to bench rookie quarterback Gardner Minshew, opting to start Nick Foles was ultimately decided by Jaguars head coach Doug Marrone, however Coughlin remarked the that Minshew didn’t play well in London and Foles was ready to come back, hence the reason why Foles has been the starting quarterback over the past two weeks.
“He has only played two games. Didn’t play in the preseason. He has played two football games. Gardner played very well, did not play well in London. Nick was ready to come back. That was the basis of the decision at that time.”
Moving forward, Coughlin has urged fans to attend the upcoming games this season, as was his reasoning for speaking earlier on Wednesday.
“We’ve been on the road for three straight weeks and it hasn’t been pretty, we need to get home, we need to get our whole thing going in our stadium, and our support from everyone. It’s not a time to duck your head, stick your head in the sand. We all know what the circumstances are, but these are young me. They know when they’re being supported and when some extension of love is being sent their way, and they will respond. So we all need to do this.”