Jacksonville Has A Lot Going On


It won’t happen, though I’d love to see it. But on Sunday, Jacksonville should give Tom Coughlin a headset and have him pace up and down the sideline during the AFC championship game, just to get into the heads of the Patriots and Bill Belichick.


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You know they remember those 2007 and 2011 seasons, Super Bowls XLII and XLVI. New York Giants 17, Patriots 14. New York Giants 21, Patriots 17.

Coughlin, who is now the Jaguars’ executive vice president of football operations, probably will be upstairs somewhere watching the game from a suite. But the Patriots will see his style on the field, because of the way the Jaguars play, how fast they turned that program around after going 3-13 last season.

Tom Coughlin’s DNA is in the Jacksonville Jaguars now and I’ve seen firsthand how that plays against a Belichick-led team. (David Carr was backup to Eli Manning on the Super Bowl XLVI team.)

I think the Jaguars match up better against the Patriots than they do against the Steelers.

Giants Coughlin Football Former New York Giants coach Tom Coughlin is doused after beating the New England Patriots 17-14 in Super Bowl XLII. Coughlin is now the executive vice president of football operations for the Jacksonvillee Jaguars. David J. Phillip ASSOCIATED PRESS

I hear a lot of people say, “I don’t know if they can score with the Patriots.” I don’t know that the Patriots can score. It’s going to be very interesting. The way the Jaguars are set up and with the talent they have now playing to their potential, I don’t know that there’s a matchup that I like from the Patriots’ standpoint against that Jacksonville defense.

OK, Rob Gronkowski might be the guy, but the Jaguars have five guys who can cover Gronkowski. Danny Amendola had 11 catches for 112 yards against Tennessee in the divisional playoff game, but he’s not a deep threat; he’s not Antonio Brown or Martavis Bryant. Outside linebacker Myles Jack can cover Amendola.

Jacksonville’s scheme fits perfectly. If you look at all the teams that have had success against the Patriots in the past, from those Giants teams to the Broncos, it’s rush four, get after the quarterback and play lockdown defense on the back end with great secondary play. The Jacksonville Jaguars have that. They run the football effectively. They’re tough up front. That’s Tom Coughlin all over the place. They definitely have the personnel.

That’s why I love watching Tom Coughlin teams play. That’s why I loved being a part of them. They don’t try to fool you, on offense or on defense. It’s very simple football. It’s, “We’re tougher than you and we’re more physical than you are and we’re going to take the fight directly to you.” That’s how Jacksonville is playing this year with elite talent.

Jaguars Steelers Football(2) Jacksonville Jaguars coach Doug Marrone has taken a three-win team a year ago to within one win of the Super Bowl. Don Wright ASSOCIATED PRESS

It’s no surprise to me they have that combination of the mental side of the game and the toughness, which Coughlin talks about, almost ad nauseam. Even how you show up in a meeting early, the attitude you have walking into a meeting, it’s just a precursor of how you’re going to play on Sunday.

I am often asked why Coughlin is so successful against Belichick, and that’s it. The answer is pretty simple. Both of those guys eliminate about 80 percent to 90 percent of the other coaches in the league just in the fact that they’re willing to ask their players to do more.

It’s not popular. I don’t think you’d say either one of those guys is a players’ coach. They demand the most out of their players. They demand more out of their elite players. And they get it. Around the league, most coaches realize the players are important, you have to keep them healthy, you have to keep them on your side. Coughlin and Belichick are completely the opposite. They’re throwbacks. They’re Bill Parcells.

They are not afraid to call you out, will be very honest with you. But you don’t have any doubt when you step on the field on Sunday that you’re ready to play. You’re always fresh, always mentally ready. You know you’re physically prepared and that’s what you see from the Jaguars now.

Bills Jaguars Football Jacksonville outside linebacker Myles Jack separates the football from Buffalo tight end Nick O’Leary during the Jaguars’ 10-3 victory in anAFC wild-card playoff game Jan. 7, 2018. Phelan M. Ebenhack ASSOCIATED PRESS

In the NFL everyone is set up to go 8-8, and the Jaguars in the past have underperformed big-time. You can still see some of the immaturity with the trash talk and some of the things that they do, but some of that is not a bad thing.

They still have the discipline. They know what it takes now with coach Doug Marrone and Coughlin there. They know how to win. They know how hard it is just to go through a practice with these guys. I’m not surprised. Talking to my brother Derek last year, he said if Jacksonville figures out how good they are they’re going to be one of the best teams in the league. He said they’re the best defense he played all year.

And the Jaguars didn’t even know it. They had three wins.

But I’m a big believer in coaching. A guy comes in with a plan, executes it, and the rest is history.

Question of the week

From Gene Holt: I have noticed that a lot of quarterbacks lift their leg and put it down just prior to the snap when they are in the shotgun formation. Why, especially if the QB is the only one in the backfield?

A lot of things happen pre-snap, in different systems. If you’re on the road, it’s a silent count, which is why you see a quarterback lifting his leg. You’ll see either a lifting of the leg or a point to the ground and either the center is looking between his legs waiting for that signal or the guard has his head back and he’s looking back at the quarterback for that signal and he taps the center on the leg after he gets it and they snap the ball.

You can still go on one or on two, because a lot of defenses will time their rush up after the guard taps the center or after he looks between his legs. As soon as that center’s head comes up, they take off. So the quarterback will give it either non-verbally or he’ll yell the cadence to the offensive line. Usually, the receivers on the road they don’t hear the cadence, they’re just watching the football. They’re not even told what the cadence is because you can’t hear it. So if its on two on a silent count like that, the quarterback to keep the defense honest will raise his leg, put his hands up ready for the ball, the guard will tap the center and the center will bring his head up. But instead of snapping it he’ll pause for a second and then he’ll go back underneath and look between his legs or he’ll wait for the guard to tap him a second time.

That’s what’s happening with the quarterback raising his leg. If the quarterback is under center and he kicks his leg back, that will start a motion of some kind, for the most part. But really, that pre-snap stuff, the quarterback has a lot on his plate. For a lot of teams it fluctuates. But it’s between the quarterback and the center to identify how many down linemen there are, how many linebackers are in their front, where is the middle linebacker – that’s why you see the quarterback pointing.

David Carr is a former Fresno State quarterback, NFL No. 1 draft pick and Super Bowl champion. Now he’s an analyst for the NFL Network and writing a weekly column in collaboration with The Bee’s Robert Kuwada. The column is sponsored by Valley Children’s Hospital.

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