It’s been 14 years since Tom Coughlin was a part of the Jaguars organization. In that span the Jags have had just three winning seasons, or one less than they had during the eight years Coughlin was their head coach.
It’s not unreasonable then for someone covering the team now to ask if the focus of the Jaguars revamped front office, which Coughlin has taken control of as the team’s new executive vice president of football ops, will be on winning.
In fact, that was one of the questions posed to new coach Doug Marrone during the press conference in which Coughlin and Marrone were officially introduced in their new capacities this week, though Marrone was never really given a chance to answer it.
In what may be a glimpse at the future in Jacksonville, Coughlin interrupted Marrone while he was attempting to answer that question and answered it himself in what proved to be typical brusk Coughlin manner, though it prove to be a bit humorous as well.
“Is that going to be the focus?’’ Coughlin asked rhetorically. “What else is there? What the hell would we be doing this for if not to win? We’re trying to win today. Who’s going to get the better lunch? Let’s not have any misunderstanding about why we’re here.’’
Right, well now that we have that cleared up, we can move on to the next order of business, which is what to do with quarterback Blake Bortles. After all, it seems there’s potential for an immediate conflict between Coughlin, Marrone and general manager David Caldwell over that issue.
Meanwhile, Marrone stuck with Bortles as his quarterback through his two game stint as interim head coach and he and Caldwell have both made it clear that as far as they’re concerned, Bortles should remain the Jags starting quarterback. As for Coughlin, well no one is quite sure how he feels.
No one is sure because, according to Caldwell, Coughlin has yet to vet Bortles. That’s important because Coughlin has final say on personnel matters now, so there’s a chance he could quash any plans Caldwell and Marrone have of keeping Bortles in the driver’s seat.
All of which could make for an interesting winter and spring in Jacksonville. Given Coughlin’s penchant for secrecy he could keep his feelings regarding Bortles quiet until he finds a replacement either in free agency or the draft.
It’s possible then that we won’t know for sure until May whether Bortles passed muster with Coughlin, who may never succeed in turning the Jaguars back into winners on the field but is sure to succeed in making them a more interesting team off the field.
You can bet your lunch on that.