The future of the Jacksonville Jaguars depends on Tom Coughlin remembering the greatest success of his past and doing one thing.
The saga of Jalen Ramsey and the Jaguars can be reduced to Coughlin’s old-school sensibilities about team building juxtaposed against Ramsey’s freewheeling approach to life as a professional athlete.
That’s the obvious take based on Coughlin’s history. Coughlin, Jacksonville’s executive vice president of football operations, is 73 going on 800. His approach to football would make dinosaurs shake their heads in disbelief.
At least that’s what everyone in the football world would like to believe.
That reputation does come honestly. Coughlin doesn’t tolerate fools. He is all business, a man incapable of walking away from the game because he basically has no hobbies. Literally none.
The latest bit of news to confirm that is the report by FOX’s Jay Glazer that a meeting between Ramsey and Coughlin went poorly last week, prompting Ramsey to ask for a trade. This week, Ramsey reiterated his desire for a trade and missed the week of practice with a variety of issues. Ramsey was sick, hurt and then left Jacksonville to attend the birth of his second child.
At the same time, Ramsey is a cornerstone player in the building of any roster. He’s the best in the NFL at what he does, the Jaguars have him under contract for this year and then control the next two, giving them ample leverage to get a deal done.
But Ramsey has a tendency to go off script and talk big, a trait Coughlin dislikes. He has trashed opposing quarterbacks and taken few prisoners along the way.
And the fact is, that Jacksonville needs Ramsey as a player and as a promoter. Aside from the recent (and likely fleeting) fascination with backup quarterback Gardner Minshew, Ramsey is Jacksonville’s greatest hope to both win and become relevant.
Ramsey changes Xs and Os. There are perhaps 20 players in the NFL with his ability at any given time. With guys like that, you find a way to make it work. Bill Belichick did that with guys like Lawrence Taylor and Ty Law on his way to his first five Super Bowl rings.
Furthermore, what Ramsey does is not especially problematic. He’s not in any trouble. He isn’t a distraction to teammates and, up to now, didn’t miss practice. This is not Antonio Brown.
Ramsey is just a big talker in the vein of Deion Sanders. Ramsey also knows he has leverage and isn’t afraid to say so.
Deal with it, Tom, just like you did before.
As much as Coughlin is a control freak, his greatest success was ignited by his change of temperament in 2007. Changes that ignited the first of two Super Bowl runs Coughlin led in New York. That year, Coughlin worked hard to be able to laugh at himself instead of constantly sparring with his players and worrying about the thousand little rules he had.
In Coughlin’s first three years with the Giants from 2004 to 2006, he would fine players for an array of silly things. If you were 10 minutes early to a meeting, you were fined for being late. If you cut off the sleeves on your practice t-shirt, you got fined. If you asked for an explanation for why you got fined, you got fined again.
Coughlin had constant battles with star players, including running back Tiki Barber, defensive end Michael Strahan and tight end Jeremy Shockey. Barber quit before the 2007 season, openly tired of Coughlin’s style. The media called for Coughlin’s job.
Then Coughlin took the advice of players and management (chiefly owner John Mara) and learned to laugh at himself a little bit. He would smile more at practice and make fun of himself. One day in the locker room, he tripped as he was walking.
The next day, players had put tape on the floor to mark where Coughlin fell as if it was the outline of a dead boy. Coughlin saw the outline and laughed.
It was a small thing, but it went a long way. Players felt like they could breathe around Coughlin. Playing and coming to work became fun again. That season became a huge success in part because Coughlin let the players be themselves.
He needs to do that again.
Concern continues for former Jaguars DB Donovin Darius
Former Jaguars first-round pick and star defensive back of the late 90s- early 2000s, Donovan Darius, remains under a mental health watch after being arrested for DUI in North Florida Sunday and, further, concerns that he was suicidal.
ESPN Jaguars reporter Mike Dirocco had more details on the Sunday arrest and later hospitalization of Darius who was a first-round pick of the Jaguars in the 1998:
Former Jacksonville Jaguars safety Donovin Darius ingested numerous pills after being arrested and charged for driving under the influence on Sunday afternoon, per a law enforcement source. Darius was taken to a Jacksonville hospital for a mental health… https://t.co/Sqc3rSzwy7
— Michael DiRocco (@ESPNdirocco) January 27, 2020
According to a police Source, DiRocco reported that Darius had crashed his vehicle around 10 a.m. Sunday and told paramedics that he had ingested 20 – 30 pills trying to kill himself.
Police did find empty pill bottles in Darius’ car and could not follow through with a field sobriety test, as apparently Darius could not stand on his own and was incoherent. Darius was transported to a nearby hospital and is currently being held on Florida’s 72-hour “Baker Act,” which allows authorities out of concern for a person’s well-being or that he’s a danger to others, to hold and evaluate them.
Darius was also charged with misdemeanor DUI, although he didn’t appear in the Duval County Jail.
Darius started 117 games in his nine-year Jaguar career. His biggest season was 2004, where he had 89 tackles recorded five interceptions and recovered four fumbles. Dariuss played in four playoff games all coming in his first two seasons. That included an interception against the New York Jets in Jacksonville’s AFC Divisional round playoff loss 34 – 24.
Darius’ last season with Jacksonville was 2006, where he played in 10 games. Darius played in three games in the 2007 season for the Dolphins before being released and retired after that.
The 44 year old Darius has remained involved in the Jacksonville Community including being part of a sports camp for youth last November:
CALLING ALL BOYS AGES 9-18 | I’m challenging you in a race at my (FREE)30th D.A.R.E to DREAM SPORTS LIFE CAMP that will take place at on Sat. November 16th – 10am -2pm at University of North Florida. JOIN ME for… https://t.co/oqSY3JZMsn
— Donovin Darius (@DonovinDarius) October 31, 2019
Darius was recognized on the field at halftime of the Gator Bowl game at TIAA Bank Field (photo above) back on January 2nd between Tennessee and Indiana.
Duval County records do not yet have a court date yet for Darius, and it will be up to mental health officials to evaluate whether he can safely be released later this week.
Jaguars rookie DE Josh Allen on display in Pro Bowl
This afternoon in Orlando Jacksonville Jaguars rookie first-round pick Josh Allen will get to show NFL fans why he’s one of the best kept secrets on the defensive side of the ball in the league.
Allen will be participating, as a reserve for the AFC Squad in the annual Pro Bowl All-Star Game.
This, as he was a replacement for Kansas City Chiefs defensive lineman Frank Clark, because the Chiefs will be participating in Super Bowl 54 this week. The rookie 7th overall pick out of Kentucky has had a deserving season with 10.5 sacks, which was the most among rookies in the AFC in 2019 and is also a Jaguars single-season rookie record.
Allen also had 22 QB hits and another 11 tackles for loss even during a trying Jacksonville season.
Further, Allen was drafted a year ago by the Jaguars front office of Tom Coughlin and GM Dave Caldwell to be a potential replacement at defensive end for a couple of Jaguars, who may not be around much longer. One of those is their top pass-rusher of the last three seasons Yannick Ngakoue, who is slated to be an unrestricted free agent coming up in March.
Of course Jacksonville could still find a way to re-sign Ngakoue, or even place the “Franchise Tag” on him, if they so desired. That would be a somewhere around an $18-19 million for 2020.
Then, you have fellow veteran pro bowler Calais Campbell who has earned the Pro Bowl honor for the third consecutive year and is arguably the Jaguars best free agent acquisition in team history. Campbell made this year’s AFC Pro Bowl Squad with 6.5 sacks and has the longest current streak of 11 seasons with at least five of them.
However, he is slated to make $14.5 million this season and at his advanced age (he’ll be 34 this fall) may not be worth that salary to Caldwell and the organization.
Jacksonville could elect to restructure Campbell’s contract especially because he is a liter not only are the defense but in their locker room back to Alan he’s certainly has tremendous potential but if the combo oven gokwe and or Campbell aren’t there it would make much more difficulty for him to have a success that he had in 2019.
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