While Wade Phillips was the head coach of the Dallas Cowboys, I thought my team needed to stay far, far away from the man. Some men just aren’t great head coaches (his .573 winning percentage is still better than Jack Del Rio’s). Fortunately for Phillips, he’s a great defensive mind.
The Jaguars need a great defensive mind to replace Mel Tucker.
In the midst of the “blow it all to hell” craze that is sweeping Jaguars fans, Mel Tucker and his defensive unit tends to be overlooked. We need to examine it.
Mel Tucker came to Jacksonville in 2009 after serving as defensive coordinator for the Cleveland Browns in 2008. Despite not fielding a top 10 defense from 2008-2010, Tucker retained his job and turned the 2011 Jaguars D into an almost elite unit. Interestingly enough, it wasn’t takeaways that led the 2011 Jaguars to be so strong (Tucker’s Cleveland defense finished 3rd in takeaways in ’08). Instead his unit played strong defense because its players were good at their responsibilities.
Tucker’s defense relies on his players being instinctive and able to play their specific positions well without needing to exploit matchups with superior scheming. Unfortunately for Tucker, the Jaguars’ defense does not have the personnel to prop up such an approach. After GM Gene Smith took away Drew Coleman and Matt Roth and failed to adequately address depth at safety and linebacker, Tucker’s unit fell apart.
The 2012 Jaguars defense is a shell of last year’s. The play is slower, the few bright spots could have been anticipated last year, and those who were expected to make a jump fell off as the average skill level dropped off. Which brings me to my point: the Jaguars need a Wade Phillips.
This team is desperate for a man who can come in, work with whoever is general manager, reorganize the defense and create schemes for it to minimize weaknesses and maximize strengths. A good defensive coordinator can do wonders for an organization and make his head coach move from the hot seat to a very cushy, secure seat.
Phillips’ defenses have been in the top ten of at least one statistical category in almost every season of his 31 years of coaching. The proven leadership, development, and consistency is what the Jaguars have lacked in coaching over the past few years. It is something that is sorely needed as the Jaguars inevitably shake things up again this offseason.
Mel Tucker has done his work well, but it simply isn’t good enough and has not shifted enough with the inadequate talent that the Jaguars have had. The Jaguars need someone with a proven history of success. The Jaguars, like the Texans before them, need a Wade Phillips.
– Luke N. Sims
You can also find me on Twitter @LukeNSims