Tom Coughlin’s return to the Jacksonville Jaguars has brought out all of the nostalgia, including a possible second Cinderella season.
There has been a lot of nostalgia surrounding the Jacksonville Jaguars since firing former head coach Gus Bradley. Tom Coughlin has returned and Keenan McCardell is the team’s wide receivers coach. There’s a return to the old structure of the franchise and that return has ushered in new optimism.
That optimism must be infectious, because even Adam Schein has the Jacksonville Jaguars as his team most likely to make a Cinderella run in the 2017 season. The Jaguars famously became contenders with a 1996 Cinderella season in which the team won its final five games to finish 9-7, sneak into the playoffs and ultimately make it to the AFC Conference Championship.
If Coughlin could do it again, this time as the executive vice president of football operations, it would truly be magical. And that is exactly what Schein is proposing. Writes Schein in his conclusion:
"Budding talent ready to shine. A hard-nosed coach poised to earn your affection. Commitment to defense and toughness. Sound like a team ready to shock the football world?America loves a Cinderella. America needs the Jacksonville Jaguars."
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Ultimately, what Schein is talking about in his early prediction that the Jaguars will be 2017’s Cinderella story is culture change. A culture change is exactly what the Jaguars were going for in hiring Coughlin and in elevating head coach Doug Marrone. They are both turning around a team that had grown complacent and accepting of losing.
Marrone and Coughlin won’t stand for that. The expectations for 2017 are high, internally, no matter what other NFL “experts” say or can’t pick up in the occasional, monthly cursory glance they give the Jaguars. It all adds up to a season that could, ultimately, surprise the vast majority of NFL fans.
Schein may have been forced to pick a team for a Cinderella season and his options were certainly limited to the cellar-dwellers of the NFL, but he is onto something with the Jaguars. The Jags have a lot more going for them than it may appear from the outside.