Back in 2018, it looked like the Jacksonville Jaguars were going to rock the NFL for years to come. They were coming off an AFC Championship appearance and were one bad call away from reaching the Super Bowl. Moreover, they had one of the best defenses in the league. So why didn’t the Jags become a powerhouse? Former executive of football operations Tom Coughlin, that’s why.
It was well-known that Coughlin’s way of doing things wasn’t very popular among players and former Jaguars cornerback Jalen Ramsey recently shed light on his disdain for the former head coach and executive. The 2016 first-round pick recently appeared on the Catching Fades podcast. He told host Aqib Talib that, “to be honest, we didn’t like Coughlin“, per Jeff Kerr of CBS Sports. Ramsey went on to say that Coughlin was out of touch and he wasn’t adding anything to the team.
"It felt like…even worse than college at times. We felt like half the stuff he was trying to implement wasn’t even about football. You have to wear white socks. It doesn’t matter if I wear white socks or black socks — the receiver is gonna get shut down regardless."
Later, Ramsey says that after getting into a quarrel with then-head coach Doug Marrone, he met with owner Shad Khan, Tony Khan, then general manager Dave Caldwell and Coughlin. The Pro Bowl cornerback says that the Khans were respectful but Coughlin and Caldwell weren’t. He said that after meeting with the Jaguars’ brass, he called his agent to request a trade. Here’s the podcast if you want to take a look at it, and if it doesn’t play, click here.
Tom Coughlin wasn’t fit to oversee the Jacksonville Jaguars.
At the time, it made sense to bring Coughlin back as the executive vice president of football operations in Jacksonville. After all, he helped the Jaguars reached back-to-back conference championships and also led the New York Giants to two Super Bowl wins. However, he quickly showed the NFL had passed him by.
You don’t like to like your head coach, but Coughlin made it very difficult for players to thrive in Jacksonville. As one of the leaders of the organization, he was supposed to build a nurturing environment. Now, there isn’t just one way to do things. Head coaches Bill Belichick, Andy Reid, and Bruce Arians have different coaching styles but they have guided their respective teams to the Super Bowl in recent years.
Belichick, in particular, isn’t one of the most popular head coaches among players. Nevertheless, he knows how to get players to perform at a high level. On the other hand, Coughlin seemed more interested in antagonizing players and making sure they were early to team meetings.
How bad things got during Coughlin’s second tenure in Jacksonville? The NFLPA (the players’ union) warned potential free agents about signing with the Jaguars, who were responsible for over 25 percent of the grievances filed by players at the time.
Coughlin taught the Jacksonville Jaguars how not to run a team.
In Coughlin’s defense, he isn’t the only head coach or executive that failed to adjust to the NFL. Joe Gibbs led the Washinton Football Team to three Super Bowls (with three different starting quarterbacks).
Alas, Gibbs wasn’t able to recreate his magic in his second tenure with the team. On the other hand, you have coaches like Reid, who has been in the league for more than two decades but he’s always looking for ways to reinvent himself and update his philosophy.
The Jacksonville Jaguars realized Coughlin’s leadership style wasn’t working. Otherwise, they wouldn’t have moved on with it. On the bright side, they are in a better place now. Even though head coach Urban Meyer has made a few mistakes, he’s got the team trending in the right direction. Also, Jacksonville now has a potential quarterback in Trevor Lawrence.
While the Jags are in the early stages of a rebuild, they have the correct leadership in place to ensure return to the AFC Championship and make their first trip to the Super Bowl.