After being fired by the Jaguars, Tom Coughlin interviewed for the head coach's job in Cincinnati. Coughlin was thought to be the leading candidate for the Bengals job until rumors began to circulate that, in his interview with owner Mike Brown, Coughlin made too much of an issue of the Bengals' scouting and personnel departments.
Coughlin was rumored to have been insistent on major changes and upgrades in the way the Bengals scouted and made personnel decisions. The Bengals, of course, had a reputation for being a scouting cheapskate. If they were going to halt their skid and starting winning, they had to change their ways, right?
Wrong. Just look at their 2001 draft class, which brought Justin Smith, Chad Johnson, Rudi Johnson and T.J. Houshmandzadeh to the Bengals. It's one of the best draft classes in recent NFL history. Those four players represent the foundation on which the Bengals are built.
So, how is it the Bengals were able to spend less than everybody else and get more?
Maybe the Bengals just got lucky. Maybe drafting in the top five means you don't have to spend a lot of money. Or maybe they found somebody who could coach the talent they had.
Here are 11 things the Jaguars have to do to beat the Bengals.
- Feel the moment—It'll be the only moment the Jaguars will be on national television this year, so this is a good time to let it rip. If the Jaguars aren't bursting with energy for this one, there's something wrong.
- Cause confusion—Carson Palmer is all about efficiency. He's completed a league-leading 71.8 percent of his passes and he's got to be taken out of that rhythm.
- Rough 'em up—Find out how physical they are.
- Run right at 'em—Don't be fooled by their new-found success on defense. They're 15th against the run and three of the teams they've beaten are in the bottom seven of the league's rush rankings. The Bengals were 26th in the league against the run last year. Test their middle.
- Hold 'em if you have to—Just somehow, some way give Byron Leftwich time to throw.
- Win the battle at QB—Yeah, I know, quarterbacks don't play against each other. Baloney! This is a battle between Palmer and Leftwich and the Jaguars need Leftwich to win.
- Hitch the wagon to Fred—We need to know where Fred Taylor's at in his recovery from knee surgery. Make him a key figure. It's time to find out.
- Get something out of number two—I don't mean Chris Hanson, I mean the number two wide receiver position. Catches aren't good enough. Make big plays.
- Be who you were—This team was built on stop the run in 2003 when it was number two in run-defense. Now it's 29th and that's not the identity of a defense that wants to be top five. Forget the trick plays and stop the run.
- Expect support—This is a big game. This is a game at home against a 4-0 team that is almost certain to be in the AFC playoff picture. It's not too much to expect a stadium full of fans who are full of energy and willing to sit through a few raindrops.
- Reward them—Fans want wins. Give 'em what they want.