Call it a Christmas gift from his players.
Coach Tom Coughlin was able to conduct his most light-hearted press conference of the season today, on Christmas Eve, and it was the result of a performance in Minnesota Sunday that bordered on having been perfect.
"All three phases (offense, defense, special teams) played very well. All the objectives we had going into the game were pretty much completed. We only punted one time, for 53 yards," Coughlin said in review of the Jaguars' 33-3 win over the Vikings.
If it wasn't the Jaguars' finest performance of the season, it was certainly their best since opening the season with a win over the Steelers. How do we know that, other than for the final score? Well, for a coach who usually addresses the most minor of flaws in his team's game, Coughlin could find very little in Sunday's win.
"Rushing the ball the way we did assured we could win time of possession; keep the ball away from them. That's how we wanted to play the game, if we could," he said.
"He's been a real solid football player," the coach added of running back Stacey Mack's recent outings, "but our offensive line has improved, too. Our offensive line played very well."
Compliments from the coach weren't restricted to offense. Defensive end Tony Brackens and defensive tackle Gary Walker each recorded two sacks, and Coughlin singled out each player.
"He's played hard and he's played consistently," he said of Brackens. "Gary Walker is playing extremely well."
Then there are cornerbacks Jason Craft and Kiwaukee Thomas, who've come off the bench recently to replace injured starters Fernando Bryant and Aaron Beasley. Against Cris Carter and Randy Moss Sunday, Craft and Thomas were better than adequate.
"I'm glad to see these young guys are playing well and responding to it," Coughlin said of Craft and Thomas, who've been in the lineup together for two consecutive weeks. "Both guys are playing aggressively. They're still maintaining their roles (on special teams)."
Beasley was put on injured reserve last week with a shoulder injury he suffered in Cincinnati on Dec. 9. Bryant has been out of action with a chronic foot injury.
"He's played with it the whole year," Coughlin said of Bryant. "He's concerned about it. He's in the rest mode now."
Coughlin explained why he hasn't put running back Fred Taylor on the injured reserve list. Taylor continues to be listed on the injury report each week as "questionable," though there's little doubt Taylor will not play.
"Because Fred can practice and he can contribute," Coughlin said. "All of these things are a part of his rehab now. Changing direction is now something he's been advised to do."
With that, Coughlin wished reporters a "merry Christmas."
It's as merry as it gets for the Jaguars this season.