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Coughlin accepted blame

Join Jaguars Inside Report Senior Editor Vic Ketchman as he tackles the fans' tough questions.

David from Orlando, FL:
Tom Coughlin is constantly criticized for cap mismanagement. But did he or the team really do anything wrong? If the goal of every NFL team is to win the Super Bowl, and we can all agree the "window" period is small, how can anybody blame Coughlin (or Weaver) for identifying the opportunity in 1999 and taking their best shot?

Vic: I think Tom Coughlin and Wayne Weaver would each confess to having been a little too aggressive. The Jaguars were very, very fortunate the Texans expansion draft came along at just the right time.

Mark from Jacksonville:
Your proximity to the team on a daily basis allows you to gauge team "chemistry" better than most. How does this team stack up to Jags teams of the past and other (Steelers) teams you have covered? The feeling I get from media interviews/stories is they are gelling big-time. Is this wishful thinking on my part?

Vic: This team does have a fondness for each other. I can't tell you how it happened but I strongly believe Mark Brunell is one of its ingredients. On the heels of the concussion he suffered in Tennessee this past Sunday, Brunell will only add to that feeling of unity should he respond with a big game in Baltimore. Adversity always offers the opportunity for teams to grow in strength. Maybe that's the reason this team has united the way it has in the early part of the season.

Dennis from Jacksonville:
People always like to hear about the best offenses and defenses, well, who had the most inept offense in history? Who had the most porous defense in history?

Vic: The 1976 Tampa Bay Bucs would be solid candidates in each category. The '76 Bucs are an amazing study. They were shutout five times in a winless 14-game schedule and they allowed 40 points or more four times. They also did not sell out one game in their inaugural season, and had crowds of less than 45,000 six times.

David from Daytona Beach, FL:
I have a question on draft picks. I read in the paper the Vikings have yet to sign Bryant McKinnie. Do the Vikings own McKinnie because they picked him or can anyone sign him since the season started?

Vic: The Vikings will own the rights to Bryant McKinnie until next spring's draft. If he is unsigned at that point, he will re-enter the draft. The Vikings could opt to trade McKinnie's rights in March.

Mark from Garland, TX:
A couple of weeks ago against the Jets we saw a powerful combination of Taylor and Mack running the ball, and it paid off quite well. I think that with Brunell out this week against the Titans this would have been an effective combination as well; at least it would have mixed it up a little bit. Why don't we see more of this shared running of the ball? Wouldn't this also prevent Taylor from being put more at risk to be injured?

Vic: The playbook is the playbook and it is designed around a model or system. Teams can't change on the fly, for the obvious reasons. Most teams' offensive design provides for a running back and a fullback, as does the Jaguars'. What you're describing is a split-backs system. Stacey Mack is not a capable enough blocker to be a fullback and adding a split-backs set might deepen the playbook too much and cause overall inconsistencies with the design. Coaches don't draw plays in the dirt. They decide on a system and work toward perfecting it.

Jason from Mojave, CA:
When Brunell gets hurt don't you think it's probably a better idea to use Graham instead of a rookie quarterback?

Vic: You go with your best player. Tom Coughlin believes David Garrard is that guy.

Jerry from Jacksonville:
With Mo Williams' injury, this should give Coughlin an opportunity to shift Zach Wiegert back to right tackle and give Mike Pearson the chance to start at left tackle. What is your take on this?

Vic: My immediate question is, will you have weakened yourself at two positions?

Travis from Jacksonville:
You are the coach of a young team, coming off unquestionably their biggest win of the year. You are going into one of the most hostile environments in the NFL and your first play from scrimmage is an "up route?" I truly believe, with or without Brunell, we were outcoached before we even took the field. This has been the case since Jeff Fisher staked a claim to having two home fields, Alltel and Adelphia. Say what you will, Coughlin led that team into battle and they were not well-prepared. Do you agree?

Vic: I'm not big on play-calling. Call whatever you want; just make it work. As far as preparation, Tom Coughlin admitted Monday he was unable to get his message -- that the Titans' backs were to the wall and would play with desperation -- across to his team last week, though he preached and preached on the subject. If I tell you that's the way it was and you choose not to believe me, then, is it my fault? However, coaches bear the ultimate responsibility for the performance of their teams, and Coughlin admitted on Monday his team did not have its head on straight. He accepted blame.

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