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Coughlin, Brunell met prior to decision


Coach Tom Coughlin and quarterback Mark Brunell met Monday afternoon to discuss the state of the position and the Jaguars offense. Shortly after that meeting, Coughlin announced that Brunell would be the team's starting quarterback in Tennessee on Monday night.

Coughlin initially announced at his 12:15 p.m. press conference Monday that he was undecided as to who his starting quarterback would be, though he admitted today that he probably knew it would be Brunell. "I just felt that, in all fairness, I had to give it some thought," Coughlin said of his hesitation.

"After (the press conference), I had a chance to visit with Mark. There was no doubt that Mark Brunell is our quarterback. He can lead us out of this situation we're in offensively," Coughlin said when he met with reporters today.

"I thought it was a positive conversation, and I'll leave it at that," Brunell said. "I've just got to put it behind me and look forward to the Titans game. I'm going to go out and try to get my team a win."

It would've been very awkward for Coughlin to have benched Brunell for the game in Tennessee, which will be the third time in four weeks the Jaguars will have played on national television. To bench Brunell would only create national conversation about what was happening in Jacksonville. The Jaguars' 2-4 record is enough of a negative, let alone throwing gasoline on a Coughlin-Brunell feud storyline.

Coughlin's burning desire is that his team will somehow rally to do something it couldn't do once in three tries last season. Of course, two of those games we're in Jacksonville. This Monday night, the two teams play in Adelphia Coliseum, where the Titans have never lost.

Should the Jaguars beat the Titans, they will have salvaged their national reputation, put the Coughlin-Brunell matter behind them, and reinstated themselves as a postseason contender. A loss, of course, will further dramatize everything that has gone wrong this season.

"My expectation levels are very high. I expect the ball to go into the end zone," Coughlin said. "I very, very rarely pull the quarterback. It came about as the best opportunity to change the momentum," he added of his reasoning for benching Brunell with nine minutes to play in Sunday night's 15-10 loss to the Baltimore Ravens.

Jaguars players never doubted Brunell would remain the team's starter. "Any way (Coughlin) did it, in my mind it was (Brunell). I don't know what he was debating on. For everybody in this locker room, it was number eight," wide receiver Keenan McCardell said.

"It definitely would turn our season around. Beating Tennessee would give a spark to this whole franchise," wide receiver Jimmy Smith said.

"I don't think the word is revenge, but we are very aware that Tennessee beat us twice at home and once on the road," Coughlin said. "We're trying to go forward. We're calling it a 10-game season."

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