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Coughlin doesn't deflect criticism


Tom Coughlin made a point of telling reporters at his noon media conference that he accepts full responsibility for the performance of his team.

"It's my responsibility. I'm humiliated. I don't like being associated with anything that doesn't look like a well-oiled machine," Coughlin said in response to a question about being the focus of fan criticism.

Once upon a time, everything about the Jaguars franchise was in ascent. They made it to the AFC title game twice in four seasons. The franchise's won-lost record was a steady climb, from 4-12 to 9-7 to 11-5 consecutively and, finally, to 14-2 in 1999.

There hadn't been a backward step until last season, when the Jaguars sagged to 7-9. Now, there are thoughts this season will be worse; that the end of this season will be the start of explosive change. In fact, fan criticism is already demanding it.

It prompted a reporter to ask Coughlin today if he still considers himself the right man for the Jaguars head coach's job. "Absolutely," Coughlin said.

With that, Coughlin headed back to work, which would include a full team session during which tape of last night's 13-10 loss to the Buffalo Bills would be the feature attraction.

"I'm going to say, 'Here's how you lose football games,'" Coughlin said of how he would present video of Thursday night's game to his players. "You talk about pride. Take a look at this tape and tell me about pride. One touchdown a game?" he said of his offense, which is the focus of his dissatisfaction today.

"They'll be very, very shocked when they see themselves on tape this afternoon. I think we're better than we're playing. We've got to have production. Right now, there is no production," he added.

Coughlin said blame is easily spread from position to position, but he agreed the head coach and the quarterback usually bear the brunt of the blame, and Mark Brunell accepted his share in Thursday night's postgame press conference.

"Some of the guys who've been around here for a number of years are making mistakes," Brunell told reporters today. "I've been lower. We're five games into it. It's not time to cash it in and start looking to next year."

Coughlin agreed with a reporter who offered the observation that Brunell's performance in the last two games may have been affected by Cleveland defensive tackle Gerard Warren's hit and the concussion Brunell suffered as a result of that hit on Sept. 30.

"Yeah, there's no question about that," Coughlin said. "There's some confidence that has to take place. As (Thursday night's) game progressed, I thought he was more himself."

Coughlin also agreed with the observation quarterbacks bear the responsibility of lifting their teams out of slumps. "We certainly need that. In the NFL, that's pretty much the norm," Coughlin said.

"We gotta stop talking and play. It's time we got something done on the field," he added, referring to a three-game losing streak that has the Jaguars at 2-3.

"There's an unsettledness about the players. Until we get that turned around, I'm taking responsibility for that. I take full responsibility for it. I've had my back against the wall before," Coughlin said.

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