Tom Coughlin told reporters today that he weighed more than Damon Gibson's fumble this past Sunday into the decision to release Gibson yesterday afternoon.
"Damon Gibson did not lose that game," Coughlin said at his noon press conference. "He didn't help, but that did not lose that game.
"The thing I've wrestled with is I've had six wide receivers on the roster. The other thing I have a problem with is Eric Westmoreland has a concussion. We felt the opportunity to sign a linebacker who could help us on special teams right away (would) help us," Coughlin added of the factors he weighed in his decision to cut Gibson and sign linebacker Bobby Brooks.
Coughlin has been criticized by fans for his treatment of Gibson, who fumbled a punt in the third quarter of the Jaguars' 28-25 loss to the Colts. The Jaguars led, 17-14, at the time. Three plays after Gibson's fumble, the Colts scored a touchdown and held the lead the rest of the way.
Gibson was scolded by Coughlin on the sideline, then Coughlin told reporters after the game that two plays, an interception Mark Brunell threw and, of course, Gibson's fumble, were to blame for the loss. In his Monday press conference, Coughlin made it clear Gibson's days with the Jaguars were numbered.
"I was happy to have him here," Coughlin said of his final comments to Gibson on Tuesday. "I enjoyed having him here. At the present time, I didn't feel he was performing like the player I brought here. He said, 'Coach, I didn't do the job.'"
Coughlin fielded several pointed questions during today's press conference. He was asked if releasing Gibson sends a message to his team, especially to marginal players, to not make mistakes.
"Is that bad?" Coughlin said. "That has not been my history," he said of releasing players after they've made critical errors in games. But later in the press conference, Coughlin added: "Maybe it is my history."
Clearly, he wants his players to understand fumbling is not conducive to job security.
"A player has to perform to a certain level. If I don't like that level, there's a number of conversations about it and a chance to improve," he said. "The message is we all have a job to do and you have to do it at a level that will allow us to win."