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Coughlin has remained calm


He has plenty of reason to say something sharp, but he's refused to crack.

Tom Coughlin has been dealt a somewhat unfair hand. Had he known in April his top wide receiver would be a holdout in August, Coughlin probably would've approached the draft a little differently. You'd have to believe he would've gone for a wide receiver on the first day; maybe in the first round, when Tennessee speedster Donte Stallworth was still available when it was the Jaguars' turn to pick at number nine.

But Stallworth wasn't even a consideration for the Jaguars. Why not? Because the Jaguars had Jimmy Smith, one of the game's premier pass-catchers and a player of rare dedication to team and coach.

"If we knew we would be playing without a Pro-Bowl receiver, I would have to say that would've been a consideration," Coughlin said when asked if his approach to the draft would've been altered had he known Smith would be a holdout. "You don't draft people to fill the position of a Pro-Bowl player under contract," he added.

The great irony in all of this is that Coughlin has been criticized by Keenan McCardell for having the nerve to draft a wide receiver in the first round while McCardell was still playing for the Jaguars, and now Smith's holdout is making Coughlin pay the price for not having drafted a wide receiver high in this past April's draft. Talk about damned if you do and damned if you don't.

It's a lose-lose scenario that would irritate the most passive of personalities, and Coughlin is certainly not one of those passive types. You would think a coach renown for his tirades would've cracked by now, but he hasn't. He has yet to take a shot at Smith during the star's one-month holdout.

In fact, Coughlin has been the exact opposite of testy. He has been calm and understanding in his comments to reporters about the Smith situation. Witness Monday's comments:

"There is no strain about that at all," he said of what the holdout may mean to Coughlin's and Smith's coach-player relationship. "Jimmy's posture is that it's strictly business, and my posture is that I want him in," Coughlin added.

So it is that a coach who has long been criticized for being overly harsh and insensitive to his players, has consistently been a voice of reason and diplomacy in answering questions about Smith's holdout. Quite frankly, he'd be well within the rules of fairness to explode.

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