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Coughlin softens on controversial call


Tom Coughlin softened his stance today on Sunday's controversial game-winning touchdown play, in which replay failed to overrule a catch by Baltimore wide receiver Qadry Ismail.

"I want to say the ball was trapped … but I can't tell," Coughlin said during his noon press conference today. He had watched the team's video of the play, but Coughlin said he had yet to see the replay versions television offered its viewers and the game's replay-review crew.

In a radio interview following the Jaguars' 18-17 loss to the Ravens Sunday at PSINet Stadium, Coughlin was biting and emotional in his remarks.

"That ball was on the ground. That's the problem with this whole league right there. It's gutless unless you make the call. And I'll say that," Coughlin told radio.

Today he agreed he will probably be fined by the league for his postgame remarks, and his tone of voice indicated he regrets having been as strong in his postgame criticism. "I'm just hoping there's a TV copy somewhere that'll show it," Coughlin said.

In the play, Cunningham's pass appears trapped between Ismail's chest and the ground. The question is: Was Ismail's hands or arms underneath the ball?

Referee Jeff Triplette reviewed the play, then ruled video information was insufficient to overrule the original call of "touchdown."

"I was venting. That was part of the emotional aspect of the game," Coughlin said of his sideline and postgame dispute of the "touchdown" ruling. "Don't ask me not to be emotional about coaching a football game.

"That's what we're supposed to be able to correct. I definitely am a proponent of making the proper correction," he added during today's press conference.

At 2-4, the Jaguars will have to quickly shift their focus away from what might've be and to what will be, if they are to have any chance of ending their current losing streak. This Sunday, the Jaguars will play the Titans at Adelphia Coliseum.

Today, Coughlin delivered more bad news. "It doesn't look like" Fred Taylor will play against the Titans, which will mark the fourth consecutive game Taylor will have missed due to the severe groin injury he suffered against the Titans on Sept. 23.

The Jaguars are 0-4 in those games and, to a man, they know they need their star running back in the lineup for the team's fortunes to reverse. In Baltimore, counting Mark Brunell's four scrambles out of pass formation and the Ravens' three sacks, the Jaguars attempted 44 pass plays vs. 11 run plays.

That gross imbalance left the Jaguars with 7:28 less time of possession than the Ravens, and that deficiency was felt most in the fourth quarter as the Jaguars attempted to protect a 17-6 lead. Amazingly, the Jaguars did not attempt one running play in the final quarter. The combination of no running game and no defense allowed the Ravens to score two touchdowns and to hold the ball for all but 4:27 of the quarter.

"Our team is at a point that we don't take solace in playing well and losing. We had done a lot of things well, but we let the game get away from us," Coughlin said.

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