Joe Cullen was hired in the offseason to get out of Derrick Harvey what the team saw in him when they made him the eighth pick of the 2008 draft. Cullen is hoping his decision to bench Harvey will get it done.
"This is a defining moment for Harve and I expect Harve to fight," the Jaguars defensive line coach said following practice on Wednesday.
Prior to practice, Cullen informed Harvey he would be replaced in the starting lineup this Sunday by Jeremy Mincey. It will end a streak of 26 consecutive starts, dating back to the midway point in his rookie season.
"He handled it great," Cullen said of Harvey's reaction to the news. "He busted his tail. Obviously, he was (angry). We'll make a decision on playing time at week's end."
Harvey will compete for playing time along with rookies Larry Hart, Austen Lane and Aaron Morgan.
"We'll decide on Friday based on practice," Cullen said when asked if there's a chance Harvey won't be active for Sunday's game in Dallas.
So what's wrong? Why hasn't a player worthy of the eighth pick of the draft been more successful?
"It's the finish," Cullen said, referring to that final step in getting to the quarterback. "The big thing is you have to want to finish.
"I take that on my shoulders. It's about being consistent in your play. It's about being consistent in your practice habits. You can't hide in a 4-3. All four down guys are responsible for winning their one-on-one battles," Cullen said.
Can Harvey regain his starting job and become the pass-rusher he was selected to be?
"I don't quit on anybody. I know there's something inside there. I have to get it out of him," Cullen said.
The hope is Harvey will acquire from this demotion a sense of desperation that all good pass-rushers need. Cullen said Aaron Kampman possesses such desperation.
"I've been coaching for 20 years and, to me, it's a deciding moment in anyone's career when their starting job is taken away. I think he'll fight to get it back," Cullen said.