The coach was explaining to the media the message of focus he had just delivered to his players. He decided to use a golf analogy; at least one guy in the room got it.
It goes something like this: There are golfers who analyze their technique after every swing. They moan and groan after every shot; my tempo was bad, or I hit from the top, or I didn't get back to the ball, etc. Those types of golfers are forever playing their last shot, not the next one.
Del Rio wants his team to focus on the putt it has to make to win the hole. That's all. Just putt the ball into the hole. It's a lovely sell job, provided you have a room full of guys who can understand it.
No matter what the analogy is, the intent is to eliminate distractions so that all of a person's focus is on one thing and one thing only: winning the next game.
Chuck Noll would do it by telling his players, "Just do your job. Don't worry about the team. I'll take care of the team." Bill Cowher did it by sticking out his jaw and reaching into his team's collective soul and finding the right button to push. Tom Coughlin did it with his "keys to victory." Del Rio does it with simple to understand logic.
However a coach does it doesn't matter, just as long as they are able to do it. They must be able to focus their team. They must be able to get the best out of every player who has a job to do.
Clearly, that is Del Rio's immediate task. He has to cut through the despair of a 3-4 start and another heartbreaking defeat and motivate his team to dedicate itself completely to the task of winning a game this Sunday the football world absolutely will not be watching. It's a difficult task. It would be much easier if the opponent was undefeated instead of winless.
"The record of the opponent is not the important thing. Us getting some great energy and going up there and competing, that's what it's about for us," Del Rio said.
Here are 10 things the Jaguars have to do to beat the Bengals.
- Just make the putt—All of the great swings you make mean nothing unless the ball goes in the hole.
- Start fast—Winless teams are vulnerable to despair. Give them a reason to feel bad.
- Set a new goal—Yeah, it's time to break from all of the offseason and preseason hype. It's time to remove that rope from around their necks and start anew.
- Follow his lead—David Garrard is showing the way. Follow him.
- Play better defense—Yeah, that's awfully generic, but it's really come down to that. The Jaguars defense has fallen to 23rd in the league and any kind of improvement is welcome.
- Win the line of scrimmage—It's at the heart of any team's success.
- Accept the challenge—Chad "Don't Call Me Johnson" Ocho Cinco has called out the Jaguars secondary. Respond.
- Make big plays—Look at what it did for Cleveland.
- Say hello to November—There's an unmistakable sense of urgency in the air.
- Respect your opponent—The Bengals have played good teams tough this year. They are not a push-over.