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History is a good teacher


Coaches don't like to live in the past. They don't like to use the past as a measuring stick and they almost always deflect any question that invites a comparison.

I've always believed, however, that history is a good teacher, and even though I know coach Jack Del Rio would dismiss any suggestion that he consider a game the Jaguars played against Tennessee a year before he was the Jaguars' coach, I'm gonna examine such a game right here in this column.

The year was 2002. Even though the Jaguars were clearly in a rebuilding year that was necessitated by salary cap mismanagement, coach Tom Coughlin had his team at 3-1 and coming off a rousing, upset win over the Eagles. You remember the game, right? The one when Donovan McNabb barfed in the middle of the field.

Anyhow, the Jaguars were the toast of the NFL when they went to Tennessee to play a 1-4 Titans team that was at death's door. This was the chance for the Jaguars to do to the Titans what the Titans did to the Jaguars three years earlier, we wrote. In other words, ruin their season.

Well, the Titans won that game and 11 of 12, which carried them all the way to the AFC title game. The Jaguars went on a losing streak that cost Coughlin his job.

You might remember that Samari Rolle knocked Mark Brunell out of that game with a cheap-shot sideline hit. Titans coach Jeff Fisher also used a special teams trick play to assist his team's winning effort.

So what does it all mean? It means the Jaguars can expect the Titans to be physical and to have a special teams trick play ready to use, if need be. We can also expect this to be a crossroads game.

Hey, I believe in history being a good teacher.

Here are 10 things the Jaguars have to do to beat the Titans.

*   Limit the Titans running game—This is critical. The Titans have a killer running game and running back. Chris Johnson can take over a game. Winning the game begins and ends with containing Johnson.

Stretch the field sideways—The Titans defensive line likes to play in a small area. Stretching the field could help poke holes in that line. * Throw it—Against the league's 29th-ranked pass-defense and second-ranked run-defense, the Jaguars will have to throw to win. *

Make big plays—The finger points at the receivers because Maurice Jones-Drew can't do it alone. * Play more 4-3—The 3-4 won't get it done against this rushing attack. *

Ride the wave—The win in Houston has given the Jaguars momentum. Use it. * Out-coach them—The Titans have better players, which means the Jaguars have to have better coaches. *

Rush the quarterback—Forget about this one. I was just dreaming.

  • Tackle well—This should be a given in professional football, but it isn't. * Look into his eyes—I know, it's tough looking through those sunglasses, but there's evil in Jeff Fisher's eyes. What tricks does he have planned for this game?
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