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Indications are good


I'm not a play-calling kind of guy. That doesn't mean I don't think to myself, "I would've called a different play;" it just means I don't want to spend all of my energy in regret. Hey! Call it, execute it. The team that does that wins.

And furthermore, some of the best offenses in history have been the most predictable. Look at the Colts. They run two plays on the goal line. They run pass or they run trap pass. But they make 'em work.

No, I'm not a play-calling kind of guy. I tend not to blame the offensive coordinator. I figure he knows a lot more about play-calling than I do.

I do, however, have one sensitive spot when it comes to play-calling controversy. No, it's not about the infamous play-action. I don't even know what most people are trying to say when they talk about needing to run some kind of play-action down on the goal line.

Here's what gets to me:

If you're trying to score touchdowns, then shouldn't the ball be thrown over the goal line once in a while? You know, in golf they talk about getting the ball to the hole. It's a fact that 100 percent of all putts short of the hole don't go into the hole. Well, isn't it the same in football?

Well, of course it is and, yes, I am a simpleton, but think about it for a minute: How many games have you watched in which the offense refuses to throw the ball into the end zone?

That's what drives me nuts, and I thought it was a major problem for the Jaguars last season. Throw the darn thing across the goal line, please! Stop throwing sideways. Throw it down the field. That's where the goal line is.

Well, this year, I think we're going to see more of that, and that's what I like most about what I've seen of this offense this spring. It looks like it has plans to throw the ball into the end zone, or at least in the direction of the end zone and not the sideline.

Go ahead, put the onus on the players. Byron Leftwich talks a lot about being aggressive and making plays. All right, Byron, prove you can do it.

And Leftwich's receivers talk a lot about being able to make plays and just needing the opportunity. All right, here's your chance, guys. Show us you can make those plays.

I don't like chess; never had the time or inclination to play it. It's not for people of my limited intelligence. I need something simpler, such as an offense that points its nose in the direction of the goal line and not the cheerleaders. Touchdowns, guys; score touchdowns.

Carl Smith is the Jaguars' new offensive coordinator. I like this guy. He's calm. He's a conversationalist. He has the kind of personality with which I'd enjoy working. If I was his quarterback, I would feel comfortable in his presence.

The Colts' Tom Moore has that kind of personality. He's a great mind and a great guy. There's something about that combination that works real well.

Being a successful coordinator isn't all about X's and O's. Truth be known, it's not nearly as much about X's and O's as it is about the ability to identify and utilize your players' abilities. Great coordinators are great communicators. Their players have high levels of understanding. Smith, in my opinion, is someone who possesses an ease of communication, and I think Leftwich is flourishing in that environment.

The thing I'm going to remember most about this spring's workouts – the ones, of course, I have personally witnessed – is the consistency with which Leftwich has performed. He has steadily improved.

Last spring, there was a lot of talk about how great Leftwich looked. Early on, he did. Frankly, however, I thought he was stinko late in the spring. I thought he got sloppy with his passes and that he threw too many interceptions. I can remember that at one point late last spring I turned to a fellow reporter and asked, "What's happened to Leftwich?"

There has been no such question this spring. Leftwich has looked focused at all times. I have seen no bouts of carelessness. His passes have been sharp and his movements purposeful. He appears to be a person with a higher level of understanding.

Now, please, throw the ball into the end zone.

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