Tom Coughlin sees nothing in his players' body language this week that would indicate light regard for this Sunday's opponent, the expansion Houston Texans.
"Good practice yesterday; they were focused," Coughlin told reporters at his noon press conference today.
The Jaguars will be facing a 1-5 Texans team that deserves the lion's share of the credit for the Jaguars' recovery from a salary cap problem that appeared as though it would bury the team for several years. In selecting Tony Boselli, Gary Walker and Seth Payne in last winter's expansion draft, the Texans lifted $17 million of remaining amortization from the Jaguars' salary cap. That allowed the Jaguars to accelerate their cap recovery process, which seemed to pump new life and energy into the team.
"It's very difficult to find players of that caliber," Coughlin said when asked if the Texans made a major mistake in providing relief to one of their three AFC South counterparts. "I think they would tell you (Walker and Payne) are playing very well. When Tony gets back on his feet," Coughlin added, his voice trailing off.
Of course, no one is sure if Boselli will ever recover from his shoulder surgeries to play again.
But that's not Coughlin's concern. Coughlin is confronted by issues such as a team on a two-game losing streak, and a star wide receiver who complained this past Monday that his role in the offense has become "very limited," and that the Jaguars don't throw deep often enough.
"What if they catch it? There's two of them and one of ours," Coughlin said of the consistent double-coverage Smith receives. "The gameplan is set for the play-makers. He'll be double-teamed wherever he is this week. Write it down," Coughlin added of Smith, who has fallen to 19th in the AFC in pass receptions.
Coughlin is also confronted by a placekicking problem that resulted in the release of rookie kicker Hayden Epstein on Tuesday, and the addition of former Cowboys kicker Tim Seder. Coughlin hopes Seder will respond with a performance that will ease concerns that resulted in Coughlin turning his back on three field goal attempts this past Sunday in Baltimore.
"He was five-for-five in field goals and kicked off well," Coughlin said of Seder's first practice with the Jaguars, on Wednesday.