Tom Coughlin confirmed today the Jaguars are interested in signing free-agent quarterback Charlie Batch, and Coughlin may have been confirming an interest in free-agent defensive end Marco Coleman when the Jaguars coach made reference to Clyde Simmons.
"He has a strong desire to play and be in the right system. He had a good workout," Coughlin said of Batch, who visited Jacksonville yesterday. Batch had previously visited Houston and was expected to make trips to Green Bay and Pittsburgh.
Batch signed a big deal with the Lions a few years ago when he appeared to be their quarterback for the long-term future, but he lost that distinction when new coach Marty Mornhinweg arrived last season. Now, Batch is looking for a team that might offer him the future possibility of competing for the starting job.
Meanwhile, veteran defensive end Marco Coleman is thought to have piqued the Jaguars' interest, though the 10-year veteran is 32 and doesn't fit Coughlin's model for free agents -- a young player on the rise.
"If he fit our team and he was an upgrade and he'd be an outstanding locker room guy," Coughlin said when asked in what circumstances would he be interested in an older free agent. That was the case in 1996 when the Jaguars signed Simmons, an esteemed defensive end whose best years were clearly behind him. Simmons then gave the Jaguars two years of leadership and performance.
The Jaguars clearly have need at defensive end, where the team lost Renaldo Wynn in free agency and doesn't have a proven veteran as a replacement. Coleman is considered to be a quality person and a positive locker room influence. That would seem to qualify him as a "fit" for the Jaguars, and most would consider Coleman to offer an upgrade at the position.
"We will hold money in reserve," Coughlin said of his salary cap situation. "It's just a matter of how much."
Today's practice was open to reporters for the second time in this three-week pre-camp period, which ends tomorrow.
"The rookies will stay here for another week, and some selected veterans," Coughlin said. "Our field work has been good. Our defense is showing some real good thoughts and energy.
"There's been change. We've adapted and adjusted the best we can. We do have a significant element of newness to our team and that can be good. I want to finish and do well tomorrow and have our guys leave here with some confidence and positive expectations for training camp,' Coughlin added.
Two veterans -- wide receiver Jimmy Smith and offensive lineman Zach Wiegert -- were absent from practice today. Coughlin said Smith was excused to tend to a "family issue" today, however, Wiegert opted not to participate in the final week of the voluntary pre-camp, in protest of his current contract.
"I'm not going to make any comments about Zach Wiegert. Zach Wiegert should be here and that's all I'm going to say," Coughlin said.