Jaguars Offensive Coordinator Dirk Koetter acknowledged that the offense needed to move faster than it did during an eight-minute drive in the fourth quarter of Monday night's loss to the Tennessee Titans, then explained why he called the plays he did.
"Do we need to go faster in that situation? Sure we do. We definitely need to go faster," Koetter said, then adding: "Your playbook shrinks. We have a guy who's been here two weeks. Your playbook naturally shrinks as you near the goal line. I get it."
Koetter was interviewed by reporters on Thursday, a day after Head Coach Jack Del Rio expressed dissatisfaction with the play-calling near the goal line in the controversial drive, which culminated in an interception on fourth and goal. Fans booed loudest on consecutive running plays, at a time when the Jaguars were trailing 23-3.
"Are you betting on your backup quarterback, who's been here two weeks, or are you betting on number 32, who's one of the best players in the NFL?" Koetter asked rhetorically. "Let's just get a touchdown, no matter how we get it. We need to have a way to play faster."
The challenge Koetter might face this week is finding a way to score points with a quarterback who hasn't thrown a pass in a regular-season game since 2005. Todd Bouman was re-signed by the Jaguars this week, two weeks after being released by the team following the acquisition of Trent Edwards.
Edwards, who replaced starting quarterback David Garrard late in the first half when Garrard sustained a concussion, is unable to practice due to a right thumb injury he sustained on Monday. Bouman hasn't officially been named the starter for Sunday's game, but indications are he could be the guy.
"Todd knows our system. There's a safe feeling when the guy knows your system. It gives you so many options. Our confidence level in Todd is high," Koetter said. "We're getting ready for Kansas City. We have to rally around what we have."
The Jaguars' most recent meltdown on offense follows consecutive 30-point-plus performances. Just when it appeared the Jags were getting on a roll on offense, they find themselves in a desperate state.
"It's tough on everybody. It's tough on the players, it's tough on the coaches and it's tough on the fans," Koetter said.
In 2007, the Jaguars faced a similar situation when they lost Garrard to an ankle injury for three weeks. The Jaguars won two of those three games behind backup Quinn Gray.
"We went down to Tampa with Quinn Gray and found a way to win. It's our job to get a game plan that whoever is the quarterback is able to handle," Koetter said.
The game plan for that game in Tampa relied heavily on the running game. The Jaguars currently are third in the league in rushing. It is, by far, the strength of the team.