Michael Coe is listed as a fourth-year defensive back on the Jaguars roster but his experience listing may be a little misleading. Coe has only played in 11 career games and remembers only three games in which he actually played on defense.
There are several reasons for the lack of playing time, but it starts and ends with injuries. Coe was a fifth-round draft pick of the AFC South rival Indianapolis Colts in 2007 and appeared in six games as a rookie.
In 2008, he was jumping for an interception and landed awkwardly, injuring his meniscus in the process. The injury forced him to injured reserve where he watched from the sidelines the rest of the season.
He returned in 2009 but tore an abdominal muscle while warming up prior to the Colts preseason opener against Minnesota. The Colts eventually waived him on August 30. It didn't take long for the New York Giants to sign him to their practice squad where he remained for 11 weeks.
"I had a lot of ups and downs," Coe said. "That whole process was frustrating. It was frustrating to be on the practice squad because I had played as a rookie, had to sit out an entire year and then coming back to sit out another year on the practice squad trying to work my way back."
It wasn't quite a whole season because the Jaguars plucked him off the Giants practice squad late in the year and he played in the final five regular season games.
Coe is thankful for the opportunity and is healthy for the first time since he was a rookie.
"I feel like I'm all the way back," Coe said. "I have had setbacks but you have to keep working hard. I feel like I've gotten stronger, gained about eight or nine pounds, feel a lot better."
The Jaguars opened the preseason last Friday at Philadelphia and Coe wasted little time making an impact. He intercepted Michael Vick late in the first half and returned it 43 yards to set up a Jaguars score.
"That was really my first real game to play," Coe said. "I never really got to play in any preseason games. I feel as I play more I will get more confidence in what I'm doing and get more confidence in what's going on, just relying on my abilities to make plays."
Coe returned to practice on Sunday and intercepted backup quarterback Luke McCown on his first play from scrimmage. The Jaguars are hoping they see more of Coe's playmaking abilities as the roster begins to get set.
"I just think as you get older and have setbacks, going on the practice squad for a little bit, your mentality changes," Coe said. "It's just about getting better every day. You don't worry about what everybody else is doing. My goal is to always be the best. Unfortunately in Indy I was buried at the end of the depth chart because we had a lot of high draft picks.
"When my injury happened I never really had a chance to work on my craft like I would have liked. When all that happens I got a second chance in New York and then coming here it's about taking every day, try to be the best, try to work on something to improve."
Undrafted rookie Josh Gordy is the only Jaguars defensive back with less NFL game experience than Coe. But it's hard to discredit the experience Coe received practicing daily against the likes of Peyton and Eli Manning.
"Peyton and Eli, their anticipation for the game is amazing," Coe said. "I tell people that they don't have an appreciation for Peyton until you see him in practice. He's the same guy in the games that you see in practice. Going back to my situation, even though I didn't play a lot, I learned a whole lot in practice. I practiced all the time and I learned from guys like Marvin Harrison, Reggie Wayne and Dallas Clark. Those guys are Hall of Fame type players."
Coe is hoping he will have an opportunity to face the Manning brothers in the regular season, which would mean a spot on the 53-man roster.
"I want a chance to play," Coe said. "As any type of competitor, you don't want to be just a guy. I don't think you would be playing at this level if you were just a guy. You want to be playing and contributing. I just want to focus on what I have to do and everything else will take care of itself."