JACKSONVILLE – The clocks returned to normal.
That was seen immediately, and veteran cornerback A.J. Bouye said a five-minute shift was Thursday's most tangible evidence that an era had ended around the Jaguars.
"That's the first thing I noticed when I got in here," Bouye said.
Bouye was among multiple Jaguars players who spoke to the media Thursday, a day after Jaguars Owner Shad Khan relieved Tom Coughlin of his duties as the team's Executive Vice President of Football Operations.
Khan dismissed Coughlin two days after an NFL Players Association memo criticized the organization for inappropriate fines the past two years, noting that 25 percent of player grievances filed in the last two years involved the Jaguars. Khan in a statement Wednesday said he decided earlier this season to dismiss Coughlin following the season but reconsidered the timing in recent days.
The Jaguars were 20-26 with a 2017 AFC South title in Coughlin's tenure as EVP Football Ops. They have lost 19 of their last 27 games.
"I have a lot of respect for Coughlin; I wish him well," veteran defensive end Calais Campbell Thursday said as the Jaguars (5-9) prepared to play the Atlanta Falcons (5-9) at Mercedes-Benz Stadium Sunday at 1 p.m.
"He's definitely a great man, and obviously any time somebody gets fired it's never a good thing. The only thing guaranteed in this business is change. Especially when you don't perform like you're capable of performing, changes happen a lot faster and a lot more often."
Several players joked Thursday about noticing immediately that clocks around the Jaguars were set at normal time. Coughlin during his tenure as the Jaguars' head coach from 1994-2002 famously mandated players being five minutes early for meetings. Since arriving as EVP of Football Ops, clocks in the team's football facility were five minutes ahead.
That was "Coughlin time."
"I thought I was late for meetings," Bouye said of arriving Thursday. "I look up and I had an extra five minutes, so I was good. That's the only thing that's really changed. The approach of the players and coaches are all still the same."
Campbell said while he noticed the clocks "first thing in the morning," he said what he thought of more Thursday were multiple conversations with Coughlin over the past three years. Campbell said he will remember Coughlin "as a guy who loves football."
"I can only speak for my relationship with him, but we talked a lot of football," Campbell said of Coughlin, who coached the Jaguars to two AFC Championship Game as head coach and later coached the New York Giants to two Super Bowl titles.
"He's definitely a football fan, like I am. He has a lot of knowledge about it. It was always fun being able to listen to him and tell a couple of stories and talk ball."
Jaguars running back Leonard Fournette also discussed Coughlin Thursday, saying the pair's relationship had improved this season.
The Jaguars had fined Fournette $100,000 for his conduct during last year's regular-season finale, a fine Fournette said Thursday was rescinded four or five weeks later. Coughlin immediately after that game issued a statement criticizing Fournette and then-Jaguars running back T.J. Yeldon for "conduct unbecoming that of a professional football player."
"It got better, though – especially this year," Fournette said. "He was openly coming to me telling me if I have a problem or anything, 'Always come to my office … knock on the door and we talk.' That's how our relationship got better."
Bouye said while he knew Coughlin was strict, "I never really had a problem with Tom."
"I had Coach [George] O'Leary at UCF," Bouye said. "They're the same background, so I'm used to all of this stuff – even to the clocks. What he's done in the league, he won two Super Bowls in New York … his resume is definitely great. I wish him all the best. It's unfortunate that it had to end like this, and we couldn't get a Super Bowl for him while he was here."
Jones said Coughlin's presence around the Jaguars "didn't feel oppressive," adding that the biggest change moving forward will be "resetting back to five minutes back."
"Other than that, there won't be a big difference," Jones said.
Jones was asked if his departure would "taint Coughlin's legacy."
"Why would it taint his legacy?" Jones said. "He was known as a tough coach who got the job done. He did excessive fining when [former Jaguars defensive end] Dante [Fowler Jr.] was injured to keep him here. You could say his most goal was to make sure he got healthy. No. 'Tainting' is crazy."