Tom Coughlin: "We have work to do"

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JACKSONVILLE – Tom Coughlin expressed much in few words Friday.

Coughlin, asked during his pre-NFL Scouting Combine media availability for his thoughts on the Jaguars' roster six weeks into his new role, was succinct.

"We have work to do – we have work to do," said Coughlin, named the Jaguars executive vice president of football operations on January 9.

That work already has begun with a pair of widely-reported trades that won't become official until March 9, the start of the new league year. The Jaguars reportedly will trade tight end Julius Thomas to Miami for a 2017 seventh-round draft selection, and also reportedly will trade a 2018 seventh-round selection to the Dolphins for left tackle Branden Albert.

Coughlin was asked if there was any reason the transaction wouldn't be completed.

"We'll see," he said. "I don't see any reason."

Coughlin said the decision to trade for Albert and not exercise a four-year option on 2016 starting left tackle Kelvin Beachum was about improving pass protection "and all of those components around" quarterback Blake Bortles.

"That was something we had interest in doing," Coughlin said.

Coughlin didn't go into detail Friday when discussing roster specifics, and he declined comment on pending free agents. He did discuss Bortles, and was asked if he was committed to Bortles as the team's starting quarterback.

Bortles threw 35 touchdowns in 2015 and 23 in 2016, but it was Bortles' turnovers – 18 interceptions in 2015 and 16 more in 2016 – that Coughlin emphasized.

"There's plenty of work for everybody to do, Blake included," Coughlin said. "To raise the game to a higher level, it takes all components as well. That's why I mentioned the protection first of all. Being at the right place at the right time, the timing, taking care of the football, which is paramount to that position.

"There can be no way the ball is turned over to that extent. I think he'd be the first one to say that he has a lot of work to do, but we all have a lot of work to do; I'm going to put it that way."

Other highlights from Friday's press conference Friday:

*Coughlin discussed Head Coach Doug Marrone's decision to retain offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett and defensive coordinator Todd Wash. Marrone, after serving as the Jaguars' assistant head coach-offense/offensive line since the start of the 2015 season, served as interim head coach the last two games of the 2016 season and became permanent head coach on January 9. Wash was the defensive line coach from 2013-2015 and the defensive coordinator this past season while Hackett was quarterbacks coach from 2015 through the first seven games of 2016 and the offensive coordinator for the final seven games of 2016. "Doug (Marrone) has great background with both of them, coached with them as an assistant coach," Coughlin said, adding that Hackett also had been Marrone's coordinator with Syracuse in 2011-2012 and with the Buffalo Bills in 2013-2014. "Nate functioned under Doug in two different capacities, two different stops. That's his call, that's the head coach's call."

*Coughlin was expansive when discussing the Jaguars' pass rush, saying edge rushers Dante Fowler Jr. and Yannick Ngakoue both "have shown the ability to rush the passer. We need more production, but we need more production out of everybody. I'm encouraged by that spot, but you're always in need and can always use more pass rush." …

*Coughlin made clear he likes middle linebacker Paul Posluszny's approach to the game: "I like the professional athlete and the attitude that he brings to the table. I like the way he is in the locker room. I like the way you talk to the guy, he's very serious about the game and about this team and about doing something about it with this team."

*Coughlin also said there could be a positon for veteran nose tackle Roy Miller III on the roster despite the recent signing of a multi-year deal by Abry Jones, who started at nose when Miller was injured last season.

*Coughlin also commented on this week's release of defensive end Jared Odrick, who started 22 games over the past two seasons after signing as an unrestricted free agent in the 2015 offseason: "It was a football business decision."

Other Coughlin quotes from Friday:

*On what positions need the most work: "We have a lot of positions to fulfill."

*On the Jaguars' anticipated level of activity when free agents can begin signing with pursuing teams on March 9: "We expect to be very competitive on March 9."

*On running backs T.J. Yeldon and Chris Ivory: "I think we have to play better." …

*On if he's having fun in his new role: "Am I having fun? I always have fun."

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