It was the most revealing press conference of the season. Maybe, for the first time all season, the room was stripped to the bare truth.
Owners and coaches shouldn't be expected to wave white flags about their team's prospects for a season. Wayne Weaver and Tom Coughlin can be forgiven for not having exposed their true concerns about this team before the season began. They had tickets for sale. It only made sense they would paint a bright picture, though having done so really put the coach in a tough spot.
But we didn't have to buy the sales pitch. We, as media, should've known better. We should've been the voice of reason. You don't lose the players the Jaguars lost and operate within some of the greatest restrictions in salary cap history and not experience a setback.
How does all of that happen and you still expect to be a playoff contender, a year after you were 6-10? Come on, where's the reason?
Thursday's press conference wasn't expected to be anything special; just another question and answer session about the state of Mark Brunell's sore finger, etc. Then, something important happened. The media asked some tough questions and the coach answered them honestly. It was a great moment in Jacksonville journalism history.
And what we found out is that this really isn't a very good team (Gee!) and that the playoffs weren't a realistic goal (Come on!) and that even though the coach refused to use the word rebuilding, the media should've (Stinking media!).
So, now there's no denying it. We got the story. It may have taken 13 weeks of the season to figure it out, but now we know: THIS WAS A REBUILDING YEAR!
Now, here's "10 things" the Jaguars have to do to beat the Browns this Sunday.
- Don't "bottle" up your emotions--Let it all pour out.
- Don't give the Browns any bulletin board stuff--Corey Fuller is just waiting to hear that Tom Coughlin told his team, "We're 5-7 and on our way to 6-7."
- Make Butch Davis eat his words--Rumor has it Davis told his team, "We're 6-6 and on our way to 7-6."
- Hit the challenge button just before the ball is snapped--That really makes the Browns mad.
- Change your e-mail address--If the Browns lose, their fans will barrage you with excuses.
- Wear the black jerseys--The Browns will think they're playing the Steelers.
- Use the sun to your advantage--The Browns haven't seen the sun in Cleveland since training camp.
- Don't be afraid of bottle-throwing--Contrary to what Carmen Policy thinks, the fans in Jacksonville don't do that.
- Go like '95--You know, when the Jaguars were an expansion team and they beat the Browns twice.
- Protect Brunell--Especially if he throws an interception.