The Jaguars football philosophy, as an organization, is very simple. Play strong defense and run the football.
After a season in which that exact strategy has fallen flat on it's face, it doesn't appear that the Jaguars will be adopting a new identity in 2019.
The team's Executive Vice President, Tom Coughlin, despite denying a myriad of interview requests from local media throughout this gut-wrenching campaign, joined 1010XL on Tuesday morning. The reason for his appearance was to address his charity, the Tom Coughlin Jay Fund, that helps the families of children diagnosed with childhood cancer. (SIDE NOTE: We here at GenJag are big supporters of the Jay Fund. Please donate to the Jay Fund here) But Coughlin did talk some football with the boys on the Drill.
"We're a whistle (away and) we're in the Super Bowl. And that's my position, OK? So tell me, everyone out there, what they're going to do in that circumstance about your football team.
Coughlin has clearly heard some of the outside noise in recent weeks. Many, including myself, have questioned the way this roster was assembled throughout the offseason.
Can you blame me?
Coughlin and company doubled down on Blake Bortles, who has never played consistent football at QB throughout his career. The Jaguars are now financially tied to him through 2019. The least they'll have to pay Bortles next year is $11.5 million and that's if they wait until after June 1st to part ways with their much maligned QB.
Instead of bringing back their only proven weapon at receiver in Allen Robinson the team saw fit to give Donte Moncrief a one year deal worth nearly $10 million and re-signed Marqise Lee.
In the draft the Jaguars selected project players Taven Bryan and DJ Chark in the first two rounds, instead of going for players that could have more of an immediate impact in 2018.
Injuries, particularly to Leonard Fournette and along the offensive line, have made it tough on the Jaguars in 2018. Perhaps, even with a strong quarterback under center, things wouldn't have gone the way the Jaguars hoped this season. Maybe Tom Coughlin is right when he defends the team's offseason moves.
I do, however, sincerely believe that the Jaguars need to move on from Blake Bortles by adding a veteran QB and drafting one early on next year. They also need to add as many weapons at WR/TE as possible. This isn't an organization that needs to completely change everything about their football strategy. Running the ball and playing good defense can work IF AND ONLY IF there's a competent QB and some real offensive weapons around him. The Jaguars don't have that.
Coughlin's closing comments on the football side of things did provide some hope that he too realizes the team needs to upgrade the talent on the offensive side of the ball and open things up a bit moving forward.
"I believe in a certain way of playing the game. And certainly what the direction that the league wants the game to go in, and all those things are up. Points are up. Everything is up, but our formula a year ago was play great defense, run the ball and do a superb job of play-action pass. Obviously I still believe in that very much but you have to, if you're going to rush the football, you've got to have the explosive plays. You've got to put the ball down the field. There was a time when our big plays were all kinds of big plays. And it was this style of offense still being played. But that's the formula that you still have to get to in my opinion."
So, don't expect sweeping changes in Jacksonville next year. But in order for the culture of accountability that Tom Coughlin and Doug Marrone established in 2017 to not fall apart in 2019, the front office needs to be accountable too. The Jaguars must move on from Blake Bortles and they need to focus on finding as many offensive weapons as possible. Leonard Fournette is going to be a great back, but he can't do it all by himself.