Tom Coughlin was reportedly a strong candidate to become the next head coach of the Jacksonville Jaguars, but that talk seems to have come to a halt – and fast.
What happened? Was that simply a token interview that the Jaguars had with Coughlin?
“It wasn’t a token interview, but I don’t think it went the way either side thought it would,” CBS Sports national columnist Pete Prisco said on CBS Sports Radio’s Tiki and Tierney. “Tiki, you’ve been around Tom. Tom is such an I’m-taking-over-control guy. That’s just who he is. He’s not going to allow anybody to interrupt what he wants to do. Look, I was around Coughlin when he ran the Jaguars early. I covered him on a regular basis. He was a nightmare. They painted the building and he didn’t like it one summer, so he told them to repaint the building. So they repainted the whole thing and then he didn’t like that part of it, so he had them do it all over again. That’s the kind of minutiae that Tom cared about back in the day. He’s not going to change his ways. I love Tom. I think he’s a Hall of Fame coach. I think he’s a much better coach once he didn’t have personnel responsibilities. But I don’t know. At 71, I think age-wise he can do it, but for how long? How long can he do it?”
Whoever does it next for Jacksonville will have a tough turnaround task. The Jaguars have missed the playoffs in nine straight seasons. They were expected to contend for an AFC South championship this year but instead finished 3-13.
Blake Bortles went from throwing 35 touchdowns in 2015 to just 23 in 2016, but he did finish the season with a pair of 300-yard games.
“If he played the way he did the last two weeks of the season the entire season, they’d be hosting the Raiders this week,” Prisco said. “What you saw was a quarterback who was told early in camp, ‘Just don’t turn it over. We’re going to run the ball.’ And he allowed it to get into his head. And once it got into his head, his mechanics waned, his motion got longer, he was late with his decisions – and every time he made a mistake, it would just wear on him and wear on him and wear on him. (It was like when) Chuck Knoblauch couldn’t throw the ball to first base anymore. It was kind of like that. And then all of a sudden, they change some things in Week 16. They moved (Allen) Robinson around and he looked like a different guy. He looked comfortable. I’m not going to say he’s the end-all, be-all, but that guy threw 35 touchdown passes in 2015. That’s hard to do. So I think there’s something salvageable there. And whoever gets that job, if you don’t think so, you can get rid of him in one year. In L.A., if you take that job, you have Jared Goff the whole time you’re there.”
Looking ahead to this weekend’s playoff action, Raiders/Texans might be the ugliest playoff game we’ve seen in years, with Connor Cook taking on Brock Osweiler.
“That first game is a quarterback how-not-to,” Prisco said. “That’s what that is. That’s everything and anything you don’t want in a quarterback position being on display. You got a rookie making his first start ever in a playoff game for the first time since the merger. It’s going to be disastrous for him. On the other side, we’ve seen what Osweiler can do. So that game stinks.”
In other action, Osweiler said that Detroit (9-7) will “hang around” with Seattle (10-5-1) but that ultimately the Seahawks will win. He also likes the Steelers (11-5) to win big against the Dolphins (10-6).
“Pittsburgh is going to blow out Miami,” Prisco said. “Miami’s playing with house money. Adam Gase is playing with house money, but they’re not capable of going up there and slowing that offense down with that defense the way it’s currently put together. They have two guys on that defense – Suh and Wake – and the rest of them are kind of fill-ins. So I think Pittsburgh blows them out.”
The NFL saved its best game – at least on paper – for last, as Eli Manning and the Giants (11-5) take on Aaron Rodgers (10-6) and the Packers at Lambeau Field on Sunday.
“That game last Sunday is going to be fantastic theater,” Prisco said. “You got the history. You got all this stuff that Rodgers has done at the end of the year to get himself back turned around. You got Eli’s two Super Bowls, you got Rodgers with one. Just fantastic theater. I can’t wait for that one.”
Kickoff is at 4:40 p.m. ET.