“Non-negotiable expectations from within. That’s all we look at. Our expectations are very high and anybody that comes on board has to understand there’s a way to accomplish what we’re trying to accomplish and it’s through team, it’s through individual improvement and it’s through a relentless drive in team success.”
I’ve known Tom Coughlin since the day he was introduced as the Jaguars Head Coach in 1994. But that’s the most Tom Coughlin thing I’ve ever heard him say.
After a year as the Jaguars Vice President of Football Operations, Tom Coughlin is the same as he was the day he was hired by Wayne Weaver. He doesn’t cut corners, he doesn’t make excuses, and he doesn’t suffer fools gladly. When he was first named the Jaguars head coach I laughed that he didn’t play the radio at all in the car driving from the beach to the stadium because it was “too distracting.” Now I get it. Fully dedicated, fully motivated and expects the same from the people around him.
“I enjoyed the winning. I didn’t like the press box,” Coughlin said of his first year back with the Jaguars. “I did enjoy working with Doug (Marrone) and Dave (Caldwell) and I basically was on the practice field for every practice, I was in the Saturday night meetings, I did everything I normally do, I prepared just as if I was in that coaching spot. And I would do things, like Doug might ask me to look at something and prepare a tape for him to look at and I would do that, so I enjoyed all that.”
With a mediocre stint in Buffalo and a messy departure, Marrone was still on a very short list of names Tom Coughlin had as the next head coach in Jacksonville. He knew what he wanted the VP of Operations job to look like and knew there were only a couple of coaches who could withstand that kind of scrutiny. Somebody like Coughlin looking over his shoulder.
“Just his overall manner; he was himself, he established the way that we would work, the work ethic was obvious,” were the first thing Tom said about Marrone when asked what kind of job he did in the first year. “Players responded well to that. He did a great job one-on-one with the players, he did an outstanding job in front of them, challenging them from the team perspective, he did a nice job going through the rough times, the beginning of the season, etc. He did a very good job of that as well.”
Once a coach, always a coach, and even Coughlin’s description of what he did last year seems a little “cringe-worthy” except Marrone was hand picked by his fellow Syracuse alum and might be the only other head football coach on the planet who could abide by Coughlin’s routine. Adding Caldwell to the mix, or maybe more correctly keeping him in the mix looked like a difficult task from the outside when it was first announced. But they got it done.
“We basically rolled our sleeves up, there was no great philosophical discussion,” Coughlin explained. “I knew exactly what Doug was all about and Dave and I knew what we wanted to do in terms of trying to provide the kind of players that we were looking for in Jacksonville.. Yeah, we rolled our sleeves up, went to work and it was a team concept all the way.”
“Well it was just a feeling of who we are, what we represent. It’s a good look, it’s a solid look. It is, as I said at one point in time, we have guys that will be in the Hall of Fame and the connection will be there, the uniform will be very similar as we go forward. We just wanted a little bolder statement and I think we got it.”
“It does. There’s no doubt it does. You have to do a better job of who’s going to be there and who’s gone and so on and so forth. Over the years, some good things have happened in that spot. I know when I was in New York, Chris Snee happened to be sitting there at the top of the second round and that helped.”