Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Mularkey Takes Blame forMathis' Limited Playing Time; Coach Says He Should Have Had Veteran Cornerback on the Field More

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Mularkey Takes Blame forMathis' Limited Playing Time; Coach Says He Should Have Had Veteran Cornerback on the Field More

Article excerpt

Byline: Vito Stellino

As if Jaguars coach Mike Mularkey didn't have enough problems with his team at 2-10 in his first season, he found himself in a damage control mode Monday.

Because veteran cornerback Rashean Mathis was on the field for only eight of 65 defensive snaps in the Jaguars' 34-18 loss to the Buffalo Bills on Sunday, there were questions about whether the Jaguars were phasing him out.

Mathis, 32, is in his 10th season. He is coming off a torn anterior cruciate ligament and then missed three games with a groin injury after signing a one-year deal last off-season. So it was easy to think the reduced playing time was a sign he's not in the team's future plans.

Even Mathis didn't know what to think. As a team leader, he didn't want to complain about it but made it clear he's healthy.

Asked his reaction to his limited role, Mathis said, "Yeah, it's different. For nine years controlling if I am healthy, I'm playing. For nine years being asked, 'Can you go?' It's different now. It's an adjustment."

Mularkey said when he watched game videotape on the plane ride home, he realized it was a mistake not to play Mathis more and wanted to nip a budding controversy quickly.

Mularkey told Mathis and then reporters at a news conference that he made a mistake.

"I just spoke with him about 30 minutes ago," Mularkey said. "I called him in there and said I should have had him in there earlier, which is nobody's fault but mine. We need him to play. We need his leadership on the field. He's handled the situation extremely well. I wanted him to know that."

The Bills only threw the ball 17 times, so pass coverage wasn't a major factor in the game.

But Jaguars cornerback Kevin Rutland gave up a 51-yard pass to T.J. Graham that set up one touchdown and also was burned on an 11-yard scoring pass to Stevie Johnson.

The position coaches usually handle substitutions so the responsibility for overlooking Mathis might have fallen on the shoulders of secondary coach Tony Oden. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.