Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Jags Willing to Pay for Chance to Win

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Jags Willing to Pay for Chance to Win

Article excerpt

It's late November, and Tom Coughlin is patiently standing on

a wooden box in the cramped bowels of Tampa Stadium as the

Jaguars press corps fires question after question concerning

his controversial decision to go for a two-point conversion

against the Bucs.

What went into your decision?

If you had it to do over again, would you?

Why not kick the extra point and send the game into overtime?

"It was a decision I thought gave us the best chance of

winning," the Jaguars coach explained then. "Sometimes, you just

have to be aggressive."

A few weeks later, after another loss to the Indianapolis Colts,

Coughlin again was grilled after he called for an unorthodox

onside kick with 12:17 to play in the game. The Colts recovered,

scored a touchdown and effectively ended any chance the Jaguars

had of winning.

"We're doing everything we can to be as aggressive as we can,"

Coughlin said that day. "That's the message we want to get

across to our players and our fans."

Coach, I think we're finally getting the message.

In fact, it hit us over the weekend with all the subtlety of

Nate Newton leaping from the top ring rope and landing on our

solar plexus. I personally spent Sunday at the races watching

Dale Earnhardt reaching into his vast arsenal of tricks and

traps, trying every daring maneuver possible to win his first

Daytona 500. But it quickly became obvious that the Jaguars were

every bit as bold in their wheeling, dealing, angling, wangling

weekend of free-agency as the Intimidator was behind the wheel

of his heavy Chevy.

During the season, the Jaguars defeated the divisional kingpin

Pittsburgh Steelers and made it clear they aimed to trade paint

with the big boys of the NFL as quickly as possible. But who

knew they would put the pedal to the metal (I swear, that's the

last racing analogy I'll make) this soon in the free-agent

derby? If you were to liken this to a real game, the Jags opened

the free-agent signing period by going deep three times in a

row.

They raised eyebrows and blood pressure among established NFL

teams when they signed Chicago Bears defensive end Alonzo

Spellman to a $12 million offer sheet and followed that up by

making Pittsburgh Steelers right tackle Leon Searcy the

highest-paid offensive lineman in the 76-year history of the

league. …

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