Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Brunell Should Sit Down

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Brunell Should Sit Down

Article excerpt

It's not Tom Coughlin's mind-set to play scared. Or to make decisions based on fear of a catastrophe.

Still, considering the bizarre circumstances now facing the Jaguars' offense, it's time to do the unthinkable: bench Mark Brunell.

Put No. 8 on the pine for tomorrow night's preseason opener against the Carolina Panthers and make no apologies for it. Let Brunell make the trip to Charlotte. Let him throw passes during warmups. Let him give advice to backups Jamie Martin, Jonathan Quinn and Roderick Robinson.

Just draw the line at sending Brunell out on the field during the game. Brunell is willing to play for however long Coughlin wants him in there, but what's the point? The benefits of having Brunell take snaps for maybe two series, compared to the frightening potential of getting hurt behind a decimated offensive line, makes leaving him on the sideline the prudent thing to do.

Now that center John Wade has joined the list of offensive line casualties, the Jaguars must open the preseason with only one lineman, backup center Quentin Neujahr, who has started in an NFL game. Even if Coughlin sticks to his current plan of playing Brunell for "six or eight plays" against the Panthers, all it takes is one freakish play to send the Jaguars' 2000 season tumbling from Super Bowl contention to fighting for third place in the AFC Central.

Carolina head coach George Seifert said he's considering not playing Steve Beuerlein because he's coming off five surgeries and will be facing a blitz-minded Jaguars' defense without three starters on the Panthers' offensive line.

If a coach with five Super Bowl rings is being that careful with his No. 1 quarterback, why would Coughlin even consider for one second putting Brunell out there?

Surely, Coughlin remembers what happened three years ago when Brunell was sidelined for a month by a knee injury in the second week of the preseason against the New York Giants. …

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