Coughlin Could Give Mack Another Chance Back's Fumble Was Backbreaker in Seattle

Article excerpt

Byline: Vito Stellino, Times-Union sports writer

Stacey Mack, who moved into the penthouse suite of Tom Coughlin's doghouse with a critical fumble Sunday, may get another chance to win back the coach's confidence.

Coughlin said yesterday that he hasn't decided whether to start Mack or rookie Elvis Joseph in the Jaguars' next game a week from Thursday night against the Buffalo Bills.

Mack was benched in Seattle when he fumbled on the Seahawks' 11 on the fifth play of the second quarter when the Jaguars were trailing 14-3 in a game they lost 24-15. Coughlin chewed out Mack on the sidelines and benched him the rest of the game.

Coughlin didn't seem concerned about eroding Mack's confidence with the hook.

"It eroded my confidence when we put the ball on the ground. It's unfortunate," he said.

He added, "Fumbling was a real issue [with Mack] last year. It's an issue this year. One thing I've always been concerned about with Stacey [is fumbling]. He knows it, everybody knows it, ball security is a huge issue here. We were driving the ball and we felt like we were on the way to a touchdown right there. It took some wind out of our sail without a doubt. It frustrated the heck out of us."

Mack, who said he wished he'd been given a chance to turn a negative into a positive, gained only 17 yards in eight carries. But Joseph, who gained 39 yards in 12 carries, wasn't much better and fumbled on a 4th-and-1 play in the fourth period. Coughlin said Joseph might have made the first down if he jumped over the top of the pile.

So Coughlin is left to decide during the bye week whether to go back to Mack or give Joseph his first start. Both Mack and Joseph were undrafted free agents.

"Stacey had played well in the two previous games and has done a good job. We have to be able to utilize Stacey for the things he does well, but his responsibility is to take care of the football," Coughlin said.

The struggles of Mack and Joseph illustrated how much the Jaguars miss Fred Taylor, who's sidelined with a groin injury. …


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