Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Jaguars Get Back That Lost Loving Feeling

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Jaguars Get Back That Lost Loving Feeling

Article excerpt

Byline: Mark Woods, Times-Union sports columnist

Tom Coughlin started it. He pulled off his headset, ran out to midfield and started hugging the firefighters.

And his players followed.

There has been speculation that Coughlin has lost them. And the previous six weeks -- complete with five losses, a fight in the locker room, players questioning schemes, the owner wondering if the players might have a point and a front-office executive resigning to become an agent -- certainly made it easy to wonder if this whole thing wasn't spinning out of control.

Yet, at least for this moment, the players followed their coach's lead. They trotted to midfield and began hugging the 16 men and women from New York, taking a scripted pregame ceremony and giving it a wonderful unscripted twist.

"It was pretty emotional," quarterback Mark Brunell said.

And so began a feel-good afternoon at Alltel.

You remember those.

Or maybe you don't.

It had been a while. The last victory before this 30-13 triumph against Cincinnati came on Sept. 23 against Tennessee. Since then, there had been little more than ugly losses at home (Cleveland and Buffalo), lost leads on the road (Baltimore and Tennessee) and midweek debates about whether it was time to dump the coach, blow up the team and start from scratch.

Maybe this meant little. Maybe it was only a blip on the screen, an eye in the middle of the hurricane. Maybe it was just a case of the team from Cincinnati returning to its role as official tourniquet of the NFL.

But, hey, if you're a Jaguar player, coach or fan, this had to feel good.

The other coach was the one talking about not getting a complete game. The other players were the ones complaining about calls. The other writers were the ones breaking down a second-half collapse.

For a change, this didn't have a feel-good start and a feel-angry ending. …

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