Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Instead of Getting Panned, Coughlin Picks Panning Out

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Instead of Getting Panned, Coughlin Picks Panning Out

Article excerpt

Byline: Bart Hubbuch, Times-Union sports writer

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Fan sentiment can be a dangerous thing sometimes.

Especially when it's heeded.

If the Jaguars had listened to some of their more outspoken followers the past two years, Kenyatta Walker and Albert Haynesworth would be wearing black and teal this afternoon instead of Marcus Stroud and John Henderson.

Taking Stroud and Henderson could have a major impact on the Jaguars -- if not today in the din of Arrowhead Stadium, then down the line.

It would have been understandable if Tom Coughlin and the Jaguars had bowed to the fan sentiment, especially when it came time to decide between Walker and Stroud with the 13th overall pick last year.

The Jaguars needed an offensive tackle on the right side (the prominent vacancy at left tackle would come later), and Walker seemed a logical fit. He was big, physical and, best of all to the locals, a University of Florida product.

The Jaguars also had misfired with their top pick in the 2000 draft, taking Southern Cal wide receiver R. Jay Soward.

But Coughlin ignored the local push for Walker, then did the same this year when conventional wisdom seemed to favor Haynesworth, a talented but immature defensive tackle from Tennessee.

If the Jaguars think they have problems with 11 losses in their past 15 games, one can only imagine how Coughlin's team would look with with Walker and Haynesworth.

If you haven't heard much about those two lately, that's no surprise. Walker and Haynesworth have become known more for their tantrums and lack of hustle than for any crucial blocks or important tackles.

Walker struggled badly as a rookie and feuded with some veteran teammates before being benched this month by new Tampa Bay coach Jon Gruden in favor of journeyman Cornell Green.

Walker wasn't just benched, either. …

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