Offensive Woes Vex Coughlin
Stellino, Vito, The Florida Times Union
Byline: Vito Stellino, Times-Union sports writer
When the late John McKay, the former Tampa Bay Buccaneers coach, was once asked about his team's execution, he said, "I'm all in favor of it."
Tom Coughlin, the Jaguars coach, isn't much for telling jokes, but he's stressing execution this week as the team prepares for Thursday night's game against Buffalo.
That's because he thinks better execution is the key to solving the team's offensive woes this year.
For the past five years, the Jaguars ranked in the top 10 in the NFL in offensive yardage gained.
Yet they were ranked 22nd before yesterday's games in offensive yardage and 26th in third down conversions while converting just 14-of-50 attempts. They've scored just 63 points in four games. Their two starting receivers, Jimmy Smith and Keenan McCardell, have combined for only three touchdown catches in their 2-2 start.
The Jaguars have had to cope with various setbacks, including injuries that have sidelined Fred Taylor and Tony Boselli and the concussion suffered by Mark Brunell. But the first thing Coughlin mentioned yesterday when he was asked about the offense, was the need for better execution.
"The simple fact of the matter is that the execution is not as good as it should be. On a play-by-play basis, someone makes an error that causes the play to be unsuccessful," he said.
Of the third down problems, Coughlin said, "It's either a [lack of] protection or the ball is not thrown accurately, the receiver doesn't exactly run the route the way you'd like it to be run or someone slips off of a block. You've really got to concentrate on superior execution on a play-by-play basis. We need some consistency."
Coughlin said it's puzzling that an offense that has operated so well in the past is sputtering, but he added, "The veteran players on this team are good players offensively and have been very productive over the years and we should be better."
Coughlin said he met individually with six or seven offensive players last week and will talk to several more this week to discuss the offense.
"The basic message is that the execution isn't there and that it needs to be changed right now. …