As the Jaguars crash and burn around him, Tom Coughlin is putting up a fight.
The former Giants coach and current Jaguars executive vice president of football operations said Tuesday he would “put the gloves on with anybody” who questioned how he built the team after it came up short in last season’s AFC Championship game.
“A whistle, we’re in the Super Bowl,” Coughlin said on 1010XL, referencing a near fumble recovery by linebacker Myles Jack in the AFC title game against the Patriots. “And that’s my position, OK? So tell me everyone out there what they’re going to do in that circumstance about your football team?
“Aren’t you going to fill other pieces in and try to be as good as you can be? And we tried, didn’t we? Well, the nature of the game got us, and we’ll go back to the drawing board.”
The Jaguars have lost seven straight after starting the season 3-1 and being viewed as a Super Bowl contender.
Blake Bortles, who Coughlin signed to a three-year extension in the offseason, has now twice been replaced as the starting quarterback. Most recently on Monday, when head coach Doug Marrone announced that Cody Kessler would start against the Colts.
Coughlin also committed to the run game, signing expensive left guard Andrew Norwell to open up more holes for Leonard Fournette, who has struggled to stay on the field with injuries and now a suspension for throwing a punch against the Bills.
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The Jaguars also fired offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett Monday, but Coughlin still believes his own offensive philosophy can be successful in today’s NFL.
“Points are up. Everything is up,” Coughlin said. “But our formula a year ago was play great defense, run the ball and do a superb job of play-action pass. Obviously, I still believe in that very much, but if you’re going to rush the football, you’ve got to have the explosive plays.
“You’ve got to put the ball down the field. There was a time when our big plays were all kinds of big plays and it was this style of offense still being played. That’s the formula that you still have to get, in my opinion.”