JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- There’s no longer any question about who’s in charge of the Jacksonville Jaguars.
When the team sent out a notice Wednesday morning that Thursday’s 10 a.m. ET scheduled news conference would begin at 9:55 a.m. it was a clear indication that Tom Coughlin sits atop the mountain. That’s classic Coughlin, who firmly believes that if you’re not five minutes early, you are, in fact, late.
Jaguars owner Shad Khan hired Coughlin earlier this week to be the team’s executive vice president for football operations. Though the team said general manager Dave Caldwell would now report to Coughlin, it was unclear just how much power Coughlin would wield.
Now know it’s similar to what Coughlin had during his eight seasons with the franchise from 1995-2002, which means things are going to be a lot different around EverBank Field.
Coughlin was a legendary disciplinarian with the Jaguars. Some of his former players would say he was overly harsh or ridiculous, though there were usually some colorful adjectives thrown in there, too.
Some of his rules:
No slouching or hats in meetings.
No sunglasses on the practice field.
A strict dress code, even in the hotel lobby.
And, perhaps the most interesting rule: If you’re not five minutes early to a meeting, you’re considered late.
Consequences for breaking those rules were severe. He once fined two Jaguars players $500 each for missing a team meeting before a playoff game. That they had been in a car accident was irrelevant; they should have left earlier. Coughlin, most recently a head coach of the New York Giants, also once fined Michael Strahan $1,000 for being only two minutes early to a meeting.
The Jaguars are a young team -- 38 of the 53 players on the active roster are in their fourth year or less -- and young teams need to be handled strictly. Even the players agree. One said teammates arrived late to meetings and skipped mandatory recovery stations every Friday. Another player said there was a lack of fear of breaking the rules and the repercussions for doing so were not severe enough.
That’s going to change with Coughlin in charge.
It might be a rough adjustment, but some hard-line discipline is exactly what this franchise needs right now.