Tom Coughlin was the first-ever head coach of the Jacksonville Jaguars, leading the franchise from 1995-2002. He returned to the franchise in 2017 as executive vice president of football operations, but did not rub members of the franchise the right way, according to former Jags star Jalen Ramsey.
Things weren’t all bad to start his second tenure in Jacksonville. With Doug Marrone at head coach, the Jags reached the AFC Championship in 2017-18, beating the Buffalo Bills and Pittsburgh Steelers before losing a tight one to the New England Patriots.
The team plummeted back to the pack the following year, going 5-11. In 2019, the team finished 6-10, and Coughlin was fired. Ramsey, who was traded to the Los Angeles Rams during that season, revealed just how widely disliked he was within the locker room.
“As a whole team, we came together and we created that bond and that team chemistry, that we were going to fight for each other, ride for each other, because, to be honest, we didn’t like Tom Coughlin,” he told former NFL star Aqib Talib. “That’s what it came down to.”
— Sosa Kremenjas (@QBsMVP) July 15, 2021
“(2018) was his first year in there, and we were a sorry team the year before,” Ramsey continued. “When something new comes in, when you’re that sorry, they’re going to in the complete opposite. So we went from a relaxed coaching staff that let us be adults and live our life, but we were to young for that at the time.”
While the Jaguars didn’t like Tom Coughlin, it does sound like Jalen Ramsey acknowledges that his hard-nosed style might’ve been one of the things that helped raise the level in Jacksonville in 2018, even if that success was fleeting.
“We took advantage of it, and that’s why we weren’t good. So when they brought in Tom Coughlin, he went the complete opposite of that. It felt even worse than college at times. We didn’t feel like half the stuff that he was trying to implement was even about football. ‘You’ve gotta wear white socks.’ It doesn’t matter if I wear white socks or black socks, the receiver’s gonna get shut down regardless, you know what I mean?”
Marrone, a Coughlin ally, was already in Jacksonville when the two-time Super Bowl winner was hired, and lasted a full year after Coughlin was fired. This year, the team was horrendous, though fans aren’t complaining as it landed them the No. 1 pick Trevor Lawrence, who brings more promise than the franchise has ever had before.
Urban Meyer is now the head coach, and he’s known to run a tight ship, not unlike Coughlin, even if he may not be as concerned by the color of socks that players wear. We’ll see if he can galvanize a pretty “sorry” group from a year before with his flashy new quarterback, and do so for more than a one-year blip.