December 27, 2004
You Don’t Know, Jack
by Keith Weiland
You don’t know, Jack, but division games are always important. If you did know it, maybe your team wouldn’t be 2-4 against the Texans, Titans, and Colts.
It seems you and your team didn’t take too kindly to being associated with the lowly Texans as your rivals before Sunday’s game. Your team was the up-and-comer in the division with an 8-6 record, not the 6-8 Texans, struggling to earn respect around the league. Your team was the media darling with the playoffs to worry about, not some pissant expansion team, a mere speed bump on your journey to greatness.
Rivals? Okay, Jack, maybe not. Maybe the Texans are just some "division opponent," as you suggest. But when the Texans beat the Jaguars four times out of six in their brief three-year existence, it has no business being your rival.
Maybe you don’t know, Jack, but three of those past four Jaguar losses suffered to the Texans came on your watch, to a team that should be far less talented than yours. And you should be careful to hang your smug face on that lonely little win. It came when the Jaguars needed to defeat a Texans team fielding a rookie third stinger under center and a rookie tailback behind him.
So, maybe you do know, Jack, that "rival" isn’t the right word. How about "bully"? It sure seems like a more appropriate term than rival.
And you don’t choose your bullies, Jack. They have a way choosing you.
Does a rival outscore you 41-6 and sweep the season series? Does a rival go into your own stadium with nothing but pride and hold you under water for just 126 yards of air?
Nope, those are the telltale signs of bully. Where’s your lunch money, Jack?
Oh, and you don’t know, Jack, but you’ve done a marvelous job in your campaign to "Take Back Our House." To build on a famous comment a couple years ago from Jeff Fisher, the coach of another rival, about playing in your team’s city, I think it’s safe to start saying that the Texans have nine regular season home games on their schedule.
You don’t know, Jack, but your Jacksonville team has that oily sheen to it that reminds me of the Cowboys team you played for a decade ago. Can’t put my finger on it, but it’s just something slimy about the way you’ve run your roster since becoming the Jaguars head coach.
Maybe it’s the NFL Network cameras that followed you and your team around before the season, a la the second season of “Hard Knocks” on HBO that drooled over such Cowboy luminairies as a singing Chad Hutchinson and cheerleader coach calling everyone fat. Hard knocks for you on Sunday, indeed. Just your smug, axe-pushing face on screen is enough to repulse, but you’ve also fostered a repellent environment of thuggery on your defense.
“There’s a certain style I believe in, and this team is embracing that,” you were quoted as saying on your team’s official website.
And your team is certainly embracing it like a pair of hands on an axe handle, right, Jack? The most recent example came a week ago when your safety, Donovin Darius, used a clothesline tackle to send a Packers wide receiver to the hospital for the holidays.
You don’t know, Jack, but the blade cuts both ways. We don’t place all the blame on Darius though. As Darius later said, he was just “doin’ my job”, one you encourage so your team can come off as being a "tough, physical football team."
You didn’t know it at the time, Jack, but cameras caught you yukking it up on the sideline moments after the hit. The blade cuts both ways. You later defended your player, like any coach should, but the league still levied a $75,000 fine, a hefty one to be sure.
Of course, Darius’ hit was not the first questionable play by your Jaguars defense. Heck, it wasn’t even their first clothesline. Your defensive lineman, Marcus Stroud, also furnished a clothesline to take care of David Carr a few games back.
We all know Stroud, right? Perhaps he is better remembered as the one lying on his back, watching Carr fly overhead for a game-winning touchdown last year. Or more recently, maybe he is better remembered as being the one lying on his back watching Carr fly overhead on a fourth down conversion in this season’s first meeting in Houston. Yeah, that’s Stroud, doin’ his best work on his back.
You don’t know, Jack, but maybe worse than your encouraged thuggery is how the your defense curls into a ball to suck its thumb when it faces a little adversity. John Henderson, Stroud’s partner on the line, is left to just whine about an alleged cheap play by the Texans long snapper Bryan Pittman, after getting a flagged for a personal foul. Pittman, by the way, gives up about fifty pounds to Henderson.
You don’t know, Jack, since you weren’t in Jacksonville in 1995, the Jaguars expansion season, so maybe you shouldn’t be expected to remember what it’s like to be an expansion team fighting for respect in the NFL. Same goes for most of your Jaguar players I suppose. But 1995 was just a short ten years ago, and maybe the Jags fans can at least remember, as thousands of empty seats at your stadium can certainly attest.
You don’t know , Jack, but maybe your style of football is why your fans stay away from your team in droves on Sundays. No one likes to be bullied. I have a hard time blaming them for being embarrassed. Bring on the seat covers!
You don’t know jack, but Keith Weiland does. Jack Del Rio Home