David Carr: Tom Coughlin absolutely would be perfect fit to run Jaguars again

Even four years after taking his last snap for the New York Giants, David Carr can’t shake Tom Coughlin and his influence from his life. One of Coughlin’s mandates as New York Giants coach was that everything ran five minutes ahead of schedule. “Coughlin Time” meant getting everywhere five minutes early by rule.

So the former Giants backup quarterback and current NFL Network analyst laughs when he looks down and sees a daily reminder of how Coughlin infiltrated his thinking.

“Some of my wristwatches are still set five minutes ahead,” Carr told Shutdown Corner by phone Monday night. “It drives me crazy because it’s been like four years. It’s like, I can’t get him out of my head! At least my iPhone automatically adjusts so I don’t have to worry about it.”

Tom Coughlin and the Jacksonville Jaguars reportedly are interested in a reunion. (AP)
Tom Coughlin and the Jacksonville Jaguars reportedly are interested in a reunion. (AP)

But it’s not just Coughlin’s meticulous, militaristic approach during their time together that impressed Carr. It was his ability to manage an NFL football team and every detailed aspect of it that made Carr believe Coughlin was the best that he ever played for. And it’s exactly, Carr says, what a team like the Jacksonville Jaguars needs.

“It is crazy. I remember being on set, watching Jacksonville go through their struggles and thinking just this,” Carr said. “And I love [Jaguars head coach] Gus Bradley and his energy, and he’s a good defensive coach. But for whatever reason, it’s just not clicking with those guys. They are a young team and they might need a little bit of a more hard-nosed, aggressive and old-school approach.”

Coughlin’s name has arisen in recent days and weeks about a possible return to coaching, and a CBS Sports report has connected the current Jaguars organization with Coughlin about a possible reunion with their former coach.

Much has changed since Coughlin last coached them from 1995 to 2002 — a new owner, a new facility and a stretch of nine straight seasons now where the Jaguars are guaranteed to not have a winning season.

“It almost does feel perfect,” Carr said. “He lives down there. That’s his home. His charities, they’re down there. He’s in the community. I think it is almost a perfect fit. You don’t want to take away from what Gus Bradley has done or what he’s trying to do, but I can’t imagine a better coach for that situation. Young football team that’s hungry that has pretty much everything, talent-wise.”

After taking over the franchise from its inception, Coughlin endured a 4-12 inaugural season but then led it to four straight playoff appearances and two AFC title games. The 1999 Jaguars went 14-2 but lost to only one team that season — Jeff Fisher’s Tennessee Titans, who beat them twice in the regular season and once for the right to go to the Super Bowl.

Tom Coughlin had a brilliant early run in the 1990s with the Jaguars. (Getty Images)
Tom Coughlin had a brilliant early run in the 1990s with the Jaguars. (Getty Images)

Although Coughlin’s style began to wear on the Jaguars thereafter, he had set the franchise on a brilliant course in its first five years. Could he really then be a candidate to return and help shape up a talented team that has won 23 percent of its games the past four seasons?

Carr says it would be the perfect match. For one, Carr believes this Jaguars team needs discipline and — one of Coughlin’s specialties — game-management knowledge: in essence, how to win games.

“I’m talking to [Carr’s brother and Oakland Raiders quarterback] Derek, I am talking to guys around the league, and everyone says it: This is a talented group,” Carr said. “How are we going to match up here? You don’t find a lot of scenarios where you are just going to take advantage of their [lack of talent]. But you go down there and they just struggle. They don’t have that … that whatever that is that I think [Coughlin] brings. They need that. Do I think Tom would be perfect for Jacksonville? Yeah. I think he’d be great for that team.”

When Carr spent two tenures with the Giants (2008 to 2009 and 2011 to 2012) what impressed him the most was Coughlin’s ability to manage games. Situational football, Carr believes, is a lost art — one that Coughlin had a great feel for.

“I watch games now a lot — the whole scope of the game, too. There’s just a lot of bad situational football from some guys that paid a lot of money,” Carr said. “They might be good play callers, but it’s just bad time management stuff they’re guilty of. I think I kind of took that for granted when I was in New York and saw how good [Coughlin] was at it. There’s definitely a value there to that. You just don’t pick that up.”

Of course, one of the biggest debates in NFL circles right now is about quarterback Blake Bortles and whether he’s salvageable given his struggles this season. Carr believes that Coughlin could help work with Bortles on his mechanics through repetition and preaching of details.

“I can’t imagine being in a meeting room and not learning something from him,” Carr said. “Every PowerPoint he put up, I took something from it. He’d sit in on an offensive meeting and add something important. That’s what he’d do for [Bortles]. It’s repetition. It’s drilling, mental drilling. It’s getting those little details down and doing things over and over.”

No small element was overlooked when Coughlin coached the Giants, and Carr relayed a story that he thinks shows just that.

“We were going through a walkthrough before the NFC championship [in the 2011 season],” Carr said. “Eli [Manning] was banged up, and we’re walking through and I am just kind of lobbing the ball to the receivers. He comes over and said, ‘Dave, just hold onto the ball. You have to lock it up.’

“It was a walkthrough! On like a Tuesday. [laughs] The game is not for six days, I am not even your quarterback. I am just going through the walkthrough while your buddy [Manning] is getting taped over here. But he just has that level of focus.”

And if you have any questions about whether the 70-year-old will have the stamina to handle a three-, four- or five-year rebuild, Carr says you can forget about those fears.

“Absolutely, he could. People say, ‘oh, age is just a number’ and they don’t really mean that. They kind of say it not really believing it. I mean, I haven’t seen him in that role in a while, but there’s no lack of energy,’ Carr said. “Even if players are different than they were eight or 10 years ago, but getting players motivated to go play football the right way doesn’t change.”

“He’s one of those guys, I couldn’t ever imagine him retiring. He would come in Giants meetings at 7:30, 8 in the morning and do jumping jacks. At how many ever years old he is. It’s like, ‘What’s wrong with this guy?’ He just had a different energy.”

David Carr, No. 8, watched Tom Coughlin's brilliance in a Super Bowl run with the Giants in the 2011 season. (AP)
David Carr, No. 8, watched Tom Coughlin’s brilliance in a Super Bowl run with the Giants in the 2011 season. (AP)

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Eric Edholm is a writer for Shutdown Corner on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at or follow him on Twitter!