Posted by Josh Katzowitz
While Tony Sparano seems to have cooled down his hot seat just a bit -- a three-game Dolphins winning streak certainly has helped his cause -- Jaguars coach Jack Del Rio isn’t doing himself any favors.
After cutting David Garrard in the preseason and giving the starting quarterback spot to rookie Blaine Gabbert -- who, statistically speaking, is one of the worst quarterbacks in the league -- the Jaguars are 3-7 after their 14-10 loss to the Browns on Sunday.
When asked why Maurice Jones-Drew didn’t get the ball on the final play of the game from the Browns 2-yard line, Del Rio deflected the blame to offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter.
“Our offensive coordinator calls the plays,” Del Rio said, via the Florida Times-Union. “I can’t speak to his thinking. You’ll have to get with him.”
“We certainly talked about those things through the course of the drive. We got down and took our crack. You can make a case for doing that. You can guess any number of plays when you don’t connect. [It’s] a missed opportunity.”
The final minute of the game was a disaster for the Jaguars. After reaching the 5-yard line on a third and one with 45 seconds to play in the game, Jones-Drew gained three yards for the first down. The Jaguars didn’t call timeout there and let 28 seconds run off the clock (that also must have been Koetter’s fault), and after Jones-Drew failed to reach end zone on first and goal, they stopped the clock with 8 seconds left.
Gabbert missed on a fade pass for Jason Hill, and with three seconds to play, Gabbert never looked at Jones-Drew, who was open in the flat, and threw behind Mike Thomas for the incompletion. Game over.
Koetter, you may defend yourself.
“Three of the four plays were our two-point plays -- two passes and one run, so in those last four plays, we gave it to Maurice twice and we had one play action and we had a little option play to Mike Thomas,” he said. “I like all four of those plays.”
That’s fine, but for Del Rio to claim he had nothing to do with the play-call is absurd. Sure, Koetter probably was the one to call the play, but unless Del Rio wasn’t wearing his headset, he knew what had been called. He could have intervened -- he is, after all, still the head coach -- and vetoed the decision. But he didn’t. Instead he let Koetter take the fall.
“We are on the 2-yard line and I have to find a way for us to score,’’ Gabbert said. “That’s on me. I have to learn from that and get better.’’
Now, if only Del Rio could learn from Gabbert in how to share in the blame.
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