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Tom Coughlin wants more 'toughness' out of Jaguars

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Tom Coughlin has watched the tape. He's seen the ups, downs and in-betweens from last year's Jaguars team.

His primary takeaway? This year's club needs to learn how to drop the hammer.

"This league can benefit from more of (a tough) attitude. This team can," Coughlin told reporters on Friday. "You've got to play through some things."

The quote is quintessential Coughlin, an old-school now attached to the Jaguars as the team's executive VP of football operations.

We'll hold off on gauging their "toughness," but Jacksonville's 3-13 record speaks for itself.

Pointing to an earlier era of play, Coughlin singled out new receivers coach Keenan McCardell -- a player drafted in the 12th round in 1991 -- as someone who embodied that quality of on-field grit during his improbable 16-year career.

"To look at Keenan, to look at his background, where he came from and what he was able to accomplish, you better believe he can share information to the players in that room on how to be successful in this league. It starts with toughness," Coughlin said. "Now that's not the first thing on most people's lists when it comes to talking about receivers. But you talk about a guy who's tough, he wouldn't miss a practice with a separated shoulder. That's a little bit of something that has to happen. This league can benefit from more of that attitude and this team from that attitude as well."

Coughlin emphasized he wasn't urging players to forge on through a "serious injury," but noted: "You're a pro. This isn't passing camp. It's a tough game, it's a tough business. You've got to play through some things if your team is gonna succeed."

Coughlin went on to level Jacksonville's low-wattage offense as an operation in need of more balance. After the team "boasted" the league's largest run-pass imbalance last season, Coughlin was asked if that dynamic bothered him.

"A lot," Coughlin said. "I don't think you're helping the quarterback at all when you don't rush the football. I think for our team to be successful in this division -- noting that there are teams that'll come in and run the ball and try to hold the ball, keep your offense on the sideline -- we need to be able to do some of that as well."

Coughlin wasn't finished: "It's easy to say it's a correctable thing, but as you know in this league, you get behind, you're trying to find ways to get back in the game as fast as you can no matter whether it's three points or 10 points."

Too often for Jacksonville, it was 10 points, or more, last season. Coughlin wants to see a team that imposes its will on the field -- not one being pushed around by burlier outfits from the AFC South and beyond.

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