Del Rio adds new chapter to outdated NFL coaching 'book'

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Jack Del Rio says the "book" that tells NFL coaches what to do in certain situations is outdated.

He believes it has been for a while, too.

That's why the Jacksonville Jaguars coach told running back Maurice Jones-Drew to take a knee at the 1-yard line in the final minutes during Sunday's 24-22 win at the New York Jets.

"Books have been updated," Del Rio said Monday. "I really don't have an answer to when it's changed and how it's changed. It has changed. There are things that you kind of learn that the so-called book percentages don't always apply."

"For us, we just want to do the best things we can for our football team to help us win games. That's really all we're after."

The unusual move helped the Jaguars (5-4) win for the fifth time in their last seven games, get above .500 for the first time since 2007 and stay in the AFC playoff picture.

Coaches, meanwhile, started making plans Monday to play without cornerback Rashean Mathis. Players took some time to poke fun at Quentin Groves. And Del Rio spent half his day-after news conference answering questions about his calculated risk on the final drive.

With the Jaguars facing second-and-6 from the 10, Jones-Drew took a handoff up the middle and then stopped and knelt to give Jacksonville first-and-goal from the 1 with less than 2 minutes left. Philadelphia's Brian Westbrook did the same thing to seal a late-season win over Dallas in 2007.

The Jets had no timeouts left, so David Garrard only had to take a knee on the next two plays before Josh Scobee drilled a 21-yard field goal as time expired.

"You've got to do what you know is right, and that was the percentage play," Del Rio said. "It's really not even close. Do the math."

Sure, the Jaguars could have botched the snap, the hold or the kick. But had Jones-Drew scored, the Jets would have had an opportunity to win the game on the ensuing kickoff or by driving for a game-winning touchdown in the final minute-plus.

"There are a lot of whys and why nots," Del Rio said. "That's how we elect to do it. Herm Edwards once said, 'You play to win the game.'

"There's a certain style we're going to go after people with, and we are playing to win the game. I do believe in our guys and we're going aggressively to win. I do take in some of the probabilities."

Del Rio said too much was being made of the gamble. He pointed to a failed onside kick in the first quarter and a fourth-down conversion that led to a touchdown in the second as other equally risky plays that didn't get nearly as much attention.

Regardless, the Jaguars believe the come-from-behind victory could be a turning point for a young team that had lost seven of its previous nine road games.

"It could be, but it's all dictated on how we do this week," safety Sean Considine said. "You're only going to be as good as your last game. We pulled off a tough victory up there at the Meadowlands and now we've got Buffalo ahead of us. Whether or not we're in the hunt for the playoffs or wild card or whatever will be dictated by how we do this week. That's got to be our focus -- preparing for the Bills."

The Jaguars likely will be without Mathis again. The former Pro Bowl defender injured his groin against the Jets and probably won't play against the Bills.

"It doesn't look like it will be great for the next week or two," Del Rio said. "We'll know more as they get an MRI and determine just exactly what's going on there."

Mathis missed one game with a broken finger on his left hand, and the Jaguars struggled without him. They moved safety Reggie Nelson to cornerback and he missed several tackles and got beat for a touchdown in a 30-13 loss at Tennessee.

Mathis' injury was the only negative following the win in New York.

Even Groves' gaffe -- he tripped near the goal line without being touched following an interception -- was still giving players a laugh Monday. They taped off a miniature football field in front of Groves' locker, complete with an end zone and an outline of the defensive end sprawled on the ground at the 4-yard line. They also placed a yellow caution sign nearby with an arrow pointing to Groves.

"He's getting ribbed," Del Rio said. "But that wasn't an embarrassing play for him. That was a great play. He jumps up and catches the balls. Did you see how fast his feet were going? Seriously. He was flying. He was separating from a wide receiver. He can run. He reached up, caught the ball, made a great defensive play.

"They're having a lot of fun with him, which is great, which is what you do after a victory."

Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press

This article has been reproduced in a new format and may be missing content or contain faulty links. Please use the Contact Us link in our site footer to report an issue.