By Michael Hurley, CBS Boston
BOSTON (CBS) — It’s extraordinarily difficult to find nice things to say about the Jacksonville Jaguars. They’re coming off a 3-13 season, and they’re 42-102 since 2008. That’s very bad! They’ve won exactly one playoff game since Bill Clinton left office — also bad!
They’ve got a swimming pool in their stadium, which is pretty cool, and their helmets are very fashion-forward, which makes them look nice on Sundays if that’s your style. But for the most part, things haven’t been really going the Jaguars’ way.
Yet this year, with Tom Coughlin running the show, the Jaguars hope to turn things around. Unfortunately, video that surfaced from a practice this week shows that perhaps Doug Marrone is not turning around that ship.
You see, the thing with football coaches is sometimes they try too hard. And, well, just watch the video and you can decide whether Marrone’s staff is guilty of doing that here:
The video is legitimately difficult to watch.
I suppose somewhere in there is a sensible concept. Bounce a ball in the air, have a pass catcher or a defensive back leap to grab the ball when it’s at its apex. It could theoretically drill into their minds the process of leaping to catch the ball at its highest point.
But, well, we’ve got a few problems. First and foremost, there’s the whole matter of trajectory. Tracking the flight of a bouncing volleyball does absolutely nothing when it comes to tracking the flight of a forward football pass. That’s like training for a marathon by doing a lot of push-ups. Or maybe it’s like teaching your teenager how to drive a car by having him ride a bike. It’s similar, but not really.
But even worse … if we’re going to run this stupid drill, can we at least get a guy who lifts weights to spike the volleyballs? The bounce — or lack thereof — on some of these throws is just pitiful. Not to invoke any memories of surreptitious inflation/deflation practices, but if we’re not going to have Rob Gronkwoski spiking the volleyballs, can we at least overinflate those things a little bit?
And on the few that did actually come off the ground with some oomph, the Jaguars players didn’t appear to be enthused enough to actually do what was being asked of them:
But wait — but wait! There’s more. Did you notice the group in the back? That group is doing the zany drill where the player doesn’t know how the coach will throw the ball. Will he hurl it? Will he bounce it? Or — my personal favorite — will he slowly roll it on the ground? How the players respond to this mystery will no doubt lead to more wins on the field in 2017.
Right? That’s how this works, isn’t it?
Look, training camp can be long and grueling, and creativity is always encouraged. But with the new CBA limiting practice time and limiting full-padded practices, this is how the Jaguars want to waste their time? Even middle-school gym teachers would struggle to find a use for this exercise.
And, as it relates to New England, you just have to wonder if this outstanding training drill will come up in conversation next week when Marrone and the Jaguars visit Bill Belichick and the Patriots for some joint practice sessions and then a preseason game. When such events take place, the two head coaches generally agree upon some plans and guidelines for how the session will go. And if there truly are football gods, then somehow, some way, one of the coaches will be mic’d up and on camera, and Marrone will propose his marvelous volleyball drill, and we will all get to see Belichick’s reaction to such a suggestion.
It might look like this:
Or, if Marrone decides to email Bill ahead of time, the response may just look like this:
Somebody needs to get a camera crew to Gillette, faster than a Jaguars coach can chuck a volleyball at a professional football player.