In 2003, Jack Del Rio’s “keep choppin’ wood” slogan got a little too literal, with a tree stump and an axe being brought into the locker room. With players being invited to take a swing or two from time to time. And with punter Chris Hanson nearly choppin’ off his leg.
In 2011, the team’s slogan apparently should be “keep catchin’ punts.”
Tania Ganguli of the Florida Times-Union recently reported that Jags defensive coordinator Mel Tucker has a torn quadriceps muscle. A league source tells PFT that it happened after Del Rio recently cajoled Tucker and offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter into catching punts shot from a JUGS machine at the end of a practice.
Tucker suffered the injury while trying to catch the ball.
He’ll have surgery this week, and he’ll miss a couple days of work as he recovers from the procedure. He’ll then be unable to get around well for several more weeks.
As a practical matter, the thinking is that this takes Mel Tucker out of the “interim coach” sweepstakes in Jacksonville, given that the inability to stand up and walk unaided along the sidelines is a big part of the head coaching process in the NFL.
As to Koetter, Del Rio possibly could be doing his best to subtly torpedo the offensive coordinator’s candidacy by openly questioning the team’s offensive performance against the Panthers.
“I’m not sure what caused us to be as conservative as we were,” Del Rio said Monday. “Offensively, I thought we were a little too conservative, quite frankly.”
Though it’s too early to tell whether Del Rio could be fired after, or during, the season, some league insiders are speculating that, if things go poorly over the next five weeks (with games against the Saints, Bengals, Steelers, Ravens, and Texans), Del Rio could get a bye week bon voyage.