In interim, Tucker should be inventive

November, 29, 2011
11/29/11
9:29
AM ET
Chris Mortensen reports defensive coordinator Mel Tucker will be elevated to interim head coach with Jack Del Rio out in Jacksonville.

Tucker is regarded as an up-and-comer and he’s done quality work in his first season calling the defense, though the infusion of personnel is the primary reason the Jacksonville defense has been good this year.

Unsolicited advice for Tucker: Be as different from Del Rio as possible.

The current staff of lame-duck coaches is likely to be spread all over the country next season with a new regime in place. They’ve got five games to make their case, for this job or for a good coordinator job elsewhere. They’ve got nothing to lose. Throw conservatism out the window, and don’t write game plans that are designed to keep games close or that might put the team in position to squeeze out a narrow win. Don’t be scared.

Be crazy. Be inventive. Tucker should tell the players to be the loosest they’ve ever been. There is no stress, let’s go have some fun. San Diego is coming to town Monday night, and they’ve got the weight of Norv Turner’s fate on their shoulders. The weight's been lifted off Jacksonville.

Open things up. Tell offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter while you can't give him any upgraded weapons, he’s got the freedom to do anything he wants with the offense and Blaine Gabbert.

The odds of Tucker getting the job beyond this year are super slim. He doesn't have much of a media presence, and he needs to loosen up in that department to make his mark. Coaches and players are writing résumés.

The best thing Tucker can do is change the vibe as they do so.

Here's a recent piece on the direction I think the Jaguars should ultimately take.

Paul Kuharsky | email

ESPN Tennessee Titans reporter

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