Orchard Park, NY - It wasn't all that long ago Terry Pegula reportedly flirted with handing the reins in Buffalo to Tom Coughlin.
Instead, Coughlin went to Jacksonville and worked his magic with Doug Marrone and the Jags.
The Bills have noticed.
"Tom Coughlin's fingerprints are all over this thing," Richie Incognito said. "It really feels like he's running the show over there. Ball control offense, running the football, suffocating defense that creates turnovers. When you get in 3rd and long they really turn up the pass rush."
The Jags have been nicknamed "Sacksonville" this season. The Jags are second in the league with 55 sacks (Pittsburgh has 56). That works out to nearly three and a half per game.
Jacksonville runs a variety of exotic fronts, but creates headaches no matter how they line up.
"They just have a lot of good pass rushers," Eric Wood said. "When you have 5 or 6 good pass rushers you can give multiple looks. You can run different games. You can put everyone into 1 on 1 and say 'hey can your 5 block our 5 every play?"
Jacksonville is also second in takeaways and has allowed a league low 43 first quarter points.
Their formula is obvious. Frustrate opponents early, pressure the quarterback into mistakes and create turnovers that give the Jags pedestrian offense a short field.
Once the Jags get in front, they bury teams with their number one ranked run game. The pacesetter is rookie Leonard Fournette, who topped 1,000 yards in just 13 games.
The Bills could not stop raving about Fournette.
"He's got the combination of speed and power," Adolphus Washington said. "He's known as this big running back, but he can also out run you too. We have to attack him and not let him get his feet going."
LSU alum Kyle Williams was asked if he still had any connections with the Tigers' coaching staff that could provide a nugget of insight to combat Fournette. Williams didn't think that insight would help much against the most recent star from his alma mater. .
"Once you go through the course of a season and you have 16 games of intel and film, there's not really much to learn about a guy that plays running back. You see how talented he is. You see the speed, the power, the balance, the total package."
Coughlin used the run game/pass rush combo to win a Super Bowl against the undefeated Patriots after the 2007 season. That Giants team was first in sacks and fourth in rushing.
The 2011 Giants also won a Super Bowl with a top ranked pass rush, but that team was dead last in rushing.
The Bills believe this Jags team is more what Coughlin prefers.
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