FOXBOROUGH, Mass. — Tom Coughlin came to New England to learn from the Patriots, not to rub their noses in the two championships he won from them.

The Jacksonville Jaguars executive vice president has been roaming the practice fields at Gillette Stadium, where they are working out with the Patriots in the days before their exhibition season opener on Thursday night.

“Obviously, they’re the world champions,” Coughlin said after practice Tuesday. “If you’re going to make a decision on who you’re going to work with, there is nothing better than working with Bill Belichick and the world championship team.”

It’s the sixth straight season the Patriots have held joint practices, and the first time the Jaguars have visited. Coughlin worked with Belichick as assistants to Bill Parcells with the Giants, the team Coughlin led to NFL titles in 2007 and 2011 by beating the Patriots.

“This is great working against another team,” Coughlin said, praising coach Doug Marrone. “Of course, when the coaches know each other and can trust one another and all the drills run accordingly, nothing but good work.”

On Tuesday, Coughlin had a little chat with Patriots owner Robert Kraft — but he insisted there was no ribbing about the NFL championship rings he won at New England’s expense.

“That really wasn’t brought up,” Coughlin said.

Coughlin is the rare football boss who is at least as comfortable watching players practice as he is tucked away in an office examining spreadsheets. Told that not many executive vice presidents of football operations are out watching drills, Coughlin said, “Not many come from where I come from.”

“I enjoy being on the field,” he said. “It’s what I’ve always done and it’s been good.”

Being out on the field “gives me a better opportunity to evaluate,” he said. “I can see firsthand and not listen to somebody else tell me about them. I’m able to make my own evaluations, which are a part of a number of evaluations, but nevertheless, this is a good part of it for me.”

Coughlin arrived at his current gig after a lifetime of coaching, including three seasons as an assistant and three as the head coach down the road at Boston College. He went on to the NFL, where he was the first head coach of the expansion Jaguars and then Giants boss for 12 seasons.

“He has helped set the culture,” quarterback Blake Bortles said. “He was in Jacksonville when it all began back in the day and now he’s back. I think it’s, ‘How do we get back to that winning culture?’ … Setting a culture, setting a winning culture and playing good, disciplined, tough football.”

NOTES: Jags DE Dante Fowler was sent off the field by Marrone twice, once for drawing a face-masking penalty and once for arguing with the Patriots. Fowler was arrested this summer — for the second time — after police said he exchanged words with a man who complained about his driving, then “hit the man, knocked his glasses off and stepped on them.”

Asked about Fowler, Coughlin said, “I think he’ll be OK,” and then he walked away from reporters.


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