Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Scouting the Jaguars

Jacksonville’s first-week loss was strange, its second-week win was closer than expected. Even though the Jaguars are 1-1, they’re not coming to Denver with much steam.

They were upset by Tennessee on opening day, when Chris Brown ran for 175 yards. Last week they beat a dismal Atlanta team 13-7, keeping it close to the end.

“We like the fact that we were able to get our first victory under our belt – we would have preferred it happened in Week 1,” Jaguars coach Jack Del Rio said. “We’ve been in a couple of close ballgames and we split them.”

The Jaguars in recent years have been built around stopping the run and running the ball. The run defense bounced back from a bad outing in Week 1. Del Rio’s explanation was simple: Jacksonville didn’t play very well in Week 1.

The problems with the rushing offense are tougher to explain. The Jaguars have two dangerous tailbacks, Fred Taylor and Maurice Jones-Drew, and they have 135 yards combined. Jones-Drew is averaging 3.5 yards per carry and Taylor is averaging 3.3.

Quarterback David Garrard, who was named starter when Byron Leftwich was cut just before the season started, has played well. But for the Jaguars to win at Denver, they will have to run the ball effectively. Based on how well Jacksonville ran the ball last year, they should end up near the top of the league in rushing offense.

“They’ll get back on track, hopefully not against us,” Broncos coach Mike Shanahan said.

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