Behind Enemy Lines: Bills/Jaguars

Both Buffalo (3-6) and Jacksonville (5-4) need a win badly this weekend. Inside, JagNation's Charlie Bernstein answers an 8-pack of questions from the BFR to preview Sunday's AFC tilt. Get the lowdown on Jacksonville's poor fan support, Maurice Jones-Drew, the future of Jack Del Rio and much more.

Q: In his first year as the full-time back, Maurice Jones-Drew is breaking out. How has he handled the rigors of extra carries?

Jones-Drew hasn't shown much, if any signs of slowing down with extra work, and on a few occasions this season he has "begged" for the ball even more. It seems apparent that Jones-Drew is reaching the pantheon of elite running back status.

Q: Defensively, Jacksonville is really banged up. How do you see this affecting Sunday's game?

The Jaguars will be without former Pro Bowl corner Rashean Mathis and linebacker Justin Durant. Mathis's loss will be felt mostly when the Bills go to a three or four-wide formation as Tyron Brackenridge will likely start opposite rookie Derek Cox, and either Brian Witherspoon or William Middleton will fill in at nickel, both of whom are inexperienced. Durant's loss shouldn't be a great factor as Brian Iwuh is a capable fill-in at linebacker.

Q: Over the past few years, David Garrard has been up and down. Do you think he is the team's long-term answer at quarterback?

Absolutely not. Garrard is has had a mediocre career with the exception of one season, and will make as many crippling mistakes as he will jaw-dropping throws (he's capable of both). If the Jaguars believe he's the future at the position at 31 years old, they are kidding themselves.

Q: How hot is Jack Del Rio's seat right now? Is he operating on a week-to-week basis like Dick Jauron was here?

Del Rio is far from comfortable, but he's certainly not on a week-to-week firing squad status. Jaguars owner Wayne Weaver would like to model his team after the Pittsburgh Steelers, and he believes that continuity in the coaching ranks is the best way to do so. Not to mention Del Rio has approximately $10 million left on his deal following this season and it's doubtful that Weaver can afford to pay two coaches to coch one mediocre team.

Q: The Jaguars seem to be having some major marketing problems in Jacksonville. What's the fan support like right now?

The Jaguars have about 30,000 hardcore fans, but the rest have a college mentality and won't support the team if they're not winning. To be perfectly honest, the Jaguars have never entrenched themselves in the area and the majority of the public for whatever the myriad of reasons refuse to embrace them.

Q: What is one area of weakness in Jacksonville's defense the Bills must exploit?

The Jaguars safety play has been spotty at best, and with a backup corner starting, the team will likely have a pretty conservative game plan defensively. If Ryan Fitzpatrick can pick them apart with a quick, short passing game early they should be able to get bigger gains later in the game.

Q: Who is an under-the-radar player Buffalo could keep an eye on?

An under the radar player who could make an impact is cornerback Tyron Brackenridge. Brackenridge has been a great special teams player and has shown himself to be a reliable corner. Don't be surprised if he's on the end of an errant throw.

Q: Outside of one game against St. Louis, Torry Holt hasn't been the big-play receiver Jacksonville expected. The young Mike Sims-Walker has had a great year. Talk about the Jaguars' group of receivers and what makes Sims-Walker so good?

The Jaguars finally have a realiable group of wideouts with a true number one in Mike Sims-Walker. Sims-Walker is a big play guy who has strong hands, good speed, and runs great routes. Holt is little more than a possession receiver at this point as he has trouble getting seperation. Mike Thomas is an intriguing rookie who is a true slot receiver wide suddenness. Thomas is often featured on reverses and quick screens. Nate Hughes and Tiquan Underwood are only playing due to the season-ending ankle injury to rookie Jarett Dillard.

Charlie Bernstein covers the Jacksonville Jaguars for JagNation.


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