Behind Enemy Lines: Jacksonville Jaguars

Why has the Jaguars rushing game bounced back after struggling? Who is the weak link in Jacksonville's secondary? What's the biggest mismatch that works in the Colts' favor? Our network's Jaguars team expert answers those questions and more in this exclusive feature.

Ed Thompson:  The Jacksonville running game was struggling early this year, and then Maurice Jones-Drew suddenly has a huge game last week against the Texans. What was different that allowed him to have such great success?

Charlie Bernstein: The entire Jacksonville offensive line has been playing better as a whole in the last three weeks. Jones-Drew started to show flashes of what we saw from him last year in the Denver game, then the following game he had a 52-yard touchdown run at Kansas City. He finally received more opportunities against Houston, and he really seems to be rolling right now.

ET: Which safety is more likely to get exploited by Peyton Manning --veteran Sammy Knight or rookie Reggie Nelson?

CB: Both have been picked on a bit this season, but Nelson seems to be the guy the Jaguars can count on more because of his fantastic speed and athleticism. Sammy Knight has been targeted the last three weeks by opposing quarterbacks, and I can't expect this week to be any different. When the Jaguars go to nickel and Terry Cousin comes in, it is likely that Manning will find whoever lines up in the slot.

ET:  Colts fans have seen David Garrard in action during previous seasons. What will they notice about him in this matchup that they didn't see before?

CB: David Garrard looks like a completely different guy than he did in the past. He's much more accurate, he doesn't take chances with the football, and he can now get past his first read. In training camp, quarterbacks coach Mike Shula worked with him to get the "hop" out of his release, and he's been a lot more accurate ever since. You can really see the confidence growing in Garrard each week.

ET: Give us a quick rundown of the top three receivers and how they are progressing. Are any of them a real threat in this contest?

CB: Dennis Northcutt has become the Jaguars best receiver and he leads the team in catches. Northcutt has the ability to go deep, and has shown some sure hands ever since week one. Although he doesn't start, Reggie Williams is the Jaguars next best receiver. He isn't afraid to go over the middle and catches pretty much everything thrown his way. A guy who could be a weapon in this game is John Broussard. Broussard has track star speed and solid hands, but the Jaguars have mostly used him as a decoy. The Jaguars tight ends are featured a lot more in the passing game this year led by Marcedes Lewis.

ET:  If you had to pick out the biggest one-on-one mismatch in this game that works against the Jaguars, which one would you point to?

CB:  There are a few bad matchups for the Jaguars in this game such as Dwight Freeney versus either offensive tackle (Barnes or Pashos), and Anthony Gonzalez versus Cousin, but the biggest mismatch for the Jaguars will be Dallas Clark against Sammy Knight or Clint Ingram. Clark is quickly becoming the best receiving tight end in the league, and most of the Jaguars opponents have lined up their tight end to clear out on Sammy Knight.

ET:  What kind of year is former Colt Mike Peterson having for Jacksonville so far this season?

CB:  Mike Peterson is having his usual fantastic year at middle linebacker. Peterson has been all over the field, and really hasn't shown any ill effects from his torn pectoral that caused him to miss most of the 2006 season.


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