Behind Enemy Lines: Part II

In Part II of our Behind Enemy Lines, our Scout.com experts talk about the Jaguars and their rough start to the season. ColtPower's Eric Hartz asked JagNation's Charlie Bernstein about the Jaguars' injury situation, David Garrard's slow start, the re-emergence of Matt Jones and more. Get Charlie's answers inside!

Eric Hartz: The Jaguars have had great success running the ball against Indianapolis. Even though the running game has struggled the last two weeks, Fred Taylor and Maurice Jones-Drew are still one of the league's most formidable duos. Jones-Drew said after the loss to Buffalo he thinks the team needs to get back to running the ball more. Do you agree, and is this the week they do it?

Charlie Bernstein: Obviously, the Jaguars identity is that of a running team and their offense works best when they're moving the ball well on the ground. With the lack of size that Indianapolis has on their defensive front, the Jaguars will at the very least make a great effort to get Taylor and Jones-Drew more touches.

EH: After a terrific first season as a starter, David Garrard has struggled out of the gate this season. Is it a typical sophomore slump that he'll play himself out of, or do the Jags need to be worried about the quarterback situation once again?

CB: Garrard hasn't been terrible this season, but he hasn't been good. When the team gave him a six-year, $60 million contract, they expected him to play at an elite, or near elite level. The most disturbing thing about his play is the poor decision making, as he appears to be reverting back to the David Garrard of 2006. Garrard seems very unsure in the pocket, and I don't think anyone in the Jaguars front office can be completely confident in their decision.

EH: These are two of the most-injured teams in the NFL right now. What is the latest injury situation in Jacksonville and which of the walking wounded might play this week?

CB: Most of the Jaguars injuries have been season-enders, so we really don't have to pay too much attention to the week to week reports. Linebacker Justin Durant missed Wednesday's practice, and his status is unclear right now. Surprisingly, center Brad Meester did practice, but likely won't be available on Sunday. Wide receiver Jerry Porter will likely be a game-time decision.


Matt Jones
Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images

EH: Last November, you all but assured me that Matt Jones was in his last days as a Jaguar. Then he was busted for cocaine possession over the summer, yet he's the team's leading receiver through two games. Has Jones finally turned a corner, or is that just another sign of how bad this offense is struggling?

CB: First of all, thank you for pointing out one of the several topics I've been wrong about. The drug arrest has really seemed to motivate Matt Jones and he's clearly playing the best football of his career. He's a top physical talent as a possession receiver, and he looks like he can be a contributor in the league.

EH: The Jaguars made an effort to beef up their pass rush in the NFL Draft this season, presumably to make life tougher on Peyton Manning. How have the team's two new defensive ends, Quentin Groves and Derrick Harvey, looked so far?

CB: We haven't seen much out of Harvey, as he held out and missed the team's entire training camp, and played in just one preseason game. Harvey has shown great athleticism, but he cannot be counted upon just yet. Groves is a pure speed rusher who is a major liability in the running game.

EH: Jacksonville was a fashionable pick to represent the AFC in the Super Bowl this year. But the Jags are now 0-2 and heading to Indianapolis, where they've struggled in the past. If they fall to 0-3, what does that do to their playoff hopes?

CB: Make no mistake about it, Sunday is a must-win for the Jaguars. If they drop to 0-3, they would have to go roughly 10-3 for the rest of the season to be in contention for a playoff spot. That simply isn't likely. If the Jaguars lose Sunday, there's a very real chance the season could get away from them and they could find themselves with an 0-6 record at the bye, as they play Houston, who always gives them fits; Pittsburgh, who is playing among the best in the AFC; and Denver, who is averaging 40 ppg.


Charlie Bernstein is the Editor-in-Chief of Sports Media Interactive, covering multiple teams in the National Football League, NCAA, and National Basketball Association. Charlie is a regular syndicated contributor to FoxSports and Sirius NFL Radio, and has been featured on the NFL Network. Charlie is also a member of the Pro Football Writers of America.


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