Jaguars Notes and Quotes

Mike Thomas took a gamble that worked against the Cowboys last Sunday. He was standing in a crowd at the Jaguars' 9-yard line waiting to field a second-quarter punt.

The Dallas players, who were mostly behind him, seemed to assume he was going to make a fair catch.

But Thomas decided he had waited too long because a late fair catch signal can throw him off rhythm of catching the ball.

"I was in that stage (where I go), 'Oh, well I've just got to take it.' I was looking around and there was nobody in front of me. I almost broke it out of there," he said.

He dashed 16 yards before he was tackled.

"There was one guy left," he said. "I almost snuck out of there. It probably would have gone for 90."

Although the play had little impact on the game, it was a symbol of how the Jaguars were making plays and the Cowboys were standing around during the Jaguars" 35-17 victory.

The Cowboys' special teams coach, Joe DeCamillis, who used to work for the Jaguars, was shown on the Cowboys' huge video board chewing out his players for letting Thomas make the play.

Thomas, who has made vast strides from his rookie season when he got off to a slow start, has been making plays all season as a wide receiver, punt returner and even a runner on the end-around play.

The irony is that the Jaguars' coaches weren't exactly thrilled with Thomas' return because the fair catch is the safe play in that situation.

Thomas, though, said he wasn't lectured about making the return.

"They didn't say anything. That's a fair-catch situation, but they won't say nothing until something catastrophic happens. If something goes wrong, then I get an earful."

As coach Jack Del Rio said, "That's a risky play. You just won't get away with that very often. He made a heady play there and it worked out OK, we didn't lose the ball. But you have guys that have a free shot on you down there. That's not a high percentage play and you don't want to go to the well too often on that one, for sure."

Del Rio added that they may not see a return like that again this year.

Overall, though, Del Rio is giving Thomas good reviews and said he is one of the several young players who are improving on the team. He was drafted on the fourth round last year.

"I think Mike is a good example of that," he said. "I think he's proven to be a reliable target for David. He made some key catches on third down in Dallas to sustain drives. He made that exciting play on that little screen pass that we ran down in the red zone for a touchdown."

--Maurice Jones-Drew is beating the familiar drum that the Jaguars have been inconsistent this year.

"We were very inconsistent in the first half. We played well in some games and we played horrible in others," he said.

Actually, the Jaguars were consistent.

Except for the upset victory against the Colts, they beat the bad teams and lost to the good teams they played.

Three of their wins came over teams that have a combined total of three wins -- Denver, Dallas and Buffalo. Their four losses were to the Chargers, Eagles, Titans and Chiefs. They have a total of 17 wins.

Unless the Jaguars can beat winning teams, they won't have a playoff shot.

The Cleveland Browns at 2-6 are the only team with a losing record on their schedule. Oakland and Washington are both 4-4.

Four of the other five games are against division teams. They play Houston twice and Indianapolis and Tennessee on the road.

--The Jaguars practiced twice on their bye week -- Wednesday and Thursday -- and then gave the players the weekend off before they return next week to prepare for the Houston game.

Coach Jack Del Rio also had the team do conditioning work after the two practices.

BY THE NUMBERS: 6-1 -- The Jaguars' record under coach Jack Del Rio when the Jaguars started the second half of the season in the ninth game, which they will do a week from Sunday against Houston.

QUOTE TO NOTE: "There is no real answer." -- Quarterback David Garrard on his up and down showings this year. He was named AFC Offensive Player of the Week after posting a 157.8 passer rating, the highest ever posted against the Cowboys

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