In any football season it's not where you start but rather where or how you finish. The Jaguars 2010 season had a dismal finish, and they seemingly picked up right where they left off in their 47-12 rout at the hands of New England. The team rebounded for their first victory last weekend and they hope to take another step in the right direction.
"We want to build on what we did last week," Jaguars head coach Jack Del Rio said. "There were some positive signs last week. We want to see more of them throughout the team, and really in three phases we want to play sharp."
The third preseason game is pretty much the dress rehearsal for the regular season and the Jaguars need to begin to look like a professional football team on offense. The first team offense has struggled to score points and they should experience more success against a Buffalo Bills defense which finished 2010 ranked 24th in defense.
For those chalking up the offensive troubles to just preseason rust, the team had similar issues a season ago. Jacksonville began the season struggling to score points before finally breaking through against a Broncos team that won just four games a season ago. The Jaguars were then blown out in their next two games while the offense was stagnant.
With the Jaguars schedule being very manageable to open up 2011, a quick start is a must if they're going to challenge for a division title. Jacksonville opens with Tennessee, who lost 10 games a season ago, then travel to New York before playing the worst team in football in 2010, the Carolina Panthers. The Jaguars come home for a tough date against New Orleans before playing what's sure to be a terrible Cincinnati team.
"All we want to do is execute," Jaguars wide receiver Jason Hill said.
Tonight's game against Buffalo will go a long way in deciding some jobs at quarterback, wide receiver, running back and in the secondary. Starting jobs are on the line as well as the livelihoods of undrafted free agents.
"I think right now there's some uncertainty on the numbers that we'll keep; how many wide receivers versus how many running backs versus how many linebackers," Jack Del Rio said.
Jack Del Rio named David Garrard the team's starting quarterback right now but wouldn't pigeonhole himself into naming Garrard as the opening day starter.
"When I've been asked on that subject I've been pretty consistent with my message, and if that ever changes I'll let you know," Del Rio reiterated.
There's a battle at wide receiver between Jarett Dillard, Jamar Newsome, Armon Binns and Dontrelle Inman for one or possibly two roster spots.
"I'm just trying to do anything I can do to put forth a good impression and make the team," undrafted rookie Jamar Newsome said. "I'll run down kicks, return kicks, pretty much anything."
Tonight's game just may be a peek into what the regular season will be like for the Jaguars. Jacksonville is expected to play its starters for a majority of the game and they are facing an opponent which is expected to finish last in its division by most experts. The Jaguars need to play like a team that's considerably better than Buffalo, if indeed they are.
Charlie Bernstein is the NFL Insider for ESPN 1080 and 1040 in Orlando/Tampa and the host of "The Sports Crunch" on the Aquarius 7 Broadcasting Network (national), and Editor-in-Chief of Sports Media Interactive, covering multiple teams in the National Football League, NCAA, and National Basketball Association. Charlie covers the Jacksonville Jaguars for FoxSports and has been featured on the NFL Network and Sirius NFL Radio. Charlie is also a member of the Pro Football Writers of America. You can follow Charlie on Twitter @nflcharlie
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