A Different Team Three Months Later

The Jaguars team that defeated the Titans on opening day will look a lot different when the two take the field on Saturday. Some of the Jaguars changes include a new head coach, new quarterback, completely new secondary and a receiving corps which was with other teams back in September.

A lot has changed since the Jaguars beat the Tennessee Titans, 16-14 in the first game of the season.

The Jaguars now have a different coach, quarterback and owner and only three more wins when they go to Tennessee on Christmas Eve with a 4-10 mark.

The Titans rebounded from the loss to go to 7-7 although a loss to winless Indianapolis last Sunday made it unlikely they will make the playoffs.

Jack Del Rio started his ninth season as head coach in the opener but was fired after going 3-8 in the first 11 games. He was fired on the same day that owner Wayne Weaver announced he was selling the team to auto parts billionaire Shad Khan, who will take over the team on Jan. 4.

In Del Rio's last big mistake, he benched Luke McCown, who quarterbacked the Jaguars to the victory in the opener, after he threw four picks in the second game. Rookie Blaine Gabbert wasn't ready to play and is the lowest-rated quarterback in the league.

Mel Tucker, the defensive coordinator, was named the interim head coach when Del Rio was fired, but he's 1-2. Two of the games were decided by 41-14 scores. The Jaguars beat Tampa Bay by that score and lost to Atlanta by the same margin. In their other game, they to San Diego 38-14.

Both Weaver and Khan have said that Tucker will be a serious candidate but they are doing an extensive search and will narrow the list to five or six candidates. Tucker may be on the short list, but probably needs victories in his last two games against the Titans and Colts to be a viable candidate.

It doesn't help that the Jaguars have placed 29 players on the injured reserve list. Since a team is allowed to have only 80 players under contract, they had to make injury settlements with six of them. They have only four players on their practice squad to go with 53 on the active and 23 on IR.

The Jaguars have only one of the four defensive backs who started against the Titans in the first game healthy and could be vulnerable to the passing of Matt Hasselbeck.

Although so much has happened since the opener, Tucker said, "It seems like yesterday to me. The season goes by quickly. Time flies when you're having fun."

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