Jacksonville handed the ball to Fred Taylor 37 times last week, which reduced
Byron Leftwich's exposure to sacks and negative yardage plays. Leftwich was
sacked just twice by the Jets versus the battering he took from the Colts when
he was dragged to the turf six times. But while it appears that is the winning
edge for the Jaguars' offense, they may be tempted to throw more than they did
against the Jets once they see the final health status of the Broncos'
Denver could be without both starting corners. Darrent Williams (ankle) tried to practice on Friday, but had some difficulties and was downgraded to questionable. If he can't go, the Broncos will turn to former starter Lenny Walls who was benched for inconsistent play. Champ Bailey (hamstring) hasn't practiced through Friday's workouts and his role won't be determined until Sunday. If Bailey can't play, the drop off would be more substantial with rookie CB Dominque Foxworth likely to get the start. Reserve cornerback Roc Alexander (hamstring) is unlikely to see any action after missing practice all week. Rookie CB Karl Paymah could move into the dime defense, giving Leftwich another inexperienced rookie to exploit. But if the Jaguars increase their aerial attack, they'll have to pay particular attention to defensive end Trevor Pryce who didn't sack Chiefs' quarterback Trent Green on Monday night, but was credited with an eyebrow-raising ten pressures by the Broncos.
Jacksonville defensive end Paul Spicer is looking forward to this weekend's matchup against the Broncos. It's payback time for the player who racked up three sacks in the Jaguars' overtime win over the Jets last weekend. Spicer missed almost the entire 2004 season after suffering a broken leg against the Broncos last year. The injury added to the Broncos' reputation for using blocking techniques that some claim increase the risk of injury for their opponents.
But Spicer isn't going to let the revenge factor become a distraction.
"This isn't about me," Spicer said. "The best revenge is going out there and beating them, 30-0, and
seeing that goose egg up there with the time has expired."
Don't expect the Broncos to have much success running the ball up the middle this week. Defensive tackles Marcus Stroud and John Henderson should have their way with the smallish yet athletic Denver offensive line. Last year the Jaguars defense didn't allow a run longer than nine yards when the two teams met.
Punter Chris Hanson has been a strategic edge during the first three weeks of the season, helping the Jaguars win the field position battle as they've pushed their record to 2-1. The Jaguars punter is tops in the NFL in net average (43.6 yards) and has placed 11 punts inside the 20 so far.
Rookie wide receiver Matt Jones could see his first start this weekend after Reggie Williams missed practice on Friday with a sore knee. But the Jaguars' injury situation overall improved drastically as the week progressed as five starters were all back practicing by Friday. Offensive linemen Maurice Williams ((knee) and Chris Naeole (knee), defensive linemen Marcus Stroud (knee), Reggie Hayward (foot), and cornerback Rashean Mathis (ankle) are all expected to be in the lineup.
The Broncos won last year's game handily in the yardage category last year (356-176)
but the Jaguars won it where it counted in the record book by scoring the only touchdown
for a 7-6 victory.