Jacksonville Jaguars Hot Topics and Roster Notes from Week 2
The Jaguars will be looking for their offense in Denver next Sunday. After beating the Atlanta Falcons 13-7 last Sunday to even their record at 1-1, they'll travel to Denver to take on the Broncos in a critical game.
The Jaguars had trouble winning on the road last year when they were 2-6 on the road and 6-2 at home.
They also know they're not likely to beat the Broncos scoring 11.2 points a game, which was their average in their first two games when they lost to Tennessee, 13-10, before beating the Falcons.
Carl Smith was fired as offensive coordinator at the end of last year when his offense average 23.2 points a game. After two games under new offensive coordinator Kirk Koetter, they haven't come close to matching the production under Smith.
Since the Colts and Houston Texans are both off to 2-0 starts in the AFC South, they know they can't afford another loss if they're to get in position to make a run at the division title.
This will also be a big test for quarterback David Garrard and his receivers. Garrard was efficient in the victory over the Falcons as he completed 17 of 25 passes for 272 yards, a touchdown and a 117.4 quarterback rating. But he did it mostly by picking on Lewis Sanders, who was once cut by the Jaguars and was playing the opposite side of D'Angelo Hall. He won't have that luxury against the Broncos because they have Champ Bailey and Dre' Bly at cornerback.
Although free agent Dennis Northcutt had five catches for 75 yards against the Falcons, the Jaguars don't have a franchise type of receiver to challenge their cornerbacks.
The positive for the Jaguars going into the Denver game is that their defense rebounded against the Falcons after giving up 282 yards rushing against the Titans. They allowed just 82 yards rushing against the Falcons.
Defensive tackle Marcus Stroud said, "We did our job and put it all together. We got a chance to do something good."
Defensive end Bobby McCray said, "We always knew what we could do. It was a matter of just going out and executing our assignments. We had a nasty taste in our mouth last week. We had to go out and prove to our fans we've still got it."
Cornerback Rashean Mathis said, "We just knew we had to stop the run. We had a chip on our shoulder."
Middle linebacker Mike Peterson, who had two sacks and seven tackles, said that when the Jaguars were behind 7-3 at halftime, the message from coach Jack Del Rio was simple: "Don't panic. Don't blink." Peterson said, "We've been in that situation before. We came out swinging in the second half." They blanked the Falcons in the second half.
Peterson said the message from Florida basketball coach Billy Donovan a week ago resonated this week.
"Pretty much the message was, 'live for the moment. Take one play at a time.' That cliche is going around, but it's so real," Peterson said.
When the Falcons had a first down on the Jaguars 10-yard line in the third period, Peterson said he and several other players were screaming, "one play at a time."
Now the question is whether they can shutdown the Denver running game. Unless the Jaguars can start scoring, the defense will have to carry them.
RB Fred Taylor had just 56 yards in 16 carries against the Falcons and has yet to find his usual form.
RB Maurice Jones-Drew got only 31 yards in 11 carries against the Falcons, but got six yards when coach Jack Del Rio went for it on 4th-and-1 near midfield in the fourth quarter to keep the drive alive.
QB David Garrard had an efficient game as he completed 17 of 25 passes for 272 yards and a touchdown and a 117.4 quarterback rating.
S Gerald Sensabaugh was forced out of the Atlanta game when he aggravated a shoulder injury.
DT John Henderson left the Atlanta game when he took a blow to the head, but then returned and left again because of heat related issues.