Behind Enemy Lines: Jaguars

In this Behind Enemy Lines segment, Jaguars team expert Charlie Bernstein answers questions about the Jaguars from the fanbase of their opponent. This week, the loyal New Orleans Saints fans loaded me up with some great questions. Special thanks to Bubbamoniz, Jpcedotal, and Mr. Voodoo.

1. How much longer do the Jaguars expect to be without Garrard...and how well do you feel about Grays' chances filling in for him in the coming weeks...

The Jaguars are hopeful that David Garrard will be back by the November 11th game at Tennessee, he's just starting to walk without crutches. I know Quinn Gray is capable of more than what he's shown in the last couple of weeks, but as for how much more, I don't know. The Jaguars would probably feel fortunate to go .500 with Gray under the helm.

2. How much can Marcus Stroud bench press....[just kidding]....steroid use in the NFL...will this have some future repercussions like we've seen in MLB...

The NFL doesn't appear to believe (or admit publicly) that they have a steroid problem. As for Stroud, he will likely play on Sunday against the Saints while waiting for his exoneration or suspension to take place on Tuesday.

3. Is this the last dance for Fred Taylor?

Fred Taylor is still in phenominal shape and is still very explosive. I believe Fred has at least one more year left after this one.

4. Is Jones-Drew an every down back?

Jones-Drew can run between the tackles or outside, and in my opinion, he's definitely an every down back. The Jaguars offense seems to run a lot better with two great backs instead of just one, something that those in New Orleans are very familiar with.

5. How important is the passing game to the Jags this weekend?

I believe the passing game will likely decide this Sunday's game. New Orleans will likely bring at least 8 or 9 men to the line of scrimmage to stop the Jaguars running game, and Quinn Gray and the receivers will have to make some plays.

6. Does the team expect for Grady Jackson to immediately contribute this weekend, perhaps in a starting role should Stroud be suspended by week's end?

Grady Jackson is still learning the Jaguars system, but he should pick it up rather quickly. Stroud will likely play this weekend and start. If Stroud can't go, Rob Meier will likely be his replacement. I expect to see "Gravy" for about 20-40 snaps.

7. (could combine with above) How big of an impact do you foresee this suspension happening in this week's game against the Saints with Reggie starting to show he has the capability to run between the tackles?

All of the information that I have leads me to believe that Marcus Stroud will play on Sunday. Even if he doesn't, his play this season hasn't been up to the level of a few years ago. The Jaguars missed him for five games in 2006, and their defensive rankings were better when he returned than before he left, while facing three playoff teams.

8. The Saints have had 6 straight weeks of allowing fewer than 100 yards rushing. This is unfamiliar territory (recently) to us as fans. Coming into this week's game we've fought off some pretty good rushers from Tennessee, Atlanta (Dunn/Norwood), Tampa (Cadillac pre-injured reserve), Carolina, and San Fransisco (Gore). The only team to really make an impact on the ground against us Indianapolis and Joseph Addai. Fred Taylor and Maurice Jones-Drew are two amazing runningbacks, but with the lack of production from the running backs who have recently faced our defense - do you feel as though the Jaguars will be able to find ways to make the yardage, and if they don't is there any possible way that Gray is able to take advantage of our secondary?

I believe that the Jaguars rushing attack is probably the best that the Saints have faced. Most teams have been throwing the ball against that struggling secondary, rather than running the football. The Saints will sell out against the run, like any team would, and if Gray can settle down, he is capable of making some big plays in the passing game. That being said, if the Jaguars get down by two scores, I don' t believe Gray is good enough to bring them back.

9. Over the past few weeks the Saints have been able to apply pressure to the Quarterback of opposing teams while still containing the run. I believe I saw a stat earlier this week that prior to his injury Garrard was the second most sacked quarterback in the league. What do you feel the offensive line can do to stop the Saints from pressuring Gray and what are the odds of them actually accomplishing that goal?

The Saints shouldn't get a lot of sacks unless the Jaguars get down early, and by a lot. The Jaguars will likely run the football and keep it out of Gray's hands as long as the game is close. The Jaguars offensive tackles have played well at times, and have played poorly at times. Nobody really knows what Khalif Barnes and Tony Pashos will show up.

10. The Jaguars are a great team, and with our upcoming schedule should be one of the most difficult opponents we've got to face for the rest of the year. We're currently 3-4 and trying to get back to .500. With the injuries, specifically to Garrard and MJD's knee, do you feel as though this is the best time for the recovering Saints to face the Jaguars as far as opportunity to get back to .500, or are they facing a wounded wild animal waiting to be unleashed?

In the NFL, it's not about who you play, it's about when you play them. If the Jaguars played the Saints during the first three or four weeks, I would think that they would have an excellent chance for a victory. Unfortunately for the Jaguars, they play the Saints without the starting quarterback, and with their best playmaker (Jones-Drew) battling a knee injury. The biggest injury aside from Garrard is probably to cornerback Brian Williams. Williams is having a fantastic season and the Jaguars secondary isn't the same without him. At this point it is unclear whether or not he'll be available on Sunday. To answer your question, yes I believe the Saints are catching the Jaguars at a very good time.



Charlie Bernstein is the Editor-in-Chief of Jagnation.com, and a regular syndicated contributor to FoxSports.com, Sirius NFL Radio, and Sportsillustated.com. Charlie is also a member of the Pro Football Writers Association, and is a columnist for the New Smyrna Observer.

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