Jaguars Getting the Message?

The Jaguars get a chance Sunday to show they're putting more emphasis on getting ready for a game. In the wake of the fiasco last Saturday morning when two players were arrested after falling asleep in their cars -- one at a fast food drive through and one on an exit ramp -- and a third player was late for work, coach Jack Del Rio cracked down.

Justin Durant and Richard Collier, the two players arrested, were suspended for two games and fined, and Khalif Barnes, who was late for work, was fined.

The Jaguars then went to New Orleans and were blown out 41-24 in what was statistically the worst defensive showing in their 13-year history.

The team didn't appear ready to play as the defense was guilty of 20 missed tackles and 15 mental errors, according to Del Rio.

But not being properly prepared is not exactly a new problem for a Jaguar team that has a core of immature players who put partying ahead of preparing.

In the opener against Tennessee, they gave up 282 yards rushing in a 13-10 loss and appeared gassed in the September Jacksonville heat, which is supposed to be to their advantage.

While the Jaguars melted in the heat, the Titans appeared to get stronger and they showed it when their defense ran from one side of the field to the other between the third and fourth quarters.

Del Rio said the problem against Tennessee wasn't the preparation but the fact the Titans controlled the ball and wore down the Jaguars. But the Jaguars players appeared to be gassed even in the first quarter.

Now they go to Tennessee with a 5-3 record for the rematch and it's a critical game. Since Tennessee is 6-2, the Titans would have a two-game lead and the tiebreaker in the battle for the first wild-card spot.

If the Jaguars lose, their only hope of making the playoffs -- and saving Del Rio's job -- will be to win the second and final wild-card spot.

So this is the Jaguars' chance to prove they can prepare properly and be ready to play.

"Last week, we talked a lot about the need to have a good routine, the need to get your rest, even had Fred Taylor come and talk about what he had learned through his career. Every Friday when I break the team, I talk to them and remind them about, 'hey guys, it's 48 hours away from the game. The time between now and the kickoff needs to be spent wisely -- off your feet, getting rest, getting rehab, making good decisions.' To have that violated is very disturbing to me," Del Rio said.

The Jaguars may find out in Tennessee if the players got the message.


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