Behind Enemy Lines: Carolina at Jacksonville

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 Carolina Panthers fans asked me some interesting questions.

1. How has Reggie Nelson panned out so far this year? He was a very promising young star coming out of Florida and many thought he had a great chance of landing with the Panthers, but obviously didn't. While we're estactic to have former Miami Hurricane LB Jon Beason on the team, many like to track how other prospects are doing, I am among those many.

    Reggie Nelson has played well for the Jaguars thus far. He's started from day one and has made some big hits and had some big interceptions. On the season, Nelson has 51 tackles, 1 sack, 1 forced fumble, and 4 interceptions. Nelson has great cover skills as well as a nose for the football. He should be a starter for years to come and he possesses the ability to make a switch to cornerback should the team choose to go that route. Jon Beason has been fantastic for Carolina and the linebacker position that Beason occupies is now set for years to come. Both teams appeared to do very well with their first-round picks.

2. My question is about David Garrard. I have always hoped he'd emerge as the starting QB in J'ville. I've liked him since I saw him play while he was at ECU. What makes him a good starting QB and a good fit for the Jags? Is it is his arm? Because other QBs have stronger arms. Is it his grasp of the playbook? Is it one of those intangible things where he is just the right leader at the right time?

    David Garrard seems to have put everything together this season. Garrard's story is so improbable that it could be a made for TV movie. He's a former fourth-round pick that was supposed to be the heir apparent to Mark Brunell, until the Jaguars had a coaching/front office change and then spent a high first round pick on Byron Leftwich. Garrard honed his craft while sitting on the bench and when he got his shot, he failed. Not because he didn't have the physical tools–he's mobile, tough, and has a very good NFL arm–but he made poor decisions with the football. This season, Garrard was the benefactor of some great coaching (Mike Shula- QB's coach), and ironed out any flaws in his mechanics. David has made it a point to be careful with the football, and has risen to the level of one of the truly elite quarterbacks in the NFL. The success he's having is from years of learning and dealing with failure and disappointment, while staying positive throughout. To me, Garrard is one of those guys similar to Brett Favre in the fact that you can't help but root for the guy. He's as good of a person off the field than he is a player on the field.

3. What has happened to Matt   Jones? He is a tremendous talent and seems to have disappeared this season.

    Matt Jones has all the physical tools that anyone would want in a wide receiver. Unfortunately, he is not an especially hard worker and he maintains a laissez-faire attitude about playing the game of football. I can all but guarantee that this will be his final season in Jacksonville.

4. Got a question for the entire Jaguars team. How do you plan on stopping the behemoth known as Vinny T? I mean really your team just doesnt match up well against the likes of the ageless wonder. You can try to blitz him but he has seen every blitz known to man, you can just drop back in coverage but his rocket arm will pick you apart, and if your not careful he might just break off a few 20 yard runs, juking and breaking tackles. I totally understand if you dont respond to this question b/c there really is no way to stop the Panthers, so if the jags were smart they would give up now and save some embarrassment.

    I'm glad you brought this up. Here's an inside nugget–the Jaguars actually begged and pleaded with the NFL to just forfeit the game on Sunday, in fear of the ageless one, but Roger Goodell is forcing the team to play anyway, it really doesn't seem fair. I think most of the defensive players are going to just lay down in fear that Vinny T. (Class of 1987) will stomp all over them. Word of this unstoppable force (Testaverde) must not have reached Vegas yet because the line still shows the Jaguars favored by 10.5. The Jaguars will show up Sunday, only because they're being forced to.

Special thanks to Jackofalltrades1977, downlineman, and dooby287.
Charlie Bernstein is the Editor-in-Chief of, and a regular syndicated contributor to, Sirius NFL Radio, MySpace Sports and Charlie is also a member of the Pro Football Writers Association, and is a columnist for the New Smyrna Observer. Feel free to contact him -HERE- with questions or comments.

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