What We Learned Against Carolina

Overall, Sunday's game spoke more about the Panthers offensive deficiencies than the Jaguars dominance on defense. Jacksonville played very solid ball, but Carolina's offense took ineptitude to a new level. Good teams dominate lesser opponents, and that's what the Jaguars did. This week's game in Pittsburgh will be a great test of how far along the Jaguars actually are.

Five most important things for the Jaguars:

    1. Get started early. The Jaguars scored the first touchdown of the game and never trailed. Although the first half was sloppy for the home team, Carolina couldn't take control of the game.

    2. Expect the unexpected. There really wasn't much of anything in the way of trick plays for the Panthers. Very few deep throws, and nothing exotic on special teams. The Panthers pretty much stuck with their inept offense for the entire game.

    3. Be aware of Steve Smith. The Jaguars did a great job of shadowing Smith with Rashean Mathis, until he went out in the third quarter. Smith finished the day with six receptions for 44 yards, and really wasn't a factor. Great job by the Jaguars defense and coaching staff.

    4. Establish dominance on the line of scrimmage. The Panthers couldn't run the ball against the Jacksonville defense as evidenced by their 50 yards rushing on 15 attempts, and the Jaguars ended the day with solid rushing statistics. Jacksonville gained 178 yards on 38 carries, 139 of which came in the second half.

    5. Get a body or two on Julius Peppers. Peppers was a non-factor all day as the Jaguars tackles and tight ends pretty much neutralized the perennial Pro Bowler. Peppers finished with two tackles.

What to look for:

    1. A 100+ quarterback rating from David Garrard. Close, but no cigar. Garrard finished 20 of 36 for 230 yards, two touchdowns and no interceptions, for a QB rating of 93.5. Garrard was a little shaky in the first half, but finished very strong.

    2. Reggie Williams for 6. Reggie led the team in receiving with five receptions for 90 yards, and got the team on the scoreboard with his fantastic 22-yard catch and run in the first quarter for a touchdown.

    3. Look for DeAngelo Williams to have a big game. Nobody on the Panthers had a big game.

    4. Look for another pick from Reggie Nelson. Most of Testaverde's and Moore's passes were so far off the mark that they couldn't be intercepted. Clint Ingram, did however take his first interception 39 yards to the house.

    5. Look for a big special teams play by the Jaguars. Dennis Northcutt averaged 20 yards per punt return, and took the first Jason Baker punt back 37 yards.


Charlie Bernstein is the Editor-in-Chief of JagNation.com, and a regular syndicated contributor to FoxSports.com, Sirius NFL Radio, MySpace Sports and Sportsillustated.com. 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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