Peterson Will Sit

The last time the Jaguars played in a playoff game in 2005, linebacker Mike Peterson played with a cast on his injured wrist. Peterson won't be able to duplicate that feat Saturday night when the Steelers play the Pittsburgh Steelers. Here's why:

Peterson, who missed the last six weeks of the regular season with a broken hand, won't play in their first playoff game Saturday night in Pittsburgh, Jaguars coach Jack Del Rio said Tuesday.

Del Rio said Peterson didn't have a chance to lobby to play with a cast on the hand because he wasn't cleared by the medical staff to return to action.

The Jaguars won't put Peterson on the injured reserve list, keeping alive the possibility that he could play next week if the Jaguars beat Pittsburgh.

But Del Rio said it's too early to tell if Peterson will be able to make it back next week.

"Until we get the green light, all I can do is give you an update week to week," he said.

With Peterson out, Darryl Smith will remain in the middle and rookie Justin Durant will start on the outside. That means both of their first two draft picks last April, Reggie Nelson and Durant, will be starting on defense in the playoff game.

The Jaguars have gone 4-2 without Peterson, although they rested several key veterans in the meaningless loss in Houston Sunday.

According to the Jaguars' statistics, Peterson finished the regular season third in tackles with 116, one behind Daryl Smith, who was second with 117. Durant was sixth at 68.

Of Durant, Del Rio said, "He's certainly improved as the year has gone on. I think he's going to be a fine football player for us. He strikes people and can really run and hit."

Del Rio also said that Smith is destined to be a Pro Bowl player in the future.

"I think he's an outstanding football player. Obviously, he brings great passion and great experience and play-making ability," Del Rio said.

Durant said, "I'm getting more confident each week. I'm more comfortable now than I was at the beginning of the season.

He said Peterson, who wasn't in the locker room Tuesday, has given him a lot of pointers.

"It's good to have a vet like that helping me out," he said.

Durant said that Daryl Smith, who played in his first playoff game in New England in 2005, told him the playoffs are totally different from the regular season.

"The teams are playing that much harder. The fans are cheering that much louder. I love this. I'm ready to go right now," he said.

After losing in the first round of the 1-AA playoffs at Hampton the last three years, he said, "I'm tired of that. I've got to get to this Super Bowl."

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