Jaguars Circle the Wagons

The Jaguars are a team that is no stranger to adversity, as head coach Jack Del Rio made a controversial quarterback switch nine days prior to the season opener a year ago and the team went on to lose the season opener in dismal fashion to the Tennessee Titans. That was last year.

Fast forward one year, and the team's top reserve offensive lineman was shot the week before the season opener and the team lost in dismal fashion to the Tennessee Titans.

"Yeah, that looked a lot like last year's opener in terms of where our offense started last year and how we grew," said head coach Jack Del Rio. "So certainly part of what they did made that happen, and part of what we didn't do made that happen. But the end result is we're not pleased with it, we've got to go back to work."

In week two of 2007, the Jaguars struggled for roughly three quarters before the offense began clicking in a comeback victory over the lowly Atlanta Falcons. This season the task will be much greater when the Jaguars face a very sharp Buffalo Bills team that rolled over the NFC West champion Seattle Seahawks 34-10 on opening day.

"There are a lot of things we can do better and we'll look to do better starting this weekend when Buffalo comes in," Del Rio told reporters Monday. "Obviously, they're feeling pretty good about themselves today because they played, I've already seen a bit of their tape, they played really outstanding football yesterday. It was one of the top efforts of opening weekend. So we've got our hands full with them coming in and we'll need a strong week of practice to get ready for them coming in next weekend."

The good news for the Jaguars is that the Colts and Texans both lost on opening day, and although they are chasing the Titans, it's only one team and the Kings of the Division (Colts) looked very average.

"I think what's most important is that we understand, yeah if you want to look back and look at historical references then you're going to say yeah, we're in a division with a really good team that's been dominant in the division," Del Rio told reporters. "You look at Indy's record, it's not just against the Jaguars, it's been against everybody. They've been dominant in the division for the five years that I've been here."

The Jaguars will have to "circle the wagons" with a patchwork offensive line, as they'll take the field on Sunday without their three interior starters. Still, the Jaguars head coach will make no excuses—

"Injuries are a part of the game. Anybody that watched highlights from last night saw stories from around the league where some key players went down. Injuries are something we have to contend with. Nobody is going to feel sorry for you. Obviously it makes it a little tougher, but we're going to plug a few guys in and expect to keep playing and play better."

It may only be week two, but the Jaguars appear to have their collective backs against the wall. With a trip to Indianapolis looming in week three, followed by a division game at home against the Houston Texans, the Jaguars need to find wins within the conference and there's no better time than the present.

As difficult as it sounds, they must use the adversity that they face to their advantage and regroup and play their best game in spite of all the injuries and circumstances surrounding the franchise.

Jags Illustrated Top Stories