Jaguars: They Are What They Are

In the illustrious words of current Dolphins head honcho Bill Parcells, "you are what you are, you are what your record says you are." The Jaguars are a 2-3 team who have played 2-3 football. Sure, they are a few plays from being potentially 5-0, but those were plays that weren't made.

"The first five weeks every game has been close," said Jack Del Rio. "We could potentially be 5-0, we could potentially be 0-5. It's the nature of the league. It's very competitive. Like I said, each of the first five ballgames have been very close. There have been plays here or there that make the difference. We've earned 2-3, that's where we are right now. We'd like to have more but that is our record, that's where we stand and we've got a big tough assignment going into Denver, a team that's playing as well as anybody.

The Jaguars have shown flashes of brilliance on both sides of the ball this season, but neither their offense nor their defense has been consistently good. In fact, the rankings show a 21st ranked defense and a 26th ranked offense. One could easily make the argument that the team is lucky to have a 2-3 record.

"We have to keep it in perspective because we are a play or two away from being 0-5 as well," said Jaguars cornerback Rashean Mathis. "So when you have five close games, you're going to win some of those close games and that is how it has been."

The difference between winning and losing in the NFL is usually just a play or two. This season it appears that the AFC has more parity than ever.

"The league is very competitive," Del Rio said. "Of course, we know that, we understand that very well. It comes down to execution in key moments and the teams that have found a way to be at the top right now have found a way to close out some close, close ballgames. You look last week, we played late so we're watching the early games and Indy finds a way to come back from 17 down with 3-1/2 minutes left. That's unbelievable. And Tennessee is able to come back in Baltimore and win a close game. So, the games are close. They're going to be real tight at the end and the teams that make plays go home happy and the teams that don't are looking for ways to be better."

In Jacksonville's victory over Indianapolis three weeks ago, Rashean Mathis intercepted a pass in which he made contact with Colts receiver Marvin Harrison early. Mathis took it back for a touchdown. Also, the Jaguars final drive stayed alive by a somewhat questionable fourth down pass interference call. Following that call the Jaguars had a pass tipped up in the air and Montell Owens happened to be in the right place for a nine-yard gain instead of a possible interception. If any of those plays don't happen, the Jaguars lose the game.

Against Houston, the Jaguars tricked the Texans on an early fourth down play and Montell Owens ran for a 41-yard touchdown. If the Texans call timeout when the Jaguars go into their formation, perhaps Owens doesn't get the big gain and the Texans maybe win that game. These plays further give credence to the fact that the NFL is extremely competitive week after week.

The Jaguars are treading water right now while they deal with some extreme injury situations, and if they can pull off a victory this week at Denver, they will be in pretty good shape at 3-3 with games against Cleveland, Cincinnati, and Detroit looming. As the team sits currently with a 2-3 conference record, they need all the AFC wins they can get to gain a possible tiebreak in the wildcard race.

"We looked at the schedule and saw that we have eight straight AFC opponents," said Rashean Mathis. "We know it's a tough division and we know it's been one of the toughest divisions for years. We knew what we had coming before the season started and we had to get our mind right to be prepared for it. It's the luck of the draw and we play to win, no excuses"

The Jaguars haven't made excuses, but they haven't made enough plays either to warrant anything more than a 2-3 mark.


Charlie Bernstein is the Editor-in-Chief of Sports Media Interactive, covering multiple teams in the National Football League, NCAA, and National Basketball Association. Charlie is a regular syndicated contributor to FoxSports and Sirius NFL Radio, and has been featured on the NFL Network. Charlie is also a member of the Pro Football Writers of America. Feel free to contact him -HERE- with questions or comments.

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