Jaguars Riding A Wave of Momentum

All NFL teams have a feeling of optimism at this time of year, coming off what they feel was a good draft during the spring, a solid off-season program for a couple months thereafter and the fact that everyone looks to be healthy and in good shape in reporting to training camp.

But the Jaguars may have had additional reasons for a positive energy flow when camp opened last Friday. Just three days before, the team announced a new agreement with a local bank for a five-year deal for the naming rights to the stadium. That may not be big news for some clubs, but for the Jaguars, who have been searching for such a partner the last three years, it's very significant news.

The $3.25 million that will go into the Jaguars' coiffures is new money that won't be shared by other teams. For a franchise that was riding the line between finishing in the red or in the black each year, it's a definite push towards the positive side.

Then there's the 13,000 new season ticket holders that have come on board since the newly formed "Team Teal" group began a ticket drive back in January. The number represents an all-time high in new ticket buyers and is the highest figure in the league at this point with regards to new fans.

It puts the Jaguars in position that they can now look to avoid having a season full of blackouts as happened a year ago when all of the team's home games except the Indianapolis game was blacked out locally. There are still as many as 5,000 tickets remaining for some games, but indications are now that the first four games will likely be sellouts.

All of which has created a buzz of excitement and positive feelings permeating throughout the city. Jacksonville coach Jack Del Rio has grabbed hold of that energy and is using it to build the hopes for the Jaguars in 2010.

"I think the excitement throughout the fans and the team and the building has the city feeling good about the way we're starting 2010. I think what I'm most excited about is the overall attitude of this football team, coaches and players as we enter camp. It's never been stronger in my eight years here," Del Rio said the first day of training camp.

"I really like the mind-set that this team is coming to camp with. It's on the heels of some really good news throughout the week about where our team is heading the direction and the fact people in the community are stepping up. I think that matches the fact this team inside this building is stepping up as well."

But all the positive energy flow, all the extra money coming in from a corporate sponsor and all the new ticket buyers, won't help complete a pass, stop a run or assure a Jaguars victory. That's where the players must perform, and at a higher level than they did a year ago when they closed the season with four consecutive losses and missed out on the playoffs.

An atmosphere of good positive energy throughout, but will it translate into success on the field for this team?

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