Charlie Bernstein: How many explosive plays did the Jaguars have in 2007? How many were from rushing/passing, and where did they rank?
Ed Thompson: Jacksonville tied for 11th place in pass completions of 20-plus yards in 2007 with 44, along with the Chicago Bears and San Diego Chargers. The New England Patriots led the category with 57. Eight of those long passes resulted in scores for the Jaguars, and their average gain was 30.1 yards (17th-best average gain).
But with their formidable tandem of Maurice Jones-Drew and Fred Taylor, Jacksonville finished second in the league with 68 big-play runs of at least 10 yards, and they averaged 19.4 yards a pop when one of the Jaguars running backs got free for a big gain. The only team to top the Jaguars' explosive rushing attack in this category was the Vikings, who posted an amazing 87 big-play runs.
CB: Were there any trends in 2007 regarding the outcome of the games based on the score at halftime?
ET: Having a lead at halftime was a huge factor for the Jaguars last year.. They won 10 out of 11 games (90.9 percent) when they had the lead after the first 30 minutes of the game. But when they came out for the second half trailing their opponents, they won just one out of five games. League-wide, teams won 77.4 percent of the time when they had a halftime lead.
CB: How much success did the Jaguars have running left/right/middle with Maurice Jones-Drew and Fred Taylor?
ET: Both running backs got consistently good results when running between the guards, and both struggled on plays that were designed to go wide right.
Maurice Jones-Drew leaves a pile of Colts behind as he scores.
AP Photo/Tom Strattman
Jones-Drew got his best results by far when he ran to the left side. He averaged 7.2 yards per carry on 21 attempts wide left and 5.3 yards per carry when he ran between the left guard and left tackle. Between the guards, where he ran 90 times last season, he averaged 4.8 yards per carry, just slightly better than his overall average of 4.6 yards per carry. Oddly enough, he averaged just 3.8 yards per carry running between the right guard and right tackle on 16 occasions, and couldn't get anything going when he tried to run wide right, averaging a mere 1.4 yards per carry on 22 attempts.
Taylor provided more steady results across all sectors except for wide right. He struggled there as well, but not nearly as much as his younger teammate, averaging 3.8 yards per carry on 17 attempts. Taylor's best work was between the guards, where he averaged 6.0 yards per carry on 131 attempts. To the left side, regardless of how wide he ran, he averaged between 4.7 to 4.8 yards per attempt. Running between the right guard and tackle gap yielded a similar result at 4.6 yards per run.
CB: Where did the team rank in average starting position after the kickoff?
ET: The team's results in that area left a lot to be desired. They finished 27th in the league with an average starting line 26.2 yards from the goal line. The NFL average was 28.0, while the Chicago Bears and the Cleveland Browns posted the best starting spots at 33.8 yards out. One other noteworthy stat in this area is that Jacksonville finished the season in a tie for fourth-most number of starts inside their own 20-yard line (14).
CB: How many dropped passes did the team have in 2008? And who led the team in drops?
ET: The Jaguars only dropped 24 balls, putting them in a tie for the ninth-best result among NFL clubs. But eleven of those drops were charged to just two players on the squad -- six to Matt Jones and five to tight end Marcedes Lewis. Both featured running backs, Jones-Drew and Taylor had three drops while Ernest Wilford had two. On a percentage basis, Fred Taylor had the worst hands, dropping 21.4 percent of the passes tossed to him (three out of 14).
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A member of the Pro Football Writers of America, Ed Thompson's player interviews and NFL features are published across the Scout.com network and at FOXSports.com. You can contact him by email through this link.
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