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2009 Jaguars fun to coach, too


The 2009 Jaguars are rapidly becoming one of the fun teams in franchise history, and not just because they're over-achieving in the won-lost column.

"It's a good group. It's a younger group but it's a more mature group in knowing how to punch a clock and go to work every day. We're just going to keep the pedal down, keeping grinding and see what we can do. It's the most fun coaching I've had in a long time," Jaguars coach Jack Del Rio said at his Monday press conference, a day after the Jaguars ran their record to 6-4 with a come-from-behind, 18-15 win over the Buffalo Bills.

The Jaguars are tied for the lead in the AFC wild-card race and will, no doubt, watch Monday night's Tennessee at Houston game to see if the Texans make it a four-way tie in the wild-card race. The Jaguars are currently tied with Denver and Pittsburgh.

Dead ahead for the Jaguars is a game in San Francisco, which means another trip to the West Coast, a month-and-a-half after a 41-0 loss in Seattle. The Jaguars' travel itinerary will remain the same: The team will depart a day earlier than usual.

"We're going to hope to be a whole lot better this time around," said Del Rio, who was unable to offer an answer as to why teams find it difficult to travel across the country and win. "I don't remember Joe Montana having much trouble traveling. The good teams travel."

The Jaguars will again be without the services of cornerback Rashean Mathis, who will miss his second consecutive game with a groin injury. "He won't play this week," Del Rio said.

It was also announced that defensive end Bryan Smith has been placed on the injured reserve list after sustaining a shoulder injury in Sunday's win over the Bills.

Game balls went to wide receiver Mike Sims-Walker, defensive end Derrick Harvey and punter Adam Podlesh. Del Rio also acknowledged strong play by tight end Marcedes Lewis, offensive tackle Eben Britton ("probably his best game"), defensive tackle John Henderson and linebacker Russell Allen.

It is in quarterback David Garrard, however, that the Jaguars have placed their trust, and Garrard has responded with two consecutive final-drive, game-winning rallies.

"You can feel the trust and the faith is growing with our football team. It's a good thing, your quarterback leading you like that," Del Rio said.

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