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Built for New England


They are built to win in the Northeast in January. The Jacksonville Jaguars may be from northeast Florida, but they can win in January in that other northeast, where the postseason weather is cold and icy.

A lot of warm-weather and dome teams light up the scoreboard for most of the season, only to find that their games deteriorate in December on the road in places such as New England, New York, Philly, Pittsburgh and other traditional northeast playoff stops. All of a sudden, all of the pretty things that were so easy to do in the warm weather and in the domes become nearly impossible in single-digit wind chills.

The NFL is the Northeast's game. Six of the last eight conference title games (AFC and NFC combined) were played outdoors in the Northeast, and if you wanna win there, you have to be prepared to play their game.

Jack Del Rio built his team accordingly. The Jaguars are not a finesse team. This is a team built on a strong running game and defense. Field position wins in the Northeast in January and the Jaguars play that game well.

"If you look at who the strong teams are, you're going to be playing outside and in some cold weather. In the cold and when the fields get beat up, big, strong men are going to plow ahead," Del Rio said during his Tuesday press conference.

He was describing the merits of being a "mudder." In other words, he was describing the need for traction in soft or slippery conditions.

Maybe you're not a transplant. Maybe you're a true Floridian. If you are, you don't know about things such as putting bags of sand or bricks in your trunk to make your car go better in the snow. Apply, however, that same logic to the football field.

Little guys fall down in the mud. It's a football axiom. The little, fast guys are built for warm weather. They're built for hard and fast conditions. The kind of game the Jaguars are going to be playing in New England this Saturday is made for monster trucks.

That's how Del Rio and James Harris built this team; to play the kind of short-field physical game that's required in the Northeast in January. You run the ball; you stop the run. It always starts with that.

Fred Taylor is a 235-pound guy who's had some big days in cold weather. Greg Jones is a 250-pound plow horse who's perfect for this Saturday night's conditions.

This is the dig-your-cleats-in-the-ground time of the year. Imagine moving either Marcus Stroud or John Henderson after they've dug their cleats in the ground.

Yeah, the Jaguars are from Florida, but this is not your typical Florida team. As tight end Kyle Brady said, "We're from north Florida."

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