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Bye-week random thoughts


This is usually a week reserved for evaluation. The bye week is usually a time for grading the team's performance to date. This year's bye week, however, is too early in the season to form any strong opinions about the team. Instead, what I have are a lot of random thoughts I'll share with you.

• David Garrard's performance through the first three weeks is, without a doubt, the highlight of the season to date. You can't expect to have any chance of chasing a championship if your quarterback isn't playing at a high level. Garrard's performance is giving the Jaguars hope of being a postseason contender.

• Despite injuries and turnover, the defense is on a five-quarters roll and appears to have the ability to play near to the level of recent seasons. I don't see this defense reaching the elite level, but its arrow is pointing up and it should point even higher as Clint Ingram returns, the defensive line gets healthier and rookies Justin Durant and Reggie Nelson cut their teeth on the pro game.

• The Jaguars' greatest challenge is their schedule. This one is a back-breaker. I know of no other way to describe it. All three division road games remain, there's a three-game road stretch at midseason, a trip to Pittsburgh in December and home games against San Diego and Carolina, not to mention home games against division foes Houston and Indianapolis.

• If I had a magic wand, I would wave it over "The Jack" and make a person appear in every seat. The most disheartening thing about this season is that one game has already been blacked out and it appears as though a second TV blackout is just ahead.

• Maurice Jones-Drew will be just fine. He showed some major signs of breakout in Denver, including a bulldozing run from scrimmage and a break-loose return on a kickoff. Jones-Drew's biggest problem is that he reached so high last season that he's produced unrealistic expectations. I doubt if he'll ever score 16 touchdowns in a season again. That's just not realistic for a change-of-pace running back.

• In the win in Denver, Marcedes Lewis was the drive-sustaining possession receiver I envisioned he'd be last season. He has the kind of size to be a quarterback's-best-friend kind of receiver.

• The Matt Jones saga is troubling. It has a troubling edge to it. In a perfect world, Jones would follow in Reggie Williams' footsteps, see the light and give the coach what he wants because he's the coach and what he says goes.

• It would've been better for the team to not have a bye this week. Byes tend to pull the plug on teams and, in this case, I'm afraid the bye has had an anesthetizing effect on ticket sales for the Houston game.

• New England appears to be unbeatable, but never discount the long-season effect. So much can change given the potential for injuries and the genius today's coordinators possess.

• Indianapolis' defense still holds the key to the outcome in the AFC South. The Colts currently have the league's number five defense. I'm going to watch that number closely between now and Nov. 11. After playing in Jacksonville on Oct. 22, the Colts play at Carolina, then at home against New England, then in San Diego. That's their shank of the schedule. By Nov. 12, we'll know whether or not the Colts' defense is for real.

• I still believe the Texans are for real, but not if Andre Johnson is out for an extended period of time. The Texans missed him big-time against the Colts. All they could do was nibble.

• The Titans are deserving of major respect for how they've started the season. I didn't like their roster coming out of the preseason and, frankly, I don't know how they're doing what they're doing. Jeff Fisher is back.

• It's the bye week. Yeah, it's time for a little break, but the Jaguars better make sure they don't pull the plug because it's difficult to find the light socket in the dark.

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