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Del Rio, Jags moving on


The tree stump is gone, so is T.J. Slaughter, and Jack Del Rio made a point of putting both issues to rest at this afternoon's press conference.

"We are looking for guys who are going to do it our way. When we're not seeing progress and development, we're going to move on," Del Rio told reporters when questioned about Tuesday's decision to release Slaughter.

The fourth-year linebacker was judged to have played poorly in Sunday's 30-17 loss to the Titans, then, in the early-morning hours of Monday, Slaughter was arrested for allegedly waving a gun at another vehicle in north Jacksonville.

Del Rio said it was his decision to release Slaughter, and when asked point-blank if he would've reached the same decision had Slaughter been an All-Pro, Del Rio said: No; if T.J. was playing like an All-Pro, we wouldn't be talking about not playing like we wanted and all of that."

With that, Del Rio hoped to squash suspicions Slaughter's release was a response to the arrest, but the coach has also grown weary of off-the-field distractions that have dogged his 1-6 team.

"I think it was time to move on. I looked at it last night and said it was time to get it out," he said when asked about having the tree stump removed from the locker room. Of course, it was that stump and its accompanying ax that resulted in a self-inflicted injury to punter Chris Hanson's right leg three weeks ago. Del Rio immediately had the ax removed but allowed the stump to stay; until last night.

The Jaguars signed linebacker Tony Gilbert to replace Slaughter. Gilbert, 6-0, 244 and a sixth-round draft choice by the Arizona Cardinals this year, was a three-year starter at Georgia. And that brings us to the matter of several RVs parked outside Alltel Stadium for this Saturday's Florida-Georgia game.

Have Florida-Georgia festivities become a distraction?

"We have plenty of our own," Del Rio joked.

At least the coach is in good spirits, and that's an accomplishment considering the circumstances.

"Our mission this week is to play the Ravens and not worry about all of this other stuff," Del Rio said.

At 1-6, Del Rio and his team will travel to Baltimore this weekend for a game against the Ravens and their two Lewis', Jamal and Ray. "They're playing smash-mouth football and present a tremendous challenge," Del Rio said of the Ravens.

Meanwhile, Del Rio is getting support from within the coaching ranks. Colts head coach Tony Dungy, who was Del Rio's defensive coordinator in Minnesota, e-mailed encouragement to the Jaguars rookie coach and "talked about his 1-8 start in Tampa," Del Rio said.

In other personnel moves, defensive back James Trapp was assigned to the injured reserve list. Trapp has been bothered since training camp by a sprained ankle. Taking his place on the active roster is defensive tackle Matt Leonard, an undrafted rookie free agent who has spent most of this season on the practice squad. The Jaguars replaced Leonard on the practice squad with Ray Perryman, a safety who had finished last season on the Ravens' roster.

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