My interest is for the Jaguars' attempts to defeat Larry Fitzgerald and the Arizona Cardinals. My anxiety is for the seats that are certain to be empty.
I saw them in the preseason, gaping sections of empty expanse, but no one really cares about the preseason. This week, they start to care. This is the regular season and empty seats are not dismissed.
Detroit and San Diego have issues, too. They each had a small supply of unsold tickets on Thursday and asked for blackout extensions, which is a way of delaying the announcement that they won't black out their games; nobody blacks out after asking for an extension.
The issue in Jacksonville, however, is not a few unsold tickets. It's several thousand unsold tickets.
This is no way to open a home season, but it's the way we'll open this one. About 45,000 people are expected to stretch out in a 66,000-seat stadium and see a game the rest of Jacksonville won't see until nfl.com begins its midnight, tape-delay airing.
So I'll ask those of you who won't be with me on Sunday, to ask yourself at some point between one and four o'clock in the afternoon, while you're watching Carolina at Atlanta: Do I miss not seeing the Jaguars play? Do I want every Sunday to be like this Sunday, and I do mean every Sunday?
Think about it. Think real hard about it.
Here are 10 things the Jaguars have to do to beat the Cardinals:
- Sack the quarterback—The 49ers got pressure on Kurt Warner and it was the difference-maker in the game. Old quarterbacks don't move in the pocket as well as they once did.
- Stop the run—If the Jaguars can do that, they'll be able to concentrate their efforts on stopping the pass and, clearly, a concentrated effort will be required to stop the Cardinals passing attack.
- Block Darnell Dockett—Rookie Eugene Monroe got the premier pass-rusher last week. This week, the other rookie tackle, Eben Britton, gets the top guy. Britton needs to be given some help.
- Make plays in the passing game—The Jaguars didn't do nearly enough of that last week.
- Forget about the heat advantage—It's supposed to be 86 and cloudy in Jacksonville on Sunday. The Phoenix forecast for Sunday is for 103 and full sun.
- Play with urgency—Games against Houston and Tennessee are next up.
- Feel it—It's us, all of us, against the world.
- Protect and support your quarterback—Nobody performs well in a rushed and angry environment.
- Take away the dumps—Warner loves to dump the ball to running back Tim Hightower. The Jaguars have the linebackers to deny those easy completions.
- Stretch the field—Troy Williamson is the Jaguars' deep receiver and they need to get the ball to him. The more they do that, the more room Maurice Jones-Drew will have to maneuver.