The Jaguars have 21 new faces on the 2010 roster and two players who were signed early in free agency highlight the group, in defensive end Aaron Kampman and wide receiver Kassim Osgood. Both players have played in all eight games and been vital to their respective units, but their most impact might be away from the field.
"Kassim and Aaron have brought not only playmaking, they've made an impact by who they are as people," Jaguars general manager Gene Smith said. "They set the example for others to follow in practice and on game day. They both have great passion for their profession and inspire others. The thing about both of them is they get a lot of attention from opposing teams."
Kampman is thriving after returning to a 4-3 defense a year after playing linebacker for Green Bay in a 3-4 scheme. He leads the Jaguars with four sacks and 30 quarterback pressures and leads the defensive linemen with 55 tackles. He has at least two quarterback hits in seven of eight games including a season-high six in the season-opener against Denver.
"Aaron is a complete defensive lineman who gets chipped and doubled a lot of the time and he still finds a way to win late with sheer will and determination," Smith said. "With the youth we have in the defensive line group it has been a definite benefit to have Aaron mentoring them."
Osgood, a three-time Pro Bowl selection, plays on all four special teams units and joins Montell Owens as leaders of the group. Osgood sees significant action as a wide receiver and has excelled in the run game as a blocker as well. He began the season with a game-winning 24-yard touchdown reception in the season-opener against Denver.
"Kassim is one of the elite special teams players in the league and other teams have to work hard to scheme and double-team him," Smith said. "He's improved as a receiver and has contributed in that role for us as well."
Tough stretch ahead
After observing the open date, the Jaguars will have four home games and four road games over the next eight weeks beginning on Sunday, November 14 against Houston. Seven of the Jaguars' eight remaining games are against teams with a record of .500 or better. Three of the first four games after the bye are against teams with a winning record including back-to-back road games at the New York Giants and Tennessee.
Parity in the AFC
The Jaguars are one of 11 AFC teams beginning play today with a record of .500 or better. The Jaguars' four losses have come against opponents with a combined record of 17-13 (.606 pct.). Three of the four losses have been against teams with winning records.
Toughest division in the NFL?
The AFC South has the best combined winning percentage in the NFL at .600 and is the only division with all four teams at .500 or above. The four AFC South teams have a combined record of 18-12 with four of the losses in division play.
Second half start
Jaguars head coach Jack Del Rio likes to break the regular season down into four quarters. Del Rio&39;s previous seven teams have been successful to start the third quarter with a 6-1 mark in the ninth game of the season the previous seven years.
Six straight wins heading into bye
The Jaguars' win at Dallas last Sunday was their sixth consecutive victory in the game preceding their open date. The Jaguars own an 11-5 mark in the game before the open date in 16 seasons, including a 6-2 mark under Jack Del Rio.
Did you know?
Mike Sims-Walker and Mike Thomas lead the Jaguars with eight receptions of 20-plus yards through eight games.
The last word
"Marcedes is a consummate pro, a lot like his college teammate (Maurice Jones-Drew). He really started to emerge as a complete tight end and as a leader last year and I admire the strides that he's made since he became a Jaguar. He's established himself as one of the most dominant run-blocking tight ends in the league and has become a factor as a pass receiver. He's a big target who is easy for David (Garrard) to find with a tremendous catching range. He's really improved the details of his route running and his run after the catch."
Jaguars general manager Gene Smith on tight end Marcedes Lewis * *