THIS WEEK: In a matchup of early division leaders, the Jacksonville Jaguars will host the Philadelphia Eagles at 4:15 p.m. EDT Sunday at ALLTEL Stadium. The Jaguars are 2-1 and are tied for first place in the AFC South after a 28-3 victory over the New York Jets last Sunday. The Eagles are 3-1 after defeating the Houston Texans 25-17 and are in first place in the NFC East.
This is the second of back-to-back home games for the Jaguars. Following the game against the Eagles, the Jaguars will go on the road for five of their next seven games in October and November. The win over the Jets was the Jaguars' first at ALLTEL since last November. But the Jaguars have a strong home-field advantage, winning 36 of their last 50 games at home, which is tied for the fourth-best mark in the NFL in that time.
In their first three games, the Jaguars have gained 1,176 yards on offense, an average of 392 yards per game that is the most in the season's first three games in franchise history. The Jaguars have scored 76 points, their third most ever in the first three games. They have won on the ground, through the air, and with big plays — all reminiscent of the team's best seasons from 1996 through 1999.
The Jaguars got their vaunted running game going against the Jets. After losing Fred Taylor for 14 games a year ago and not rushing for 2,000 yards in a season for the first time since 1997, the Jaguars broke out for 223 yards against New York, the third-highest total in team history. Taylor rushed for 142 yards, his fourth-best game ever, and Stacey Mack rushed for 70 yards and three touchdowns. Taylor also added 95 yards receiving and scored a rushing touchdown, too.
In the season's first victory against Kansas City two weeks earlier, Taylor ran 63 yards for a touchdown and Mark Brunell hooked up with Patrick Johnson for a 79-yard score on back-to-back offensive plays. Through four weeks, those are the longest run and the second-longest pass play in the league. The Jaguars rank fifth in the NFL in total offense, and they are first in the AFC in five categories.
Defensively, the Jaguars have allowed 47 points, including seven off an interception that was returned for a touchdown. The defense ranks 16th in total yards allowed. Jacksonville held the NFL's highest scoring offense, Kansas City, to only 16 points, kept Peyton Manning to 211 yards passing and held two of the league's best running backs, Edgerrin James and Priest Holmes, under 100 yards.
The Jaguars closed out September with an overall 16-13 record in that month. October is the only month in which the Jaguars have a losing record, with a 12-16 mark after going 0-3 last year and 1-7 over the last two Octobers. In the last six seasons, the Jaguars have the fourth-best record in the NFL, a 51-32 mark that is four-and-a-half games behind the Green Bay Packers. On the road, the Jaguars have the best record (one game ahead of St. Louis and the New York Jets) at 24-19 and they are one of only five NFL teams with a better-than-.500 mark on the road dating back to November 24, 1996. Against NFC teams, the Jaguars are 14-13.
TICKET INFORMATION: Tickets are still available for $45, $50, $65 and $95 per ticket. Fans can call 1-877-4-JAGS-TIX or (904) 633-2000 or buy tickets online at www.jaguars.com
TELEVISION BROADCAST: The Jaguars-Eagles game will be televised regionally on FOX and locally on WAWS Channel 30 (Ch. 10 cable), with Sam Rosen calling the play-by-play and Bill Maas adding analysis. The Jaguars Pregame Show airs at 11:30 a.m. on WTEV Channel 47 (Ch. 6 cable), with Brian Sexton, Ryan Elijah and Jordan Siegel.
RADIO BROADCAST: All Jaguars games are broadcast on WOKV (690 AM) and WKQL (96.9 FM) and the Jaguars Radio Network. Brian Sexton calls the play-by-play and former NFL quarterback Matt Robinson adds analysis, with Cole Pepper serving as field reporter for home games. Sexton and Robinson are in their eighth season together. Robinson, Vic Ketchman and Pepper handle the pre-game show (three hours before kickoff on both stations), and Pepper and ex-Oakland Raider Pete Banaszak do the post-game show. A total of 16 affiliates in three states on the Jaguars Radio Network will also broadcast the game.
ON THE INTERNET: The Jaguars website has unveiled a re-designed look for the 2002 season. For breaking news, columns, feature stories, press releases, historical information, video highlights, rosters, depth charts and statistics, go to www.jaguars.com Updated daily, the Jaguars' Official Web Site has been ranked among the 100 Best Sites in the World by PC Magazine. The site also features online ticket buying, new merchandise offerings and multimedia, including video of Jaguars television shows and live radio game broadcasts.
ON THE AIR THIS WEEK:
Monday — Jaguars Reporters, 6:00 p.m., WOKV Radio, with Brian Sexton, Vic Ketchman
The Jaguars End Zone, 7:00 p.m., WJXT-TV4, with Sam Kouvaris, Donovin Darius and a guest
Wednesday — Jaguars This Week, 6:00 p.m., WOKV Radio, with Brian Sexton, Vic Ketchman, Jeff Lageman
Thursday — Tom Coughlin Show, 6:00 p.m., WOKV Radio, with Tom Coughlin, Brian Sexton
THE Jaguars Show, 8:00 p.m., WJXT-TV4, with Brian Sexton, Jeff Lageman
Saturday — Tom Coughlin Show, 7:30 p.m., WJXT-TV4, with Tom Coughlin, Brian Sexton
THE OPPONENT: The Eagles were formed in 1933 when the Frankfort Yellowjackets were bought and moved. They had 10 straight losing seasons before turning into one of the NFL's top teams in the late 1940s. They won NFL championships in 1948 and '49 behind quarterback Tommy Thompson and running back Steve Van Buren and the coaching of Greasy Neale. After 10 more years out of the playoffs, the Eagles advanced to the NFL title game in 1960 and won the championship, becoming the only team to defeat Vince Lombardi's Green Bay Packers in a championship game. The Eagles then went 17 years without another playoff appearances until Dick Vermeil took over as coach and guided the team to Super Bowl XV, a 27-10 loss to the Oakland Raiders. The Eagles qualified for the playoffs six times from 1988 though 1996 and not again until 2000. That year, under head coach Andy Reid, Philadelphia went 11-5 and advanced to the divisional playoffs. Last season, the Eagles finished 11-5 again and went to the NFC Championship game before losing to St. Louis.
THE SERIES: This will be the second meeting between the Jaguars and the Eagles. The Jaguars won the previous game 38-21 in 1997. Only five current Jaguars were on the roster for that game: QB Mark Brunell, WR Jimmy Smith, TE Pete Mitchell, DE Tony Brackens and OL Todd Fordham.
THE LAST TIME: The Jaguars defeated the Eagles 38-21 on October 12, 1997 behind James Stewart's five touchdowns. The Jaguars came out of the gate fast, taking the first possession 80 yards for a seven-yard TD run by Stewart. The defense stopped the Eagles on their first drive and the offense again marched down the field. Stewart's eight-yard TD run increased the lead to 14-0. On the Eagles' next series, the defense forced a punt after three plays, and Dave Thomas blocked it at the 11-yard line. Three plays later, Stewart scored for the third time in the quarter, making it 21-0 and marking the first time the Jaguars scored TDs on their first three possessions. In the second quarter, the Eagles scored on a pass from Ty Detmer to Irving Fryar, cutting the lead to 21-7. At the start of the second half, Chris Boniol missed a 43-yard field goal and a Deon Figures interception set up a one-yard Stewart run for his fourth TD. A second Eagles turnover in the quarter set up another scoring drive. Pete Mitchell caught a 13-yard pass to get the ball to the one-yard line. Stewart found the end zone for his fifth touchdown of the day to bring the Jaguars' lead to 35-7. In the fourth quarter, the Eagles scored two touchdowns on passes from Rodney Peete to Irving Fryar. Mike Hollis capped the game's scoring with a 38-yard field goal with less than a minute remaining. The Jaguars' win gave the team a 5-1 record for the first time in franchise history, and it was the 10th straight home win.
A JAGUARS VICTORY OVER THE EAGLES WOULD: Give the Jaguars a 3-1 record and keep them in first place in the AFC South. It would also put the Jaguars over .500 after four games for the first time since 1999 and be their second straight home win, as well as their first October win since October 29, 2000 at Dallas.
WHO TO WATCH: RB Fred Taylor can tie the team record with a rushing touchdown, marking four consecutive games scoring a rushing TD. He has done so three times previously, along with James Stewart and Natrone Means. … WR Jimmy Smith needs two receptions to become the 25th player in NFL history with 600 receptions. … DE Tony Brackens needs one sack to reach 50 for his career. … RB Fred Taylor can rush for 100 yards in his third consecutive game. … The Jaguars defense has not allowed a 100-yard rusher at home since Washington's Stephen Davis on Oct. 22, 2000, a string of 14 straight games.
COUGHLIN IN EIGHTH SEASON WITH JAGUARS: Jaguars head coach Tom Coughlin is in his eighth season as the team's head coach, tied for the third-longest tenure of any NFL coach with his current team. In addition, Coughlin has the fifth-best record of all current NFL coaches in division games (minimum of 20 wins) and the seventh-best record in home games (minimum of 16 home games). Records include all teams coached by an individual during the regular season.
THE COACHES: Jacksonville head coach Tom Coughlin (64-51 in regular season, 4-4 in postseason) has led the Jaguars to two AFC Central Division championships and two appearances in the AFC Championship game in seven seasons as the only head coach in franchise history. In his first seven seasons, Coughlin posted a 39-23 division record against the AFC Central, including 22-9 at home and 17-14 on the road. The Jaguars made the playoffs all four seasons from 1996 to '99 — a first for an NFL expansion team. In 1999, the Jaguars had the best record in the NFL (14-2), advancing to the conference championship game before losing to Tennessee. In 1998, Coughlin guided his team to its first AFC Central Division championship with an 11-5 record. The Jaguars defeated the New England Patriots in a Wild-Card game before losing to the New York Jets in the Divisional playoffs. In 1997, the Jaguars were 11-5 and finished second in the AFC Central, and they were defeated by Denver in the Wild-Card playoffs. In their second season in 1996, the Jaguars advanced all the way to the AFC Championship game, finishing second in the division with a 9-7 record. In the playoffs, the Jaguars upset the Bills and Broncos on the road before losing at New England. In 1995, the Jaguars finished with four victories in their inaugural season. Coughlin became head coach of the Jaguars on February 21, 1994 following three successful seasons as head coach at Boston College. He compiled a record of 21-13-1 from 1991 to '93 at Boston College, and had two bowl game appearances, as well as a ranking of 13th in the final AP poll of 1993. A veteran of 31 years in coaching, he was previously an NFL assistant coach with the New York Giants (wide receivers, 1988-90), Green Bay Packers (wide receivers and passing game coordinator 1986-87) and Philadelphia Eagles (wide receivers, 1984-85).
In 2001, his third season as Philadelphia's coach, Andy Reid guided the Eagles to their first NFC East title in 13 years and first NFC Championship game since the team advanced to Super Bowl XV. Reid's teams have improved in each season since his first year in Philadelphia (1999) when the club finished 5-11. Reid completed the biggest one-season turnaround in franchise history by posting an 11-5 mark in 2000. The Eagles' 13 victories in 2001 marked the highest victory total in franchise history. Prior to becoming head coach of the Eagles, Reid spent seven seasons as an assistant with the Green Bay Packers (1992-98), a tenure that included stints as the club's quarterback coach, tight end coach, and offensive assistant. Reid was an offensive tackle and guard at Brigham Young and went to three Holiday Bowls with the Cougars. Reid's coaching career began at his alma mater as a graduate assistant under LaVell Edwards in 1982. He moved to San Francisco State in 1983. The school led the nation in passing offense and total offense for three consecutive years (1983-85) while he served as offensive coordinator, offensive line coach, and strength coach. Reid was an assistant at Northern Arizona (1986), Texas-El Paso (1987-88), and Missouri (1989-1991).
JACKSONVILLE-PHILADELPHIA CONNECTIONS: Jaguars head coach Tom Coughlin was the Eagles' wide receivers coach in 1984-85. … Jaguars WR Jimmy Smith was with the Eagles during their 1994 preseason but was waived less than a week before the season opener. … Jaguars defensive coordinator John Pease coached with the Philadelphia Stars of the USFL in 1983-85. … Eagles defensive coordinator Jim Johnson was the defensive coordinator for the Jacksonville Bulls of the USFL (1985) … Eagles director of pro personnel Scott Cohen was the assistant director of pro scouting for the Jaguars (2000-01) … Jaguars TE Kyle Brady played at Penn State and is from New Cumberland, Pa., and RB Stacey Mack played at Temple. … Seven Eagles have ties to the state of Florida: FS Brian Dawkins (Jacksonville, Raines High School), CB Al Harris (Pompano Beach), WR Freddie Mitchell (Lakeland), CB Lito Shepard (University of Florida, Jacksonville, Raines High School), DT Corey Simon (Florida State, Pompano Beach), OT Tra Thomas (Florida State, Deland) and RB Duce Staley (Tampa) … The following players were college teammates: Jaguars SS Donovin Darius and Eagles QB Donovan McNabb at Syracuse; Jaguars DE Stalin Colinet and Eagles G Doug Brzezinski at Boston College; Jaguars G Chris Naeole and Eagles QB Koy Detmer at Colorado; Jaguars DE Marco Coleman and RB Dorsey Levens at Georgia Tech; Jaguars OT Mike Pearson and Eagles CB Lito Shepard at Florida; Jaguars DT Larry Smith and Eagles DT Corey Simon and OT Tra Thomas at Florida State; and Jaguars LB Eric Westmoreland and DT John Henderson with Eagles DT Darwin Walker at Tennessee.
INJURY UPDATE: Players injured in the Jets game were: CB Jason Craft (arm), DT Larry Smith (knee/ankle) and TE Kyle Brady (concussion). The status of all players will be updated during the week.
LAST WEEK: The Jaguars got their second win of the season 28-3 over the New York Jets, snapping a four-game losing streak at ALLTEL Stadium. The win gave the Jaguars a 2-1 record and moved them into a tie for first place in the AFC South. Fred Taylor gained 237 yards from scrimmage — 142 rushing and 95 receiving — and scored a touchdown to lead the Jaguars. Stacey Mack added three rushing touchdowns, as the Jaguars won at home for the first time since November 11, 2001. The Jaguars rushed for 233 yards, the third most in franchise history, and Mark Brunell attempted only 15 passes — including just two in the second half — the Jaguars' fewest ever in a game. Taylor rushed 21 times for 142 yards — the fourth-highest total in team history — and he caught three passed for 95 yards — the most ever for a Jaguars running back. Mack chipped in with 70 yards on 15 carries and the first three-TD game of his career. The Jets threatened several times, but the Jaguars forced four turnovers, three of them leading to touchdowns. On their first offensive play of the game, Brunell hooked up on a 72-yard pass with Taylor, who was tackled just short of the goal line. One play later Mack barreled in for the touchdown. The Taylor-Mack duo accounted for 315 of the team's 383 yards in the game, including 219 of the 227 offensive yards on the four scoring drives.
NOTES FROM THE JETS GAME: In eight seasons, the Jaguars are 5-3 following bye weeks. … The Jaguars have never lost to a Testaverde-quarterbacked team in the regular season (they are 7-0). … In the last two games between the two teams, the Jaguars have held the Jets to no touchdowns and just nine points while forcing six turnovers in those two games. … The Jaguars did not allow a touchdown for the first time since last December 23. … For the third straight game, the Jaguars had more yards (383 to 345), more first downs (20 to 18) and more time of possession (33:26 to 26:34) than their opponent. … The Jaguars converted 4 of 10 third downs (40 percent), while the Jets converted 5 of 13 (38 percent). … The Jaguars had no turnovers and four takeaways and are now plus-five for the season. … Mark Brunell completed 10 of 15 passes for 173 yards, with no TDs and no interceptions for a passer rating of 105.7. Brunell's streak of 14 consecutive games with a touchdown pass was snapped. He threw only two passes in the second half. … Fred Taylor notched his second 100-yard game of the season and the 20th of his career. His 237 combined yards from scrimmage (142 rushing, career-high 95 receiving) is the most in the NFL this season and the third most in team history (291 by Jimmy Smith at Baltimore in 2000 and 248 by Taylor in 2000 at Pittsburgh). Taylor's 72-yard reception was the second-longest non-scoring play in team history behind a 75-yard completion to Jimmy Smith in 1997 vs. Kansas City. The score was the 40th of his career and his 34th rushing TD. He has scored in all three games this season. Taylor's 72-yard reception was his 19th play of 30-plus yards, which ranks third in team history behind Jimmy Smith (53) and Keenan McCardell (26). … Stacey Mack's 14 career touchdowns moved him ahead Mark Brunell (13) for the fourth most in Jaguars' history. Mack became the fourth player in team history to record three or more touchdowns in a game (accomplished seven times), and it was the first three-touchdown game of his career. … The Jaguars' 223 yards rushing is the third most in team history (244 in 2000 vs. Cleveland and 240 in 2000 at Pittsburgh). The Jaguars are 7-0 when they produce 200 rushing yards. … Taylor led the team with three receptions and 95 yards receiving. Jimmy Smith caught only one pass for 10 yards, his lowest output since the 2000 season finale.
Chris Hanson punted five times for a 53.2-yard average, with one touchback and two inside the 20. He had three punts returned for 51 yards for a net average of 39.0. His 53.2 average is the second-highest single-game mark in team history behind Bryan Barker's 53.8 average on 10/19/97… PK Hayden Epstein scored four points on four extra points. He missed on a 44-yard field goal attempt. Epstein also had one touchback on a kickoff, giving him seven for the season. … Making interceptions were Donovin Darius (eighth of his career, tying Chris Hudson for second place in team history) and Jason Craft (third of his career). … The team got a season-high two sacks, by Marcus Stroud (first of his career) and Tony Brackens (49th of his career). LB Danny Clark led the team with a 12 tackles (8 solo), followed by S Donovin Darius with 10 tackles (7 solo). … Every player saw action, including backup QB David Garrard, who got the first playing time of his NFL career. He played the final two series. The inactive players were: CB Robert Bean, RB Dan Alexander, LB Bobby Brooks, G Daryl Terrell, C/G Drew Inzer, DE Stalin Colinet, DT Clenton Ballard and QB Kent Graham (third QB). … Jaguars captains were: QB Mark Brunell, TE Kyle Brady, DE Marco Coleman and S Donovin Darius.
FROM COACH TOM COUGHLIN ON THE JETS GAME: (on the running game) "We pounded the ball well. We ran the ball in the tough territory. We had power running. There's nothing fancy about it. It's just slam it up in there and get some bodies in front of the ball and let's go. We did a little bit better getting outside today. Fred (Taylor) cut some back and made them into outside runs. We had a nice mix and then helped ourselves out with some shutdowns and some short passes. We didn't get the big plays today, but we certainly controlled the clock. We did a good job with tough running. We put outstanding numbers up there.
(on the defense) "The defense did an excellent job of keeping the Jets out of the end zone. That's what it's all about. They got a lot of yards, but they didn't get a lot of points. We won the battle of turnovers and time of possession and rushed the ball very well and kept them out of the end zone. And there were no turnovers on our side of the ball.
(on the state of the team) "It's our third game and we're 2-1 in the division and we're tied for the lead, and that's good. We continue to ascend at 2-1. Sometimes you go about winning in this league in different weeks with different styles. We don't necessarily pull the ball down, but today was the right time to do that. That proved to be the way to play today.
(on the one-two punch of Fred Taylor and Stacey Mack) "That was outstanding that both guys could contribute to wins. I thought Fred's catch on the first play of the game was outstanding, up over his head. He made a huge play out of that. It's a shame (because) he was in the end zone and should have had a touchdown on that. Both guys ran the ball well, and the line blocked well and the tight ends blocked well. The fullback got in front of plays. We thought we could utilize both guys in the backfield on some plays.
(on all of the young players) "I had hoped we would be playing even better. As I say, we've made some progress. We've done different things to win the last couple of games under different circumstances, which is good for a team. It's great for young players to be under that kind of pressure. We're not there yet, but we're making progress.
(on Mack getting the ball near the goal line) "He's 240 pounds, a power runner, has his pad level down. Quite frankly, we did it so more guys can have more opportunities in the game."
FROM QB MARK BRUNELL: "We saw a lot of two deep coverage; we didn't see a lot of single-high coverage. When we have single-high we try to get the ball to Jimmy (Smith). Fred (Taylor) was on today. The offensive line played well, so we kept running the football. Obviously, we would have liked to get the ball to Jimmy more, but they weren't going to allow that, so it was a big day for Fred and Stacey. We're fortunate we have Jimmy and Fred and a very good offensive line, so were able to do some things in both aspects of the game. If you're efficient with the run and the pass, you can do some good things.
(on Fred Taylor and Stacey Mack) "It's great having both those guys. When one breaks a long run, the other one comes in. We have a lot of confidence in Stacey. He's a good running back. Having those guys really helps our offense."
(on the 2-1 start) "I'm not surprised. Having gone through training camp with these guys and being in the locker room, I guessed I'm surprised that we are as good as we are at this point. Being 2-1 is pretty good. If you would have told me that during training camp I would have said we may start slow and struggle a little bit, but being around these guys, with the attitude and work ethic, our chemistry developed a lot faster than I thought it would. You really saw that two weeks ago against the Chiefs. I thought we could really be good. We've just got to stay healthy. If we stay healthy we could make a run at the end. We've got just as good a shot as anybody else."
(on team unity) "Everybody gets the credit. Young guys are stepping up and being leaders, and it really comes down to a theme we've had since training camp: 'Don't let the next guy down.' Just go out there and play hard and play together. We've emphasized the team concept and with a young team. There is a lot of energy and a lot of life, so the young guys are keeping us old guys going."
FROM RB FRED TAYLOR: "I can't say it turned out like I visualized it would, except I visualized that we would win. The coaches stuck with the running game and we were able to break off a few long runs. But we won, and that's all that matters."
FROM WR JIMMY SMITH: (on what the win means) "It means we're 2-1. We're feeling pretty good about ourselves. Coming off of the bye and coming home to break that losing streak we had at home, it is a big win — particularly because we have such a young team. There's a lot of excitement around here."
(on the Jets) "This is the NFL. They have a lot of talent on defense and offense. They're a talented team. I'm just very glad we were able to get a win. I don't consider them a bad team. What are you going to say? That every team we beat is a bad team? We've got to get the credit at some point."
(on having just one catch) "Unfortunately, the game goes like that sometimes. I'm very disappointed that I only had one catch, but when you the win, it makes everything OK. That's why you play the game. It's not an individual sport. The fact that we weren't throwing the ball as much as me and Mark would have liked, I had to turn into a blocking receiver. We ran the ball very well. That's what it's going to take to get us some more wins on the board."
FROM DE MARCO COLEMAN: "Obviously, we're not out of the woods yet. We've got a long, long way to go. We've got a big game next week. And, as happy as we are about the win today, we've got to put it aside and start getting ready for Philly."
NEXT WEEK: The Jaguars will travel to Tennessee to face the Titans at 4:15 p.m. EDT Sunday, October 13 at The Coliseum in Nashville. It will be the 15th meeting between the two teams, with both teams having seven victories. The Jaguars are 0-3 at the Titans new home, but Jacksonville did win the first four road games in the series (two at Houston, one in Memphis and one at Vanderbilt Stadium). This year, the Titans are 1-3, having lost to Oakland last Sunday. The game is the first of a streak of five road games in seven weeks for the Jaguars.
THE TEAL IS REAL . . . In the last six seasons, the Jaguars' record is the fourth best in the NFL, four-and-a-half games behind the Green Bay Packers. The Jaguars have won 51 of their last 83 regular-season games (they also won their final five games in 1996).
JAGUARS HAVE FOURTH-BEST HOME RECORD AND BEST ROAD RECORD SINCE 1996: After the Jaguars went 7-1 at ALLTEL Stadium four times from 1996 to '99, they have a 36-14 record that is tied for the fourth-best mark at home since the start of the 1996 season. On the road, the Jaguars have the best record (one game ahead of St. Louis and the New York Jets) and they are one of only five NFL teams with a better-than-.500 mark on the road dating back to November 24, 1996.
THE TAYLOR-MACK ONE-TWO PUNCH: In the offseason, faced with a contract offer from another team, RB Stacey Mack re-signed with the Jaguars — even though he knew he would be Fred Taylor's backup — because he felt the Jaguars would have the one of the best running back duos in the NFL. Through three games, the statistics seem to prove just that. And last Sunday's game was a classic example of how two top runners help a team win.
The Jaguars had four scoring drives in defeating the Jets 28-3.
In the Jets game, Taylor and Mack accounted for 212 yards rushing, more than any other duo in a single game in Jaguars history (previous: 197 by Taylor-James Stewart in the 1999 playoffs vs. Miami and 197 by Mack-Elvis Joseph on 12/23/00 at Minnesota). The two also accounted for 318 yards from scrimmage (rushing and receiving), and their four combined touchdowns was also the most for a duo (previous: 3 by Taylor-Stewart on 12/13/99 vs. Denver).
This season, the Jaguars rank fourth in the NFL in rushing. Taylor has 339 yards and three touchdowns, and Mack has 99 yards and three touchdowns. In his last 15 starts dating back to mid-2000, Taylor has 11 100-yard games and 16 touchdowns (14 rushing). And, in his 43 career games played, Taylor has scored 40 touchdowns and turned in 20 100-yard outings. Mack, meanwhile, had three 100-yard games in his last four starts in 2001, and he has 12 touchdowns in his last 14 games.
JAGUARS HAVE BALANCED OFFENSE ... Although the Jaguars are often referred to as a passing team, in reality they have a balanced attack that features the run. In the last five seasons, the Jaguars have rushed for 8,296 yards on the ground, the sixth most in the NFL. They were the only team to have more than 2,000 yards rushing each of the three seasons from 1998 to 2000 (an injury to Fred Taylor held them to 1,600 rushing yards in 2001). Here are the NFL's seven best rushing teams since 1998:
And, over the past seven seasons, the Jaguars have the sixth-most passing yards in the NFL.
JAGUARS SCORE ON THE GROUND … In the last six seasons, the Jaguars have rushed for 94 touchdowns, the second most in the NFL.
… AND STOP THEIR OPPONENTS: In the last seven seasons, the Jaguars have allowed only 65 rushing TDs, the NFL's fifth-best mark.
THE BRUNELL AND SMITH CONNECTION: Mark Brunell and Jimmy Smith have already connected on one touchdown this season, giving the tandem 39 scores in eight seasons, ranking second among active players.
TAYLOR HAS SIXTH-MOST TOUCHDOWNS LAST FIVE YEARS: Despite missing 24 full games and parts of nine others, Jaguars RB Fred Taylor has the sixth-most touchdowns over the last five seasons among active players.
SMITH RANKS 25TH AMONG ALL-TIME RECEIVERS: Jaguars WR Jimmy Smith is in 25th place on the NFL's all-time receiving list, and he ranks 39th in career receiving yards. Smith has 598 career receptions for 8,457 yards. Over the six years from 1996 to 2001, Smith averaged 94 receptions and 1,329 yards per season, and another year like that would put him among the top 20 in both receptions and yards.
SMITH IS NFL'S LEADING RECEIVER SINCE 1996 ... Since the start of the 1996 season, Jaguars WR Jimmy Smith has the most receptions in the NFL. He was the NFL leader in 1999 with 116 receptions — the sixth most in a season in NFL history — and he finished the 2001 season with 112 catches to rank second in the league. Smith has a total of 598 career receptions.
... AND SMITH LEADS ALL RECEIVERS IN YARDAGE: Over the last seven seasons, Jaguars WR Jimmy Smith has amassed more receiving yardage than any receiver in the NFL.
SMITH HAS MORE RECEPTIONS THAN 14 OF 19 HALL OF FAME RECEIVERS: Even though he is in only his eighth season as a Jaguar, Jimmy Smith already has more receptions and receiving yards than 14 of the 19 receivers who have been inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
SMITH HAS SIX STRAIGHT 1,000-YARD SEASONS: Jaguars WR Jimmy Smith has surpassed the 1,000-yard mark receiving six straight seasons, a feat accomplished by only four other players in NFL history. Currently, he ranks fifth all time behind Jerry Rice (11 straight 1,000-yard seasons), Tim Brown (9 straight), Cris Carter (8 straight) and Lance Alworth (7 straight).
BRUNELL'S TOUCHDOWN TARGETS: Mark Brunell has thrown 129 TD passes in eight seasons with the Jaguars. Here are the 20 players who have caught them: Jimmy Smith (39), Keenan McCardell (26), Damon Jones (11), Willie Jackson (10), Pete Mitchell (8), Kyle Brady (5), James Stewart (5), Fred Taylor (4), Ernest Givins (3), Cedric Tillman (3), Alvis Whitted (3), Andre Rison (2), Elvis Joseph (2), Patrick Johnson (2), Derek Brown (1), Ty Hallock (1), Desmond Howard (1), Natrone Means (1), R. Jay Soward (1), Stacey Mack (1).
BRUNELL HAS EIGHTH-BEST WINNING PERCENTAGE: Jaguars QB Mark Brunell has the eighth-best career winning percentage of active quarterbacks (minimum 20 wins). Also, in the last eight seasons, Brunell has the most victories of any quarterback other than Green Bay's Brett Favre.
JAGUARS AMONG THE LEAGUE LEADERS: Through four weeks, the Jaguars rank fifth in the NFL in total offense (4th rushing, 11th passing), and they are 16th in defense (16th rushing and 20th passing). They have allowed 47 points, an average of 15.7 per game that is the second-best in the AFC. … The Jaguars lead the AFC in passing yards per net play, lowest interception percentage, fourth down efficiency, gross punting average and net punting average. … The offense is ninth in the AFC with 19.3 first downs per game and fourth in the conference in third-down percentage (19 of 41, 46.3 percent). The defense is 8th in allowing 18.0 first downs a game and is last in the AFC in opponent's third-down conversions (20 of 40, 50.0 percent). … The Jaguars are plus-five on the turnover table, second in the AFC. … The Jaguars are third in the AFC with a 75.0 percent rate on scoring touchdowns inside the red zone (6 of 8). Defensively, the Jaguars are tied for 4th in the AFC with opponents scoring touchdowns on 40.0 percent of red zone opportunities (4 of 10). … QB Mark Brunell is third in the AFC in passing with a 101.7 passer rating. … Fred Taylor and Stacey Mack are both tied for 10th in the AFC with three touchdowns each. … PK Hayden Epstein is 14th among AFC kickers in scoring with 14 points. Epstein is second in the NFL with seven touchbacks on kickoffs. … RB Fred Taylor ranks fourth in the AFC with 339 rushing yards, and his 63-yard TD run is the longest in the league so far this season. … RB Stacey Mack is tied for 18th in the AFC in rushing with 99 yards. … WR Jimmy Smith is tied for 21st in the AFC in receiving with 14 receptions, and Fred Taylor is tied for 29th with 13 catches. Smith's 197 receiving yards is tied for 19th in the AFC, and WR Patrick Johnson is tied for 38th with 115 yards. Johnson's 79-yard reception is the NFL's second-longest play from the scrimmage in the league through four weeks. … Taylor ranks fourth in the AFC with 514 yards from scrimmage. … Chris Hanson leads the AFC in both gross punting (48.7) and net punting (39.8). Hanson's six kicks inside the 20 is tied for fifth in the conference, and he has only one touchback. … S Marlon McCree's two interceptions is tied for fourth in the AFC.
STATS AND SUCH: There are 22 new players on the Jaguars' roster: seven of the nine draft choices (DT John Henderson, OT Mike Pearson, LB Akin Ayodele, QB David Garrard, TE Chris Luzar, DT Clenton Ballard and PK Hayden Epstein), three unrestricted free agents (WR Patrick Johnson, G Chris Naeole and WR Bobby Shaw), six veteran free agents (LB Bobby Brooks, DE Marco Coleman, DE Stalin Colinet, QB Kent Graham, TE Pete Mitchell and G Daryl Terrell), one first-year free agent (WR Jimmy Redmond), two trade acquisitions (CB Ike Charlton and LB Wali Rainer) and three waiver pickups (RB Dan Alexander, CB Robert Bean and C/G Drew Inzer). Jacksonville opened the season with 10 new starters: C John Wade, RG Chris Naeole, WR Patrick Johnson, LDE Marco Coleman, DTs Larry Smith and Marcus Stroud, SLB Danny Clark, MLB Wali Rainer, WLB Eric Westmoreland and RCB Jason Craft (Zach Wiegert also moved from RG to LT). There were no rookies in the starting lineup on Opening Day for the first time since 1997, although Ayodele has started the last two games at strongside linebacker.
Mark Brunell is 59-43 in 102 regular-season starts, 63-47 overall. He has won more games under head coach Tom Coughlin than any current NFL quarterback under his head coach. … The offense has used two different starting lineup combinations in three games, and the defense has used two different starting combinations in three games. … The Jaguars have had four plays of 30 or more yards so far this season. They had only 11 plays of 30-plus yards in 2001, 26 in 2000, 23 in 1999, 29 in 1998, 22 in 1997, 26 in 1996 and 12 in 1995. The Jaguars have allowed only two 30-plus plays this season… Of the Jaguars' 57 completed passes, 28 have been to wide receivers, 14 to tight ends and 15 to running backs. … The Jaguars are 4 for 4 on fourth-down conversions this season; their opponents are 0 for 3. … On 8 drives inside the opponent's 20, the Jaguars have scored 6 touchdowns and 2 field goals. Their opponents have had 9 trips inside the red zone and have come away with 5 touchdowns and 1 field goal (and 3 drives with no points). … Jaguars opponents have begun 6 possessions inside their own 20 and they scored on 2 of those drives (1 TD and 1 FG). The Jaguars have begun 9 possessions inside their own 20 and scored on 2 of those drives (1 TD, 1 FG). … The Jaguars used turnovers to score 37 points, while their opponents scored 14 points off Jaguars' turnovers. … In eight seasons, the Jaguars are 15 for 22 on two-point conversions (1 for 1 in 2002), while their opponents are 5 for 21 (0 for 0 in 2002). … In eight seasons, the Jaguars have a winning record in every month except October (they are .500 in January). They are 1-0 in August, 16-13 in September, 12-16 in October, 17-10 in November, 17-11 in December and 1-1 in January. … In 2002, the Jaguars have outscored their opponents in the second quarter (23-13), third quarter (24-7) and fourth quarter (22-17) and have been outscored in the first quarter (7-10).
The average age of the 53-man roster as of September 30 is 25.86 years old. … There are 28 players 25 or younger, 19 players between 26 and 29 years old, and seven players 30 or older. The youngest player is PK Hayden Epstein (21 years, 11 months); the oldest player is QB Kent Graham (33 years, 11 months). … More than two-thirds of the players (37) have four years or less of NFL experience, and seven players are in their eighth season or more. … The Jaguars have eight players who were first-round selections in the college draft, including five of their own picks: DE Marco Coleman (1992, Dolphins), TE Kyle Brady (1995, N.Y. Jets), G Chris Naeole (1997, Saints), RB Fred Taylor (1998, Jaguars), S Donovin Darius (1998, Jaguars), CB Fernando Bryant (1999, Jaguars), DT Marcus Stroud (2001, Jaguars) and DT John Henderson (2002, Jaguars). … WR Jimmy Smith has played in 114 of the 115 games in Jaguars history. Of this year's players, next are QB Mark Brunell (105) and DE Tony Brackens (90). … The longest streak of consecutive starts is held by G Brad Meester (35), followed by TE Kyle Brady (33) and WR Jimmy Smith (26). … Five players have played in 100 or more games during their careers: DE Marco Coleman (158), WR Jimmy Smith (121), TE Kyle Brady (111), QB Mark Brunell (107) and TE Pete Mitchell (101). … Coleman leads with 156 career starts, followed by TE Kyle Brady (105) and QB Mark Brunell (102).