THIS WEEK: The Jacksonville Jaguars will open their eighth season when they host the Indianapolis Colts at 1:00 p.m. EDT Sunday at ALLTEL Stadium. The Jaguars have won six consecutive games on opening day, dating back to their second season in 1996. The six straight wins is the second-longest active streak in the NFL behind Miami's 10 straight, and the Jaguars' .857 winning percentage (6-1) on opening day is the best of any NFL team.
The Jaguars are coming out of a preseason in which they finished 1-3, marking their first losing record since 1995. In their preseason finale on August 29, they lost to the Dallas Cowboys 28-25. The Jaguars are hoping to get off to a good start, with three home games in the first quarter of the season (as well as a bye week following the second game). The last two seasons, the Jaguars have started off 2-1 and 2-0.
The Colts are also hoping to bounce back after falling to 6-10 last season, the same record as the Jaguars. The two teams are now rivals in the new AFC South Division, along with the Tennessee Titans and expansion Houston Texans. The Colts are now coached by Tony Dungy, who led the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to the playoffs four times in six years.
Jaguars QB Mark Brunell and RB Fred Taylor played sparingly in the preseason, and Pro Bowl WR Jimmy Smith has been a holdout since the first day of training camp. Taylor rushed 24 times for 97 yards and has completely recovered from a groin injury that sidelined him for the final 14 games of 2001. And, although Brunell had only a 54.2 passer rating in the preseason (he played only 17 series), he is the sixth-ranked passer in NFL history and the only quarterback to rank among the top 11 passers each of the last six years. Brunell is 5-0 as a starter on Opening Day. This will be his 100th career start.
The Jaguars received a two-week roster exemption for Jimmy Smith when he ended his holdout on August 31 and will carry 54 players on the roster. When he is activated, the team will have to release one player. There are 20 new players on the roster: four unrestricted free agents, four veteran free agents, one first-year free agent, two trade acquisitions, one waiver pickups, seven draft picks and one undrafted rookie. The Jaguars could open the season with new starters at as many as 13 positions (including placekicker). It is likely, however, that there will be no rookies in the starting lineup for the first time since 1997.
Jacksonville's 6-10 record in 2001 marked the team's second straight losing season. Still, in the last five seasons, the Jaguars are tied with the fifth-best record in the NFL, a 40-31 mark that is four games behind the Green Bay Packers. They also have a 35-13 record at ALLTEL Stadium since 1996 that is the fifth-best mark at home. On the road, the Jaguars have the third-best record (one game behind Tennessee 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.
TICKET INFORMATION: Tickets are still available for $25, $35, $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-Colts game will be televised regionally on CBS and locally on WTEV Channel 47 (Ch. 6 cable), with Kevin Harlan calling the play-by-play, Randy Cross adding analysis and Beasley Reece as the field reporter. The Jaguars Pregame Show airs at 11:30 a.m., also on WTEV, 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 Cole 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
The Jaguars End Zone, 7:00 p.m., WJXT-TV4
Wednesday — Jaguars This Week, 6:00 p.m., WOKV Radio
Thursday — Tom Coughlin Show, 6:00 p.m., WOKV Radio
The Jaguars Show, 8:00 p.m., WJXT-TV4
Friday — Jaguars Season Preview 2002, 8:00, WJXT-TV4
Saturday — Tom Coughlin Show, 7:30 p.m., WJXT-TV4
THE OPPONENT:The Colts began play in Baltimore in 1953 and were one of pro football's most successful franchises for the next two decades. They won world championships in 1958 and '59 behind legendary quarterback Johnny Unitas and six other eventual Pro Football Hall of Famers. They also won the 1968 NFL championship before losing in Super Bowl III. The franchise moved to Indianapolis in 1984 but advanced to the playoffs only one time in the first 11 seasons. In 1995, the Colts won a Wild-Card berth and advanced to the AFC Championship game, losing to Pittsburgh. The Colts made the playoffs in 1999 and 2000 under coach Jim Mora, but they slipped to 6-10 last year. Tony Dungy was hired as head coach after the season.
THE SERIES: The Jaguars and Colts have played two times, with Indianapolis winning both times. On December 10, 1995, in the Jaguars' inaugural season, the Colts won 41-31 in Jacksonville, and on September 25, 2000, the Colts won 43-14 at the Hoosier Dome.
THE LAST TIME: The Jaguars were defeated by the Indianapolis Colts 43-14 at the RCA Dome on September 25, 2000. It was the Jaguars' first loss ever on "Monday Night Football" and evened their 2000 record at 2-2. The Jaguars allowed 440 yards passing by Colts quarterback Peyton Manning and 533 total yards by the Indianapolis offense — still single-game records by a Jaguars opponent — as they were outscored 22-0 in the second half and handed one of their biggest defeats in franchise history. Jimmy Smith caught two first-half touchdown passes from Mark Brunell — Smith's fifth and sixth scores of the season — but the Jacksonville offense gained only 52 yards in the second half (minus-27 on their first five possessions) and was unable to score. Fred Taylor returned to the lineup after missing the season's first three games and rushed for 57 yards, all but one yard in the first half. But the Jaguars' defense could not slow down Manning, who completed 23 of 36 passes and drove the Colts to seven scores (the Colts also had a safety). Brunell completed 21 of 36 passes for 229 yards. But, on the first five possessions of the second half when the game was on the line, he was only 1 for 6 for 3 yards, with three sacks. He threw for 72 yards on the final drive that ended in his second interception of the evening. On Indianapolis' first series, the Colts jumped out to a 7-0 lead on a 76-yard pass from Manning to Marvin Harrison that is the third-longest play ever against the Jaguars. Smith's first TD reception tied the score at 7-7 in the second quarter. Indianapolis then scored two touchdowns before Smith's second TD catch narrowed the lead to 21-14 at the half. That's as close as the Jaguars could get.
A JAGUARS VICTORY OVER THE COLTS WOULD: Be the Jaguars' seventh straight victory on opening day and their first win over the Colts in three games.
THE COACHES: Jacksonville head coach Tom Coughlin (62-50 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. 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).
Tony Dungy, the most successful coach in Tampa Bay Buccaneers history, has brought his low-key style to Indianapolis, much to the delight of Colts fans and players. Dungy compiled a 56-46 record during six seasons in Tampa Bay (1996-2001), leading them to the playoffs four times, including the NFC Central title and a trip to the NFC Championship Game in 1999. Prior to Dungy's arrival, the franchise had not reached the playoffs since 1982, and had not won the NFC Central since 1981. Dungy quickly righted the franchise, leading them to a 10-6 record and a playoff victory in his second season at the helm to earn coach of the year honors. Dungy was Minnesota's defensive coordinator from 1992-95. Dungy also coached Kansas City's defensive backs (1989-1991), and was an assistant with Pittsburgh (1981-88), including the last four as defensive coordinator. He played quarterback at Minnesota (1973-76), finishing his career as the school's all-time leader in attempts, completions, passing yards, and touchdown passes. He played in the Hula Bowl, East-West Shrine Game, and Japan Bowl. He signed with the Steelers as a free agent and played safety for two seasons (1977-78), totaling 9 interceptions in 30 games, including 6 in 1978. Dungy played in Pittsburgh's Super Bowl XIII victory. He was traded to San Francisco in 1979, then retired in 1980.
JACKSONVILLE-INDIANAPOLIS CONNECTIONS: Jaguars QB coach John Hufnagel held the same position with the Colts in 2001, coaching Peyton Manning … Four Colts are from the state of Florida: RB Edgerrin James (University of Miami, Immokalee), LB Mike Peterson (Gainesville and University of Florida), DE Chad Bratzke (Brandon) and DT Ellis Johnson (University of Florida, Wildwood) … Jaguars DE Paul Spicer attended Northwest High School in Indianapolis … Players who were college teammates include: Jaguars RB Fred Taylor and Colts LB Mike Peterson; Jaguars DE Randy Garner and Colts TE Joe Dean Davenport at Arkansas; Jaguars OT Patrick Venzke and Colts OG Rick DeMulling at Idaho; Jaguars S Donovin Darius and Colts WR Marvin Harrison at Syracuse; Jaguars LB Danny Clark and Colts DB Bobby Jackson at Illinois; Jaguars CB Bruce Branch and Colts DB David Macklin at Penn State; Jaguars DT Marcus Stroud and Colts C Curt McGill and TE Jermaine Wiggins and DE Josh Mallard at Georgia; Jaguars OT Mike Pearson and Colts LB Mike Peterson at Florida; Jaguars S Marlon McCree and Colts TE Derek Smith at Kentucky; Jaguars LB T.J. Slaughter and Colts DB Raymond Walls at Southern Mississippi; and Jaguars OT Maurice Williams and PK Hayden Epstein and Colts DT Josh Williams at Michigan.
INJURY UPDATE: Two players were injured in the Dallas game: DT Marcus Stroud (ankle) and RB Elvis Joseph (finger). Seven players missed the game because of injuries: LB T.J. Slaughter (elbow), WR Darnay Scott (shoulder), WR Damon Gibson (back), CB Ike Charlton (foot), C Kevin Long (knee), G/OT Derrick Chambers (neck) and DE Paul Spicer (foot). The status of all players will be updated during the week.
LAST WEEK: The Jaguars lost their final preseason game 28-25 to the Dallas Cowboys on Thursday night at ALLTEL Stadium. The loss dropped the Jaguars to 1-3 in exhibition play, giving them their first losing preseason record since their inaugural year of 1995. Dallas jumped out to a 21-2 lead before the Jaguars bounced back with 23 points in the second half. Rookie QB David Garrard led the comeback, and RB Stacey Mack rushed for 100 yards and scored two touchdowns in the rally. The Jaguars even got two safeties from their defense, as No. 1 draft choice DT John Henderson had a big game. Henderson had a sack and a safety, a tipped field goal and three passes batted down at the line. The Jaguars allowed three touchdowns in the second quarter, but let up only only 101 yards in the second half. RB Reggie White scored the final touchdown with 1:57 remaining, but an onside kick failed.
NOTES FROM THE COWBOYS GAME: The Jaguars have a 19-14 record in the preseason in eight seasons, including an 11-5 mark at home. … The Jaguars had more yards (384 to 265), more first downs (20 to 16) and more time of possession (32:58 to 27:02). … The Jaguars converted 8 of 17 third downs (47 percent), while the Cowboys converted only 4 of 13 (31 percent). … The Jaguars had two turnovers and one takeaway, making them plus-four for the preseason. … Mark Brunell played five series and completed 4 of 11 passes for 33 yards. He was not sacked. David Garrard played nine series and completed 15 of 25 passes for 167 yards and one interception. … RB Stacey Mack led the team with 100 yards rushing on 12 carries, followed by Garrard with 9 carries for 67 yards. … Jimmy Redmond led the team with four receptions for 58 yards, and Pete Mitchell and Micah Ross had three catches each. … The Jaguars made three sacks, one each by Wali Rainer and John Henderson (each for a safety) and Javor Mills. … Chris Hanson punted eight times for a 36.1-yard average, no touchbacks and three inside the 20 (he had four kicks returned for 47 yards). … Jaguars captains were: LB Joe Tuipala, S Marlon McCree, TE Pete Mitchell and FB Patrick Washington.
FROM COACH TOM COUGHLIN ON THE COWBOYS GAME: "It was two different games. It wasn't a good first half offensively. I didn't like the way the offense performed again. I was looking for more. We didn't get it. We didn't play well on defense, either. We didn't play with the same kind of fire as we'd been playing defensively. Offensively, there's no question I'm frustrated by that. This is a recurring thing. Where the minds are, where the heads are, what the preparation is like, those are issues I have to deal with. I talked about preparation at the half — that's all I've talked about with these guys in the preseason is to give great effort and let these things take care of themselves. The first half wasn't the kind of effort I was looking for. The second half the young kids played hard. They inspired each other."
(on Mark Brunell) "I thought Mark practiced well last week. He always gives confidence to his teammates. We have an All-Pro player who hasn't played as well as he can play. I talked to him about it. I just have to believe that he will snap out of it and that he will feel some confidence not only in himself but in the others around him and settle down a little. I believe that he will snap out of this thing somehow, someway and be ready to go. I feel he will play with his normal confidence and fire. Mark wasn't sharp. The receivers were in position tonight to make some plays. It didn't happen. The same questions prevail. I hope it's not a slump. I'm sure it's (lack of) confidence."
(on John Henderson) "He played very well tonight. He's played solid football for us. Again, as he did last week, he made big plays for us and was a force in there. I'm very pleased with that. I'm pleased with Henderson, Mike Pearson, Akin Ayodele, Wali Rainer, the acquisition in the third round, and the two kids in the fourth round. Henderson played well, and that was a positive note."
(on the offense) "I don't think we're executing. The playmakers have to make plays — the quarterback has to make plays, the running back has to make plays. We have to have the protection up front. We have to have production where there is no production right now. I let Mark go a little bit longer tonight, thinking Mark would maybe get into some kind of rhythm, and it still did not go the way I'd hoped it'd go."
FROM QB MARK BRUNELL: (on his confidence) "When you play this long, preseason games do not determine your confidence. I am very confident. We've been down before and we've had tough times before and we've bounced back. I'm confident that next week we'll do the same."
(on not looking confident) "There were a few plays that I would like to have back, without a doubt. Unfortunately, I think the whole offense could say that. We just weren't on our game we didn't execute the way we wanted to. We had breakdowns everywhere, and that's unfortunate because we really needed a good night tonight for the first team."
(on his frustration of watching the second team move the ball) "It's not frustrating. It's good. When the backups come in and move the ball, that's a good sign. They are a bunch of young guys who are moving the ball and putting some points on the board. The second defense is also doing a wonderful job. As Tom (Coughlin) told us in the locker room, the first groups are going to have to pick it up."
(on his experience helping him with a slow preseason start) "As difficult as this preseason has been for us, it's still just the preseason. The preseason is important, but in the end it does not matter. What happens in these next nine days is very important. Our starters are going to be on the field the entire game. You can get into a rhythm and stay out there and find out what's working and what's not working and go win football games. I feel confident that we will execute. We have enough good players out there that if we come to play we can do some good things."
(on Jimmy Smith) "The Jimmy Smith thing has been hanging up there since Day One. It's frustrating. We're not supposed to talk about it, we don't talk about it, but everyone knows it's there. He's one of our best players, he's one of our leaders and he's not here and he should be here. It was easy two or three weeks ago to say it's going to get resolved, but that's one area right now that I don't have confidence in that it will be resolved. He is the best and we could use the best right now."
FROM DT JOHN HENDERSON: (on his continued improvement) "Working with Tony Brackens, Marcus Stroud and Larry Smith, I'm starting to get the feel of things more and more. I'm just trying to get into a groove and practicing hard so I can do my best for the team."
FROM RB STACEY MACK: (on the offense) "I really think when we get some of our pieces back, our offense can really start to roll. Right now it's just mental breakdowns – one guy does one thing wrong and another does something else wrong. On offense you need all 11 players. Once we all get on the same page, I think we can have a great offense."
(on his role) "I understand what my role is. Fred (Taylor) and I are going to give them a one-two punch."
NEXT WEEK: The Jaguars will make their first road trip of the season when they travel to Kansas City to face the Chiefs at 1:00 p.m. EDT September 15 at Arrowhead Stadium. It will be the fourth regular-season meeting between the two teams but the first game in Kansas City. The Jaguars have a 2-1 lead in the series, having won at ALLTEL Stadium 24-10 in 1997 and 21-16 in '98 before losing 30-26 last December 30. The Chiefs were 6-10 in 2001 and in fourth place in the AFC West.
NEW FACES: There were 34 new players among the 73 on the Jaguars' roster as of August 30. Here is the breakdown:
Unrestricted free agents (6) — WR Patrick Johnson, C Kevin Long, G Chris Naeole, G/OT Raleigh Roundtree, WR Bobby Shaw, FB Detron Smith
Veteran Free Agents (5) — DE Marco Coleman, DE Stalin Colinet, DT Jeff Miller, TE Pete Mitchell, G Daryl Terrell
First-Year Free Agents (8) — DE Mike Cecere, C Carey Clayton, WR Henry Douglas, TE Stevan Fontana, MLB Rashad Harris, LB Aaron Humphrey, WR Jimmy Redmond, S James Watkins
Trade (2) — CB Ike Charlton, LB Wali Rainer
Waivers (1) — FB Dan Alexander
Draft Choices (8) — DT John Henderson, OT Mike Pearson, LB Akin Ayodele, QB David Garrard, TE Chris Luzar, DT Clenton Ballard, CB Steve Smith, PK Hayden Epstein
Undrafted Rookies (4) — CB Bruce Branch, QB Quinn Gray, DE Javor Mills, WR Corey Parchman
2002 POSITION ANALYSIS: Here is a position-by-position breakdown of the Jaguars:
Quarterbacks (3) — Mark Brunell returns for his eighth season with the Jaguars and remains one of the top quarterbacks in the NFL. In 2001, he started 15 games and completed 289 of 473 passes for 3,309 yards (numbers that were the third highest of his career) and passed for 19 touchdowns, one short of his career high. The No. 6-ranked passer in NFL history, Brunell is the only quarterback in the league who has ranked among the top 11 in each of the last six seasons. He has a 57-42 record as a starter. The backups are rookies David Garrard and Quinn Gray. Garrard, the team's fourth-round draft choice out of East Carolina, earned the No. 2 job with several fine performances in the preseason. In college, he passed for more than 9,000 yards and 60 touchdowns while starting all four seasons, and he also ran for 21 scores. Gray is an undrafted rookie out of Florida A&M. Gone: Jonathan Quinn
Running Backs (7) — Fred Taylor is back and 100 percent after missing the final 14 games of last season with a torn groin muscle. In 2000, Taylor missed the first three games of the season with a knee injury, then went on to rush for 1,399 yards and score 14 touchdowns, including a streak of nine consecutive 100-yard rushing games that tied for the third-longest streak in NFL history. He is the Jaguars' all-time leading rusher. There is plenty of depth behind him. While Taylor was out last season, Stacey Mack took over and rushed for 877 yards and 10 touchdowns, totals that are the fourth highest in franchise history. Mack has started 13 games in three seasons since coming out of Temple as an undrafted rookie in 1999. Another rookie free agent, Elvis Joseph, was a surprise in 2001. As a rookie, he was the team's third-down specialist most of the year, rushing for 294 yards and catching 18 passes. He also returned a kickoff for a touchdown. The starting fullback is Patrick Washington, another rookie free agent who returns for his second season. Washington opened six games and was the lead blocker all of 2001. Former Denver Bronco Detron Smith is one of the league's best special teams players. Dan Alexander was claimed off waivers from the Tennessee Titans on August 29. Gone: No one
Wide Receivers (9) — Jimmy Smith is a holdout and missed the entire preseason. When he returns, even at 33 he remains one of the finest receivers in the NFL. Since 1996, he has been the NFL's most prolific receiver, with the most receptions (562) and the most yards (7,972) — numbers that are second to only Jerry Rice in any six-year span in NFL history. Smith, who has been voted to the last five Pro Bowls, has six straight 1,000-yard seasons and in the past three years has caught 116, 91 and 112 passes. Behind Smith are veterans Darnay Scott, Bobby Shaw and Patrick Johnson. Scott, who was signed on July 23, caught 386 passes for 5,975 yards and 36 touchdowns during his eight years with the Bengals. He is one of the NFL's best deep threats, averaging 15.5 yards per catch over his career. Shaw is a possession receiver who plays out of the slot. He caught 92 passes for 1,468 yards (15.9 average) in four years in Pittsburgh. Johnson is the fastest of the group, a second-round draft choice of the Ravens in 1998 who has 59 career receptions for 898 yards (15.5 average) and seven TDs. One of the three will start opposite Smith, but all four will play in multiple-receiver formations. Vying for a backup role are Damon Gibson (the team's punt returner), first-year pro Henry Douglas, Jimmy Redmond (who starred in the NFL Europe League in the spring) and Jacksonville native Micah Ross. Gone: Sean Dawkins, Keenan McCardell
Tight Ends (5) — Kyle Brady has developed into one of the league's best all-around tight ends in his three seasons with the Jaguars, during which time he caught 132 passes for 1,461 yards and six touchdowns. He is also one of the best blocking tight ends and a key to the team's passing game. Back after a three-year absence is Pete Mitchell, who remains the Jaguars' third-leading all-time receiver (166 receptions for 1,845 yards and nine TDs). Following three years with the Giants and Lions, Mitchell will back up Brady but will also play a role as a possession receiver and as an H-back. Rookie fourth-round pick Chris Luzar is the tight end of the future. At 6-7, 265-pounds he complements Brady well, and he is a fine pass receiver who could see ample playing time as a rookie. Joe Zelenka is the team's long snapper. Gone: Ryan Prince
Offensive Line (14) — Tony Boselli is gone, but the additions include five veterans and one high draft choice, in addition to several returnees, making for fierce competition in training camp. The right side of the line is set, with former Saints No. 1 pick Chris Naeole at right guard, and Jaguars 2001 No. 2 pick Maurice Williams at right tackle. The No. 1 center is John Wade, who started 18 straight games in 1999 and 2000 before losing his job because of a foot injury. He is healthy again. The left guard is Brad Meester, who has started 32 straight games since being drafted in the second round in 2000. The starting left tackle will be veteran Zach Wiegert, who beat out second-round draft choice Mike Pearson. Wiegert has started 82 games in seven NFL seasons, though never at left tackle. Pearson, a three-year starter at Florida, is a skilled pass blocker was briefly sidelined by a sprained ankle. There is quality depth in Raleigh Roundtree (who started 41 games the last four years in San Diego), Daryl Terrell (who started 10 games for the Saints a year ago), and Todd Fordham, who started 20 games for the Jaguars the last two seasons. All three players can play both guard and tackle, and Fordham is also the backup center. Gone: Tony Boselli, Aaron Koch (I.R.), Jeff Smith
Defensive Line (12) — With three players who started all 16 games a year ago having departed, the defensive front will be the most revamped position on the team. The lone returning starter is Tony Brackens, the all-time leading sacker in Jaguars history. He spent most of the preseason rehabbing a January knee arthroscopy but did play in the preseason finale. In 2001, Brackens made 11 sacks in the final 12 games. The new left end will be 10-year veteran Marco Coleman, a skilled pass rusher with 56.5 career sacks. A Pro Bowler just two years ago when he notched 12 sacks with Washington, Coleman is being counted upon for veteran leadership as well. The starting tackles will be Marcus Stroud and fourth-year pro Larry Smith. Stroud did not make any starts as a rookie in 2001, but he played in all 16 games and came on late in the season, while Smith is a second-round pick from 1999. The top reserve and a starter in the future is John Henderson, the Jaguars' first-round draft pick. Henderson, the highest-drafted defensive lineman ever by the Jaguars (No. 9), was the 2000 Outland Trophy winner at Tennessee and the second defensive tackle selected in 2002. The backups at end will be Paul Spicer, Rob Meier and five-year veteran Stalin Colinet. At tackles, sixth-round draft choice Clenton Ballard could be a reserve. Gone: Seth Payne, Gary Walker, Renaldo Wynn
Linebackers (9) — The only returning starter is T.J. Slaughter at weakside linebacker, but he will be out the first month of the season with a dislocated shoulder suffered in the third preseason game. Slaughter has started 15 games in two seasons at both weakside and in the middle. Eric Westmoreland will start at the weakside in place of Slaughter, and he was also a linebacker in the nickel defense. Former Cleveland Brown Wali Rainer was obtained in a Draft Day trade and is the new starting middle linebacker. He has 44 starts in three NFL seasons, making 436 tackles. The new starter at strongside linebacker is Danny Clark, who has been the Jaguars' top special teams player since being drafted in the seventh round in 2000. Clark started three games late last season and shows lots of promise. Another rookie who will see plenty of action is Akin Ayodele, a third-round draft pick this year out of Purdue who is making the transition from collegiate defensive end to pro linebacker. Ayodele impressed in the preseason and sees action in third down packages both as a linebacker and defensive end. Again, there is a lot of depth. Backup MLB Joe Tuipala made a team-high 20 tackles on special teams a year ago, and reserve WLB Edward Thomas started four games in 2001 and is also a stellar special teams player. Gone: Donny Green, Kevin Hardy, Hardy Nickerson, Jeff Posey, Joe Wesley
Defensive Backs (13) — Hard-hitting Donovin Darius will start at strong safety for the fifth straight season. He has led the team's secondary in tackles each of his four years, and he has started all 57 games in which he has played. Darius was a Pro Bowl alternate in 2001. Second-year pro Marlon McCree is the starter at free safety after beating out Ainsley Battles. Each player started 11 games last season. McCree was a seventh-round draft pick a year ago who was converted from college linebacker and quickly earned a starting role. Battles was a waiver pickup from the Steelers prior to the 2001 opener who has a knack for forcing turnovers (he also scored a TD last year). He will be McCree's backup. Backing up Darius is James Boyd, a third-round draft pick in 2001. The starting left cornerback will be Fernando Bryant for the fourth straight year. Bryant was named to every All-Rookie team in 1999 and specializes in man coverage. He missed six games with a foot injury in 2001. The new starter at right cornerback will be Jason Craft, who replaces the departed Aaron Beasley. Craft, who started eight games last season and was the team's nickel back for the other eight, has never missed a game in three seasons. He's the fastest defensive back on the squad. The nickel back will be third-year pro Kiwaukee Thomas, while the dime role will be either Boyd, trade acquisition Ike Charlton (a second-round pick of the Seahawks in 2000) or rookie Steve Smith, a seventh-round pick this year. Gone: Aaron Beasley
Kickers (2) — For the first time in franchise history, Mike Hollis is not the placekicker. The only kicker on the roster is Hayden Epstein, a seventh-round draft pick. At Michigan, Epstein was a candidate for the Lou Groza Award (nation's top placekicker) as both a junior and senior. He scored 163 points in college, hitting 26 of 42 field goal attempts. Returning for his second season as the punter is Chris Hanson, who joined the team midway through last year's training camp and was a big surprise. In his first full NFL season, Hanson ranked sixth in the NFL with a 43.6 gross average and fourth with a 37.1 net average. He also holds for placekicks. Joe Zelenka will handle the short and long snapping duties. Gone: Mike Hollis, Jaret Holmes