THIS WEEK: The Jacksonville Jaguars are looking for their first victory of the season when they travel to Indianapolis to face the Colts at 1:00 p.m. Sunday at the RCA Dome. The Jaguars are 0-2 this season after losses to Carolina and Buffalo — two of the eight undefeated teams in the NFL. The Colts are another one of those 2-0 teams, with victories over Cleveland and Tennessee.
The game is the first of two straight road games against AFC South Division rivals for the Jaguars, who are trying to end a four-game losing streak dating back to last season.
JAGUARS ON THE AIR THIS WEEK:
Monday — Jaguars Reporters, 6:00 p.m., WOKV Radio, with Brian Sexton, Vic Ketchman
Monday — The Jack Del Rio Show, 7:30 p.m., WTEV Ch. 47
Tuesday — The Jack Del Rio Show, 6:00 p.m., WOKV Radio
Wednesday — Jaguars This Week, 6:00 p.m., WOKV Radio
Thursday — THE Jaguars Show, 10:30 p.m., WAWS Ch. 30
Saturday — Jaguars Weekend, 7:30 p.m., WTEV Ch. 47
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 in 2001. Tony Dungy was hired as head coach in 2002 and led the Colts to a 10-6 record and a Wild-Card berth in the playoffs. This season, they are 2-0 and in first place in the AFC South.
THE SERIES: The Jaguars and Colts have played four times, with Indianapolis winning all four games. It is the biggest edge in any series involving the Jaguars. 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. Last season, the Colts swept the series, winning the season opener 28-25 in Jacksonville and the season finale 20-13 in Indianapolis.
THE LAST TIME: The Jaguars lost their season finale 20-13 to the Indianapolis Colts in the RCA Dome on December 29, 2002 and finished their eighth season with a 6-10 record. Rookie David Garrard replaced an injured Mark Brunell and became the eighth player to start a game at quarterback for the Jaguars. He led the Jaguars to a 13-10 lead early in the fourth quarter before the Colts scored the final 10 points to win. On Jacksonville's final drive, Garrard led the Jaguars to the Indianapolis 38-yard line, but the game ended with an incomplete Hail Mary pass in the end zone. Garrard completed 13 of 26 passes for 135 yards and ran for 44 yards. Fred Taylor rushed for 73 yards and scored the Jaguars' lone touchdown, and Danny Boyd kicked two field goals, as the Jaguars lost their season finale for the third straight year. The Jaguars' defense held Colts All-Pro WR Marvin Harrison to a season-low 28 yards on six receptions, and Peyton Manning threw for only 146 yards on 28 passes. Once again, penalties and mistakes doomed the Jaguars. A roughing the punter penalty on Elvis Joseph led to the Colts' first score in the final period, and personal fouls on John Henderson and Akin Ayodele preceded Indianapolis' winning touchdown.
A JAGUARS VICTORY OVER THE COLTS WOULD: Snap a four-game losing streak dating back to last season and give them a 1-2 record in 2003 and their first victory under new head coach Jack Del Rio. It would also give them a 1-4 mark in the series with the Colts.
INJURY UPDATE: Injured in the Buffalo game were: LB Keith Mitchell (neck), WR/KR Jermaine Lewis (knee) and CB Kiwaukee Thomas (groin). Missing the game because of injuries were: DB James Trapp (ankle) and WR Micah Ross (ankle). The status of all injured players will be updated on Wednesday.
THE COACHES: Jack Del Rio was named Jaguars head coach on January 17, 2003, becoming the second head coach in Jaguars' history. At 40, Del Rio is the second youngest head coach in the NFL (four months older than Jon Gruden). Del Rio spent 11 years as an NFL linebacker and had a standout college career at the University of Southern California. He previously coached in New Orleans (1997-98), Baltimore (1999-2001), and Carolina (2002). He was the Panthers' defensive coordinator, and in his only season with the club the defense improved from 31st in the NFL to second, the biggest one season defensive improvement in NFL history. Del Rio was the linebackers coach for three seasons in Baltimore, where the Ravens' defense also ranked second each season. He helped the team win Super Bowl XXXV over the New York Giants and coached the Ravens' talented linebackers, overseeing the development of Peter Boulware, Jamie Sharper and Ray Lewis, the NFL's Defensive Player of the Year in 2000 and the MVP of Super Bowl XXXV. Prior to coaching, Del Rio played 11 seasons in the NFL, with New Orleans (1985-86), Kansas City (1987-88), Dallas (1989-1991) and Minnesota (1992-95), playing in the Pro Bowl following the 1994 season. Del Rio was a starter at linebacker for Southern California (1981-84), where he earned All-America honors, was a runner-up for the Lombardi Award and co-MVP of the 1985 Rose Bowl. Del Rio has learned from some of the best coaches in all of football. He was recruited to USC and played for John Robinson, and in the NFL he played under Bum Phillips, Jim Mora, Jimmy Johnson and Dennis Green. As an assistant coach, he has worked for Hall of Famer Mike Ditka and Super Bowl winner Brian Billick, as well as John Fox. Drafted by baseball's Toronto Blue Jays, Del Rio batted .340 while playing catcher on USC's baseball team in 1983 and 1984 with future stars Randy Johnson and Mark McGwire. He was a third-round choice by the New Orleans Saints in 1985 and was named to the NFL's All-Rookie team.
In his first season as the Colts' head coach, Tony Dungy directed the club to a 10-6 record, his fourth career double-digit victory total and a four-game improvement from the Colts' 2001 record. 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, earning Coach of the Year honors in 1997. Dungy was Minnesota's defensive coordinator from 1992 to '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. Dungy 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 the Japan Bowl. He signed with the Steelers as a free agent and played safety for two seasons (1977-78), totaling nine interceptions in 30 games, including six 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: The two head coaches are close friends, with Jack Del Rio having played for Tony Dungy when the latter was the Minnesota Vikings defensive coordinator from 1992 to '95. … The only former Jaguar on the Colts is FB Detron Smith, who spent the 2002 training camp with the team. … The only former Colt on the Jaguars is MLB Mike Peterson (1999-2002). … Colts assistants who coached for the Vikings while Del Rio played for Minnesota are TE coach Chris Foerster and DL coach John Teerlinck. … Colts special teams coach Russ Purnell coached special teams at Southern California while Del Rio played there from 1981 to '84. Purnell also coached Jaguars WR/KR Jermaine Lewis with the Baltimore Ravens from 1999 to '01. … Indianapolis' OL coach Howard Mudd held the same position with the Kansas City Chiefs while Del Rio was a Chief (1989-91). … Two Colts have ties to the state of Florida: RB Edgerrin James (Immokalee, University of Miami) and DE Chad Bratzke (Brandon). … Two Jaguars have ties to the state of Indiana: DE Paul Spicer (Indianapolis, Northwest High School) and LB Akin Ayodele (Purdue) … Players who were college teammates include: Jaguars LB Danny Clark and Colts WR Aaron Moorehead at Illinois; Jaguars QB Byron Leftwich and P Chris Hanson with Colts G Steve Sciullo at Marshall … Jaguars LB Keith Mitchell and Colts RB Teron Smith at Texas A&M … Jaguars DT Matt Leonard and Colts RB Brian Allen at Stanford … Jaguars OT Maurice Williams and Colts DT Josh Williams at Michigan … Jaguars LS/TEJoe Zelenka played for Colts QB coach Jim Caldwell at Wake Forest.
JAGUARS VS. COLTS: Here are the accumulated statistics for players in the Jaguars-Colts series:
Jaguars QB Mark Brunell – 3 games (0-3 record); 69 of 111 for 769 yards, 7 TDs, 4 INTs; 12 rushes for 73 yards; 1 300-yard game
Jaguars RB Fred Taylor – 3 games; 53 carries for 213 yards, 1 TD; 5 receptions for 49 yards
Colts QB Peyton Manning – 3 games; 62 of 95 for 797 yards, 8 TDs, 0 INTs
Colts RB Edgerrin James – 3 games; 63 carries for 274 yards, 1 TD, 8 receptions for 109 yards
Colts WR Marvin Harrison – 3 games; 12 catches for 165 yards, 2 TDs
LAST WEEK: The Jaguars lost their home opener 38-17 to the Buffalo Bills, suffering their biggest loss ever at ALLTEL Stadium. Buffalo jumped out to a 14-0 first-quarter lead behind quarterback Drew Bledsoe, who passed for 314 yards, and running back Travis Henry, who ran for three touchdowns. Following Henry's two first-quarter scores, the Jaguars closed the gap to 14-7 early in the second quarter on Mark Brunell's one-yard plunge. But Buffalo struck right back with a 54-yard TD pass from Bledsoe to former Jaguar Bobby Shaw. In the third quarter, Seth Marler kicked a 44-yard field goal to make the score 21-10. The Bills then scored 17 straight points for a 38-10 lead. Jaguars first-round draft choice Byron Leftwich played the last series and led the Jaguars on a 90-yard drive, culminating with his first NFL touchdown pass of five yards to George Wrighster. The 38 points allowed was the most by the Jaguars since September 25, 2000 when Indianapolis scored 43.
NOTES FROM THE BILLS GAME: The Jaguars are 0-2 for the first time since their inaugural season of 1995. … The Jaguars and Bills each had 20 first downs. … Neither team had a turnover, leaving the Jaguars at plus-one for the season. … The Jaguars converted 4 of 14 third downs (29 percent), while the Bills were 8 of 14 (57 percent). … The Bills outgained the Jaguars 371 to 287 yards and controlled the ball for 31:10 to the Jaguars' 28:50. … The Jaguars held the Bills to 43 yards rushing, the fewest for an opponent since 12/23/01 at Minnesota. … QB Mark Brunell completed 19 of 32 passes for 122 yards and a 67.4 passer rating. Byron Leftwich was 7 of 8 for 92 yards and one TD for a passer rating of 154.2. … RB Fred Taylor rushed for 71 yards on 14 carries (5.1 average). … Taylor tied for the team lead with five receptions (for 10 yards) along with TE Kyle Brady (42 yards) and FB Marc Edwards (35 yards). … Chris Hanson punted four times for a 44.3-yard average, with no touchbacks, one inside the 20, and a long of 47. He had three kicks returned for 38 yards and a net average of 34.8. … The Jaguars had no sacks and allowed three sacks. … MLB Mike Peterson led the team with 13 tackles (eight solo), followed by SS Donovin Darius and SLB Danny Clark with eight tackles each. … Every player saw action. The inactive players were: DB James Trapp, FB Malaefou MacKenzie, OT/G Sammy Williams, OT Marques Ogden, WR Micah Ross, DT Matt Leonard, DE Brandon Green and QB David Garrard (third QB). … Jaguars captains were: QB Mark Brunell, OT Maurice Williams, S Donovin Darius and LB Danny Clark.
FROM COACH JACK DEL RIO ON THE BILLS GAME: "We went up against a very good football team and they were the better team today. My hat's off to the Bills and Drew Bledsoe. We didn't do enough to get him out of rhythm. The bottom line is, the opponent we had, the challenge we had in front of us, we did not step up and get it done. They came out and took the upper-hand right away. I know we were ready to play, and I didn't feel there was ever a lack of playing hard. It just wasn't good enough. They did basically what they do. Last week we talked about run defense and how it's a team game. I know that a cornerback's best friend is a sack. When you're not getting any, the kind of pressure that can help out, the corners are going to have to do a little better. It's a team game. We weren't strong enough against the pass today. We were physical against their run game. But when you force a team to pass, you have to be able to execute and get a team off the field. We were not able to do that."
(on good points of the game) "There were, but I'd rather not spend too much time talking about good things out of a loss. I'd rather go to work tomorrow and make the corrections and continue to get better. The run defense was outstanding. They had 32 rushes for 43 yards. You can win with that kind of run defense."
(on the future) "We will continue to get better as a football team, and we're looking forward to the next challenge, which is two divisional opponents on the road, so we have plenty of work ahead of us. We'll make the corrections. We have a 24-hour rule and win or lose we attack these problems and move on. Every week, all year, we will do what we think is the best for us as a football team to be competitive every week."
(on the special taems) "I thought we did well on special teams. It wasn't suffocating like we want it to be and like it will be someday but it was an improvement over what we saw last week. There's no doubt about that. We have a lot of young guys who are working hard."
(on Byron Leftwich's performance) "It was good to see, but we're not going to get carried away by what happened late in the game when it's been decided already."
FROM QB MARK BRUNELL: (on the difference between last week and this week on offense) "I think it was a number of things. The passing efficiency wasn't there. The running game was better. We played a pretty good defense. We had some opportunities and didn't capitalize on them. I think we have a good offense, but we just didn't execute the way we needed to today. What made me unhappy was the production by the offense."
(on Byron Leftwich playing the final drive) "There's no reaction. They told me on the sideline and that was it. The game was over. Bill (Musgrave) came and said we're going to give the kid the rest of it and that was it."
(on missed opportunities) "Against a team like Buffalo, you don't get that many chances, so if you don't capitalize on those opportunities you lose games. We had five chances where we could have kept the drive going or get a touchdown and that's just the way it is. There's a lot of football to be played and I think we'll look at the film and make the corrections and move on."
(was the game a step back from last week?) "I think it was a step back. The passing game wasn't as sharp as it needed to be. Fortunately it's early, I think guys' attitudes are going to be great. We'll still work hard and keep believing."
**NEXT WEEK: The Jaguars will travel to Houston to face the Texans at 1:00 p.m. EDT Sunday, September 28 at Reliant Stadium. It will be the third game between the two teams. In 2002, the Texans' first season, the two teams split the two-game series. Houston won the first game 21-19 at Jacksonville on October 27, and the Jaguars won the rematch 24-21 three weeks later in Houston. This year, the Texans are 1-1 after defeating the Miami Dolphins in the opener and losing last week 31-10 to the New Orleans Saints. They are coached by Dom Capers, who was the Jaguars' defensive coordinator in 1999 and 2000.
DOUGLAS IS EIGHTH-LEADING ACTIVE SACKER: Jaguars DE Hugh Douglas ranks eighth among active players in sacks.
LEWIS APPROACHING PUNT RETURNS RECORDS: Jermaine Lewis signed with the Jaguars in the offseason as a veteran free agent and is the team's primary punt and kickoff returner. A veteran of seven NFL seasons with Baltimore, Houston and Jacksonville, he is approaching several NFL records.
- Has led the NFL in punt returns two times (1997, 2000), one short of the NFL record shared by Speedy Duncan and Rick Upchurch
- Has 3,055 career punt return yards, 546 yards short of third place on the NFL's all-time list
- Has six touchdowns on punt returns, two shy of tying for third place on the NFL's all-time list
- Ranks seventh among active players with an 11.3-yard average on punt returns
TAKEAWAYS/GIVEAWAYS 1993-2003: In the last 11 years, the Jaguars have the third-best takeaway/giveaway difference in the NFL, a plus-35 total (they have played only nine seasons).
JAGUARS HAVE BALANCED OFFENSE: In the last six seasons, the Jaguars have rushed for 10,084 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), and they are one of only three teams to have rushed for 2,000 yards in four of the last five years.
And, over the past seven seasons, the Jaguars have the seventh-most passing yards in the NFL.
JAGUARS SCORE ON THE GROUND … In the last seven seasons, the Jaguars have rushed for 109 touchdowns, tied for the most in the NFL.
… AND STOP THEIR OPPONENTS: In the last seven seasons, the Jaguars have allowed only 82 rushing TDs, the NFL's fourth-best mark.
TAYLOR HAS SEVENTH-MOST TOUCHDOWNS LAST FIVE YEARS: Despite missing 24 full games and parts of nine others, Jaguars RB Fred Taylor is tied with the seventh-most touchdowns over the last six seasons among active players.
BRUNELL HAS 11TH-BEST WINNING PERCENTAGE: Jaguars QB Mark Brunell has the 11th-best career winning percentage of active quarterbacks (minimum 20 wins). Brunell also owns the NFL's third-best record in divisional games (37-21, .638), and in the last eight seasons, he has the most victories of any quarterback other than Green Bay's Brett Favre.
BRUNELL'S TOUCHDOWN TARGETS: Mark Brunell has thrown 144 TD passes in nine seasons with the Jaguars. Here are the 24 players who have caught them: Jimmy Smith (44), Keenan McCardell (26), Damon Jones (11), Willie Jackson (10), Kyle Brady (9), Pete Mitchell (9), James Stewart (5), Fred Taylor (4), Ernest Givins (3), Cedric Tillman (3), Alvis Whitted (3), Andre Rison (2), Elvis Joseph (2), Patrick Johnson (2), Kevin Lockett (2), Derek Brown (1), Ty Hallock (1), Desmond Howard (1), Natrone Means (1), R. Jay Soward (1), Stacey Mack (1), Bobby Shaw (1), Matthew Hatchette (1) and Jermaine Lewis (1).
JAGUARS AMONG THE LEAGUE LEADERS: The Jaguars rank 19th in the NFL in total offense (21st rushing, 12th passing), and they are 17th in defense (12th rushing and 23rd passing). They have allowed 62 points, the second-highest total in the AFC. … The offense is tied for sixth in the AFC with 37 first downs and is tied for 13th in the conference in third-down percentage (8 of 27, 29.6 percent). The defense is 12th in allowing 37 first downs and 14th in the AFC in opponent's third-down conversions (12 of 28, 42.9 percent). … The Jaguars are plus-1 on the turnover table, tied for eighth in the AFC. … The Jaguars are tied for first in the AFC with a 100.0 percent rate on scoring touchdowns inside the red zone (3 of 3). Defensively, the Jaguars are 13th in the AFC with opponents scoring touchdowns on 83.3 percent of red zone opportunities (5 of 6). … QB Mark Brunell is second in the AFC in passing with a 100.5 passer rating. He leads the NFL with a 71.2 completion percentage. … PK Seth Marler is tied for 12th in the AFC with 10 points (4 of 4 PATS, 2 of 4 FGAs). … RB Fred Taylor ranks sixth in the AFC with 142 rushing yards and is tied for 12th in the AFC with 10 receptions. He ranks 12th in the conference with 203 yards from scrimmage. … Chris Hanson is fourth in the AFC with a 45.8 gross punting average, but he ranks 15th with a 30.3 net average. … Jermaine Lewis is ninth in the AFC with a 9.0 average on punt returns. … LaBrandon Toefield is fourth in the AFC with a 27.3 average on kickoff returns, while Lewis is 18th with an 18.5 average. … DE Tony Brackens is tied for third in the AFC with two sacks.
STATS AND SUCH: There are 25 new players on the Jaguars' roster: eight of the nine draft choices (QB Byron Leftwich, DB Rashean Mathis, G Vince Manuwai, TE George Wrighster, RB LaBrandon Toefield, DE Brandon Green, OT Marques Ogden, FB Malaefou MacKenzie), four unrestricted free agents (DE Hugh Douglas, FB Marc Edwards, LB Keith Mitchell, LB Mike Peterson), eight veteran free agents (DE Lionel Barnes, RB Chris Fuamatu-Ma'afala, WR Matthew Hatchette, WR/KR Jermaine Lewis, G Jamar Nesbit, WR J.J. Stokes, CB James Trapp, OT/G Sammy Williams), three undrafted rookies (WR Cortez Hankton, DT Matt Leonard, PK Seth Marler), one trade acquisition (S Anthony Mitchell) and one waiver pickup (CB Brad Franklin). … The Jaguars have started the same lineup in both games so far.
The Jaguars have had two plays of 30 or more yards in 2003. They had only 16 plays of 30-plus yards in 2002, 11 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 three 30-plus plays this season… Of the Jaguars' 49 completed passes, 21 have been to wide receivers, 9 to tight ends and 19 to running backs. … The Jaguars are 3 for 4 on fourth-down conversions; their opponents are 2 for 3. … On three drives inside the opponent's 20, the Jaguars have scored three touchdowns. Their opponents have had six trips inside the red zone and have come away with five touchdowns and one field goal. … Jaguars opponents have begun two possessions inside their own 20 and scored on one of those drives (TD), while the Jaguars have begun four possessions inside their own 20 and scored on one of those drives (TD). … In nine seasons, the Jaguars are 17 for 27 on two-point conversions (0 for 1 in 2003), while their opponents are 7 for 25 (0 for 2 in 2003). … In nine seasons, the Jaguars have a winning record in every month except October (they are .500 in January). They are 1-0 in August, 16-15 in September, 13-19 in October, 19-12 in November, 18-15 in December and 1-1 in January. … In 2003, the Jaguars have outscored their opponents in the second quarter (21-7), and have been outscored in the first quarter (0-14), third quarter (6-21) and fourth quarter (13-20).
Mark Brunell is 63-53 in 116 regular-season starts, 67-57 overall. … WR Jimmy Smith has played in 127 of the 130 games in Jaguars history. Of the current players, next are QB Mark Brunell (119) and DE Tony Brackens (94). … The longest streak of consecutive starts is held by C Brad Meester (50), followed by TE Kyle Brady (48). … Seven players have played in 100 or more games during their careers: CB James Trapp (144), WR Jimmy Smith (134), TE Kyle Brady (126), QB Mark Brunell (121), WR J.J. Stokes (113), DE Hugh Douglas (108) and WR/KR Jermaine Lewis (102). … Brady leads with 120 career starts, followed by Brunell (116) and Smith (106). **