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It's a matter of style


It is the formula by which they must win games. It is their style: strong defense, superior special teams, advantageous field position and, most importantly, no turnovers.

The combination of those virtues allowed the Jaguars a 7-6 win over a Broncos team that gained twice as many yards and nearly three times as many first downs. The Broncos had the ball more than 14 minutes longer than the Jaguars.

Folks, your Jaguars were roughed up by a Broncos team that moved the ball up and down the field. If you convert points into yards, the Broncos moved the ball nearly 60 yards for every point they scored; only 25 yards for the Jaguars.

Tell that to Mike Shanahan. It'll surely ease the pain of Quentin Griffin's lost fumble as the Broncos were jockeying the ball into position for a game-winning field goal by Jason Elam.

Don't turn it over. Don't ever turn it over, Shanahan will tell you.

Jack Del Rio wants to have an offense the equal of Shanahan's. Del Rio says the day will come when that will happen. But the Jaguars aren't there, yet, and until they are, their style must be very conservative.

The Jaguars are 2-0 and alone in first place in the AFC South. Life couldn't be better for this young team, yet, the immediate questions Del Rio faced in his postgame press conference were focused on his floundering offense. You'd think they were 0-2.

"When other people are functioning at a higher end around him, it's really going to look good," Del Rio said of quarterback Byron Leftwich and the offense. "He's doing the things we need him to do to be good. When other people are functioning better around him, then he'll get too much credit. I anticipate we'll be singing his praises shortly."

It's what this town, this team's fan base needs most of all. It cries, it begs for more offense. It can't live without points. It craves yards. First downs sustain life. At times you can't help but get the feeling a 31-30 loss would be preferable to a 7-6 win.

Gimme a break. Nothing beats winning. It's what coaches are hired to do. Win, baby, just win. And the Jaguars are going just that.

Yeah, they've been real lucky, and at some point in time that'll wear out and they'll have to win the old-fashioned way. But, even then, even when their offense is playing at a level high enough to be trusted with the ball, this team will never get too far away from the style of football that has carried it to two wins in it first two games of this season. Del Rio talks of wanting an explosive offense, but his base personality will never allow this team to get too far from the style of football in which he firmly believes: strong defense, good kicking game, no turnovers.

"Clearly, there's work to do. We're not converting third downs enough to continue to feed Fred (Taylor) the ball," Del Rio said. "We have done enough to win. Today, defense and special teams carried the day."

A lot of teams have won that way. It was clearly the way the Patriots won their first Super Bowl title in 2001. Baltimore did it that way in 2000. Frankly, for all of the league's efforts to legislate in favor of offense, it's the teams that embrace defense that win titles.

So, if you're one of those who must have lots of yards and lots of points, this may not be your team. Not now, it isn't, and you may choose one of a few different paths.

• Find a new favorite team; one that lights it up on offense. Indianapolis and Kansas City would be good choices.

• Be patient and trust in what Del Rio has said, that the offense will eventually develop into something more to your liking.

• Continue to moan and groan, criticize and complain, in the face of winning.

How many teams would trade their yards for the Jaguars' wins?

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