Ericsson Stadium, Charlotte, N.C.
THIS WEEK: The Jacksonville Jaguars begin their fourth season when they travel to Charlotte, N.C. to face their expansion brethren, the Carolina Panthers, on Saturday in the preseason opener for both teams. Kickoff is at 7:30 p.m. EDT at Ericsson Stadium.
Last season the Jaguars finished 11-5 and became the NFL's only expansion team to make the playoffs twice in their first three seasons. They qualified for the playoffs as a Wild-Card team (losing the AFC Central Division championship to Pittsburgh on the fifth tiebreaker), but lost to the eventual Super Bowl champion Denver Broncos in a Wild-Card playoff game. The Panthers went 7-9 and finished in a tie for second place in the NFC Western Division.
The Jaguars' coaching staff will get its first opportunity to evaluate their new players, including first-round draft choices Fred Taylor and Donovin Darius and free-agent acquisition Bryce Paup. Altogether, the Jaguars enter the game with 33 new players - 11 draft picks, 13 undrafted rookies, six veterans and three new first-year players.
TELEVISION BROADCAST: The game will be televised locally by WTLV Channel 12. Dan Hicken will make his debut by calling the play-by-play, and Bob Golic will add analysis.
RADIO BROADCAST: All of the Jaguars' games are broadcast on WOKV (690 AM), WBWL (600 AM) and WKQL (96.9 FM) and the Jaguars Radio Network. Brian Sexton will call the play-by-play and former NFL quarterback Matt Robinson will add analysis. Sexton and Robinson are in their fourth season together. Robinson, Jennifer Kumik, Vic Ketchman, and Cole Pepper handle the pre-game show, and Pepper and ex-Oakland Raider Pete Banaszak do the post-game show. A total of 21 affiliates in four states on the Jaguars Radio Network will also broadcast the game.
THE OPPONENT: The Panthers were named the NFL's 29th team on October 26, 1995 - five weeks before the Jaguars were born. The Panthers went 7-9 in their first season, setting a record for most victories by an NFL expansion team, and they were 12-4 in '96, becoming the first second-year franchise to win a division. In that season, Carolina allowed the second-fewest points in the NFL (218) behind the Super Bowl champion Green Bay Packers, winning their final seven regular-season games and sending seven players to the Pro Bowl. Last season, Carolina slipped to 7-9, finishing in a tie for second place in the NFC West.
THE SERIES: The Jaguars and Panthers have played only one time during the regular season, with Jacksonville winning 24-14 at home on September 29, 1996. The two teams have played twice in the preseason, with Carolina taking the 1995 Hall of Fame game in Canton, Ohio by a score of 20-14 (it marked the first game ever for the two expansion teams), and the Jaguars winning last year's preseason contest 23-9.
THE LAST TIME: The Jaguars won their 1997 preseason opener by defeating the Carolina Panthers 23-9 at ALLTEL Stadium. Jacksonville held the Panthers without a touchdown, allowing only three John Kasay field goals, which were matched by the Jaguars' Mike Hollis. Jacksonville also scored two touchdowns on short plunges by Natrone Means and James Stewart. Mark Brunell played the first quarter and completed 6 of 8 passes for 60 yards in leading both touchdown drives. The Jaguars, utilizing a blitzing defense, sacked Panthers quarterbacks seven times and held Carolina to 184 yards total offense.
In the only regular-season meeting between the two teams, the Jaguars won the "Expansion Bowl" on September 29, 1996, defeating the Panthers 24-14. The Jaguars rushed for a team-record 179 yards and set another franchise mark by holding the Panthers to only 57 yards on the ground. James Stewart gained 96 yards on 21 carries, and Mark Brunell and Natrone Means rushed for 56 and 27 yards respectively. Stewart also rushed for two touchdowns for the first time in his career. The Jaguars sacked Panthers quarterback Steve Beuerlein five times in the game, with Tony Brackens getting his first two sacks as a pro. Brackens also forced and recovered two fumbles.
A JAGUARS VICTORY OVER THE PANTHERS WOULD: Give the Jaguars their seventh straight preseason victory, dating back to August 18, 1996. In three seasons, the Jaguars are 8-5 in the preseason. In 1997, they were one of only four NFL teams to go unbeaten in the preseason.
INJURY UPDATE: Several players have missed practices during training camp in recent days: defensive tackle Kelvin Pritchett (hyperextended elbow), center Michael Cheever (hip pointer and back), linebacker Tom McManus (knee), defensive tackle Jose White (hamstring), RB Chris Parker (knee), CB Deon Figures (ankle) and TE Damon Jones (back).
THE COACHES: Jacksonville head coach Tom Coughlin has led the Jaguars to the playoffs each of the last two seasons, a first for an NFL expansion team. In 1997, the Jaguars finished 11-5 and lost the AFC Central Division championship on the fifth tiebreaker to Pittsburgh. The Jaguars 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 the regular season in second place 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, Coughlin's Jaguars finished with four victories in their inaugural season. He became head coach of the Jaguars on February 21, 1994 following three successful seasons as head coach at Boston College. Coughlin compiled a record of 21-13-1 from 1991 to '93 at Boston College, and had two appearances in bowl games and a ranking of 13th in the final AP poll of 1993. A veteran of 27 years of 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). He has a record of 24-24 during the regular season and 2-2 in the postseason.
The Panthers' Dom Capers is entering his fourth season as head coach in Carolina. Last season, the Panthers finished second in the NFC Western Division with a 7-9 record. In only his second season as coach, Capers led Carolina to the NFC Western Division title and within one victory of the Super Bowl, losing at Green Bay in the NFC Championship Game. Carolina allowed just 56 second-half points all season, and beat the Super Bowl XXX champion Cowboys in an NFC Divisional Playoff Game. In his debut season, Capers directed the Panthers to the best record (7-9) in NFL history for an expansion team. Capers was defensive coordinator of the Pittsburgh Steelers from 1992-94. Taking over a defense that ranked twenty-second in the NFL in 1991, Capers improved Pittsburgh's ranking each season, and finished second in 1994. He coached defensive backs for the New Orleans Saints (1986-1991). Capers was defensive backs coach for the Philadelphia/Baltimore Stars (1984-85), who won the USFL title both seasons. He has a record of 26-22 in the regular season and 1-1 in the postseason.
JACKSONVILLE-CAROLINA CONNECTIONS: The Carolina Panthers have one former Jaguar on their roster: QB Steve Beuerlein, who started six games for Jacksonville in 1995, including the team's inaugural game … The Jaguars have one former Panther: DT Ed Philion, who spent 10 games with the Panthers in 1996 and played in three preseason games in 1997 … The Jaguars have four players from the state of North Carolina: DT James Clyburn (Winston Salem and North Carolina A&T), LB James Hamilton (Hamlet and North Carolina, where he was a teammate of Panthers FB Mike Dulaney and LB Eddie Mason), TE Mark Thomas (Smithfield and North Carolina State) and WR Alvis Whitted (Durham and North Carolina State) ... The Panthers have six players from the state of Florida: LB Micheal Barrow (Homestead and University of Miami), P Lonny Calicchio (Plantation), FB William Floyd (St. Petersburg and Florida State), LB Percell Gaskins (Daytona Beach; also played with Jaguars C Quentin Neujahr at Kansas State), RB Marquette Smith (Lake Howell and Central Florida), T David Sutton (High Springs) and WR Jim Turner (Jacksonville; was a teammate of Jaguars RB Malcolm Thomas at Syracuse) … Panthers QB Shane Matthews (University of Florida) also played college football in Florida … Jaguars OT Leon Searcy and CB Deon Figures were teammates of Panthers WR Dwight Stone, LB Kevin Greene and LB Greg Lloyd in Pittsburgh at the time Panthers head coach Don Capers was the defensive coordinator (1992-94) … Panthers LB Lamar Lathon was a Houston Oilers teammate of Jaguars LB Eddie Robinson (1992-94) … Jaguars QB Mark Brunell, LB Bryce Paup, DT Don Davey, DT John Jurkovic and Panthers CB Doug Evans were all teammates at Green Bay … Jaguars DT Kelvin Pritchett was a college teammate of Panthers TE Wesley Walls at Mississippi … Jaguars TE Pete Mitchell and LB Tom McManus were teammates of Panthers NT Tim Morabito at Boston College, where they were coached by Jaguars head coach Tom Coughlin … Jaguars OT Tony Boselli and LB Jeff Kopp were teammates of Panthers OT Norberto Davidds-Garrido at Southern California … Jaguars DE Tony Brackens, S Tre Thomas and Panthers OT Blake Brockermeyer played together at Texas … Jaguars G Brian DeMarco and DE Jabbar Threats were teammates of Panthers FB Scott Greene and WR Muhsin Muhammad at Michigan State … Jaguars TE Rich Griffith played with Panthers WR Michael Bates at Arizona ... Panthers S Corbin Lacina played with Jaguars LB Bryce Paup in Buffalo and was a college teammate of LB Bryan Schwartz at Augustana (S.D.) … Jaguars S Travis Davis and Panthers WR Raghib Ismail and CB Rod Smith were teammates at Notre Dame … Jaguars FB Jason Lawson and Panthers G Matthew Campbell played together at South Carolina … Jaguars FB Kevin McLeod and Panthers QB Dameyune Craig were teammates at Auburn … Jaguars RB James Stewart, CB Dave Thomas and Panthers G/OT Bernard Dafney played together at Tennessee … Jaguars C John Wade and Panthers G/T Jamie Wilson were teammates at Marshall.
TRAINING CAMP SCHEDULE: The Jaguars are in their second full week of training camp. Practice times this week are as follows: Tuesday - 8:40 a.m. and 3:20 p.m.; Wednesday - 8:40 a.m.; Thursday - 8:40 a.m. and 3:20 p.m.; Friday - walk-through at stadium and travel to Carolina. Player interviews are from 11:15 to 12:15 each day at the Radisson Riverwalk Hotel. Practices are being held at the Ferrell Practice Fields adjacent to ALLTEL Stadium. Check with the Jaguars' Communications Office (633-6000) for the daily practice schedule and to schedule interviews.
NEXT WEEK: The Jaguars will host the New York Giants in their preseason home opener at 8:00 p.m. Friday, August 14 at ALLTEL Stadium. It will be the third preseason meeting between the two teams, with each club having one victory.
FROM COACH TOM COUGHLIN: The Jaguars play their first preseason game Saturday at the Carolina Panthers, but Coughlin said the emphasis this week will be on training camp. "We don't prepare for the first preseason game. We have our training camp schedule and objectives. We will introduce a little in the last two practices, but basically for the first preseason game we utilize what we've prepared in camp. It's basic. The major objective is putting the personnel in situations where they have to perform and not making it very complicated."
NEW FACES: Here's a quick look at the Jaguars' six new veteran players who are on the 1998 training camp roster:
LB Bryce Paup - The only unrestricted free agent signed by the Jaguars in the offseason, Paup will start at strongside linebacker, moving Kevin Hardy to the weakside. A nine-year veteran, Paup has played in the last four Pro Bowls and has 65.5 career sacks, ranking 37th in NFL history.
C Quentin Neujahr - Signed as a restricted free agent from the Baltimore Ravens, Neujahr has seen plenty of action in training camp because of Michael Cheever's hip pointer. A four-year veteran, Neujahr can also snap for placekicks and play guard.
WR Kevin Lee - A three-year veteran who has played for New England and San Francisco, Lee is competing for a backup job at wide receiver. He had eight catches for 107 yards in 1995 with the Patriots.
QB Jamie Martin - Martin has played in the NFL since 1993, when he signed with the Los Angeles Rams as an undrafted rookie. He played in six games in 1996, completing 23 of 34 passes for 241 yards, 3 TDs and 2 interceptions. He spent last season with St. Louis and Washington and now is fighting for a backup job with the Jaguars.
DT Ed Philion - A three-year veteran who was cut by the Carolina Panthers in the 1997 training camp, Philion is competing for a role at defensive tackle. He played for Buffalo in 1994 and '95 and with Carolina in '96.
WR Jermaine Ross - Another three-year veteran, Ross has 19 receptions for 233 yards and one TD since signing with the Los Angeles Rams in 1994. He spent all of 1995 on injured reserve. Ross is looking to fill a backup role at wide receiver.
A LOOK BACK AT THE 1997 SEASON: The Jaguars set a number of team firsts in 1997, their third season. Here's a recap:
- Won a team-record 11 regular-season games
- Became the NFL's first expansion team to qualify for the playoffs twice in its first three seasons
- Finished six games over .500 in the regular season for the first time in team history (11-5, .688)
- Finished with the same record as AFC Central Division champion Pittsburgh for the first time ever (losing the division title on the fifth tiebreaker)
- Won seven of eight games at home for the second straight year
- Increased their winning streak at home to 13 consecutive games before losing the home finale
- Went 4-4 on the road for the first time ever
- Became one of only seven NFL teams to make the playoffs each of the last two seasons.
- Evened the franchise's three-year record in the regular season at 24-24.
- Improved their mark to 7-4 in December over three seasons
- Sent five players to the Pro Bowl (starters OT Tony Boselli, PK Mike Hollis and P Bryan Barker, and backups QB Mark Brunell and WR Jimmy Smith).
- OT Tony Boselli and P Bryan Barker became the first Jaguars to be named to Associated Press' All-Pro team
1997 STATISTICAL MILESTONES: The 1997 Jaguars set numerous statistical records. Here's a quick look at the most significant numbers:
* Scored a team-record 394 points * Allowed only 318 points, a team record * Sacked opposing quarterbacks 48 times, a team record * RB Natrone Means rushed for a team-record 823 yards * QB Mark Brunell's passer rating of 91.2 led the AFC and set a team record * WRs Jimmy Smith and Keenan McCardell became only the eighth receiving tandem in NFL history to have back-to-back 1,000-yard receiving seasons. Smith set a single-season team record with 1,324 receiving yards, and McCardell tied his team record of 85 receptions in a season. * CB Deon Figures had a team-record five interceptions * PK Mike Hollis led the NFL in scoring with a team-record 134 points, including a team-record 31 field goals
THE TEAL IS REAL . . .Since November 24, 1996, when the Jaguars began their run to the '96 playoffs, their record is the third best in the NFL. The Jaguars have won 16 of their last 21 regular-season games. Here's a look at the league's best records since November 24, 1996:
Team Reg. Season Reg. Season Total
Green Bay Packers 5-0 13-3 18-3
San Francisco 49ers 4-1 13-3 17-4
Jacksonville Jaguars 5-0 11-5 16-5
Denver Broncos 3-2 12-4 15-6
Kansas City Chiefs 1-4 13-3 14-7
New England Patriots 4-1 10-6 14-7
Pittsburgh Steelers 2-3 11-5 13-8
Tampa Bay Buccaneers 3-2 10-6 13-8
. . . WITH THE THIRD-BEST RECORD AT HOME . . .The Jaguars have gone 7-1 at ALLTEL Stadium each of the last two seasons, which is tied for the third-best record at home in 1996 and '97. The Jaguars' 13-game home winning streak was snapped on December 7, 1997 when they were defeated by the New England Patriots. That was their first home loss since September 10, 1996, when they lost to the Houston Oilers. The Jaguars are 14-2 at home in the last two years and have won 15 of their last 17 home games dating back to December 24, 1995, in their inaugural season. Here are the best home records in the NFL in 1996 and '97:
Rk. Team 1996 1997 Total
- Green Bay Packers 8-0 8-0 16-0
Denver Broncos 8-0 8-0 16-0
- Jacksonville Jaguars 7-1 7-1 14-2
Pittsburgh Steelers 7-1 7-1 14-2
- San Francisco 49ers 6-2 8-0 14-2
- Kansas City Chiefs 5-3 8-0 13-3
New England Patriots 6-2 6-2 12-4
. . . AND FOURTH-BEST RECORD ON THE ROAD . . . The Jaguars are one of only six NFL teams with a better than .500 record on the road (including postseason) dating back to November 24, 1996. The Jaguars' 8-6 record away from home during that time is the fourth-best mark in the NFL, and their eight victories is tied with the San Francisco 49ers for the most road wins in that time. Here are the only teams in the league with a better-than-.500 record on the road since November 24, 1996:
Team W-L-T Pct.
Green Bay Packers 7-3 .700
San Francisco 49ers 8-4 .667
Carolina Panthers 7-4 .636
Jacksonville Jaguars 8-6 .571
New York Giants 5-4-1 .550
Kansas City Chiefs 6-5 .545
THE FIRST FOUR SEASONS: Here's how NFL expansion teams fared in their first four seasons:
Team 1ST SEASON 2ND SEASON 3RD SEASON 4TH SEASON
Dallas 1960 0-11-1 1961 4-9-1 1962 5-8-1 1963 4-10
Minnesota 1961 3-11 1962 2-12-1 1963 5-8-1 1964 8-5-1
Atlanta 1966 3-11 1967 1-12-1 1968 2-12 1969 6-8
Miami 1966 3-11 1967 4-10 1968 5-8-1 1969 3-10-1
New Orleans 1967 3-11 1968 4-9-1 1969 5-9 1970 2-11-1
Cincinnati 1968 3-11 1969 4-9-1 1970 8-7 1971 4-10
Seattle 1976 2-12 1977 5-9 1978 9-7 1979 9-7
Tampa Bay 1976 0-14 1977 2-12 1978 5-11 1979 11-7
Jacksonville 1995 4-12 1996 11-8 1997 11-6 1998 ?
Carolina 1995 7-9 1996 13-5 1997 7-9 1998 ?
Records include postseason games. The only expansion teams to make the playoffs in their first four seasons are Jacksonville (1996 and '97), Carolina (1996), Cincinnati (1970) and Tampa Bay (1979).
WHERE ARE THEY NOW? Below is a list of players who went to the Jaguars' inaugural training camp in 1995 who are now with other teams:
Player Position 1998 team
Steve Beuerlein QB Carolina Panthers
Derek Brown TE Oakland Raiders
Hillary Butler LB Denver Broncos
Ryan Christopherson FB Denver Broncos
Reggie Clark LB Kansas City Chiefs
Mike Dumas S San Diego Chargers
Paul Frase DT Green Bay Packers
Desmond Howard WR Oakland Raiders
Greg Huntington C Chicago Bears
Rob Johnson QB Buffalo Bills
Randy Jordan RB Oakland Raiders
Ernie Logan DE New York Jets
Curtis Marsh WR Pittsburgh Steelers
Le'Shai Maston FB Washington Redskins
Tom Myslinski G Indianapolis Colts
Marcus Price OG San Diego Chargers
Mike Thompson DT Cincinnati Bengals
Mickey Washington CB New Orleans Saints
Dave Widell C Atlanta Falcons
Bruce Wilkerson OT Green Bay Packers
James Williams LB San Francisco 49ers
WHERE THEY'RE FROM: The 85 players on the Jaguars' 1998 training camp roster were born in 29 different states and the District of Columbia, as well as three foreign countries. California leads the way with nine players on the Jaguars.
Here's where the 1998 Jaguars were born: 9 - California; 7 - Virginia; 6 - Illinois; 5 - Florida, Ohio, Texas; 4 - Georgia; 3 - Alabama, Michigan, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Washington D.C.; 2 - Arkansas, Colorado, Indiana, Iowa; 1 - Connecticut, Idaho, Louisiana, Minnesota, Mississippi, Nebraska, Nevada, New Jersey, South Carolina, South Dakota, Utah, Vermont.
Three Jaguars were born in foreign countries are DT John Jurkovic (West Germany), FB Kevin McLeod (Jamaica) and DT Ed Philion (Ontario, Canada).
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