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Friday, August 14, 1998, 8:00 p.m. EDT
ALLTEL Stadium, Jacksonville, Fla.

THIS WEEK: The Jacksonville Jaguars will play their first home game of the 1998 preseason when they host the New York Giants at 8:00 EDT Friday at ALLTEL Stadium. The Jaguars are coming off a 30-27 loss to the Carolina Panthers in their preseason opener last Saturday in Charlotte, N.C. The Giants defeated the Cincinnati Bengals 24-17 in their preseason opener. The game will mark the third straight year the two teams have met in the preseason.

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 Giants went 10-5-1 and won the NFC Eastern Division before losing in the NFC Wild-Card game to Minnesota.

TELEVISION BROADCAST: The game will be televised locally by WTLV Channel 12. Dan Hicken will call the play-by-play and Mike 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.

TICKET INFORMATION: The game is sold out.

THE OPPONENT: The Giants are the fourth-oldest team in the NFL, having played their first game in 1925. They have won two Super Bowls (1986 and 1990) and four NFL championships, and they played in the NFL title game 11 other times. In 1997, Jim Fassel's first season as head coach, the Giants finished 10-5-1, winning the NFC East for the first time since 1990 and becoming the 15th team in NFL history to finish in first place a year after finishing in last place. They went 7-0-1 in the division, the first time a team ever went undefeated in NFL East play.

THE SERIES: The Jaguars and Giants have played once in the regular season, with Jacksonville holding a 1-0 edge, and twice in preseason, with both teams having one victory.

THE LAST TIME: The Jaguars defeated the Giants 40-13 on September 6, 1997 behind then-third-string quarterback Steve Matthews, as they set franchise records for most points scored in a game and margin of victory. Matthews completed 23 of 35 passes for 252 yards in making the first start of his career. Natrone Means and James Stewart each rushed for two touchdowns, and Mike Hollis kicked four field goals in four attempts, as the Jaguars scored 20 points in the second quarter and 17 in the fourth. Jimmy Smith had his second straight 100-yard receiving game, and Keenan McCardell and Stewart had four catches apiece. The Jaguars held the Giants to 206 yards on offense - 53 of them on New York's final drive. The Giants had just 13 first downs, 39 rushing yards and converted only 2 of 13 third-down opportunities.

In last year's preseason, the Jaguars beat the Giants 38-16 at Giants Stadium. Rob Johnson took over for an injured Mark Brunell midway through the second quarter and led the Jaguars to three touchdowns in four possessions. Johnson completed 5 of 7 passes for 170 yards and two TDs, before giving way to Todd Philcox and Lance Funderburk, who each led touchdown-scoring drives in the fourth quarter.

A JAGUARS VICTORY OVER THE GIANTS WOULD: Even their preseason record at 1-1 and be their seventh victory in their last eight preseason games dating back to 1996. It would also give them a 2-1 lead in preseason games against the Giants.

INJURY UPDATE: Eight players missed last week's trip to Carolina: WR Kevin Lee (hamstring), RB Chris Parker (knee), LB Tom McManus (knee), C Michael Cheever (hip pointer and back), DT Don Davey (knee), DT Kelvin Pritchett (hyperextended elbow), LB Bryce Paup (groin)) and DE Joel Smeenge (hamstring). Their status will be updated during the week. OL Jeff Novak (leg contusion) is doubtful for Friday's game.

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.

New York's Jim Fassel made a grand debut in 1997, leading the Giants to a 10-5-1 record as they became the first NFC Eastern Division champion to go undefeated in the division. Fassel spent one season as offensive coordinator of the Arizona Cardinals in 1996, following a year with the Oakland Raiders, serving as quarterbacks coach. Fassel made his return to Giants Stadium, where he was quarterbacks coach (1991) and offensive coordinator (1992) for the Giants. He spent two seasons as the assistant head coach/offensive coordinator for Denver (1993-94). Under Fassel's tutoring, John Elway garnered the NFL most-valuable-player honors and set a Broncos' record with 4,030 passing yards in 1993. He also had groomed Elway at Stanford, where Fassel was the offensive coordinator (1979-1983). Fassel was offensive coordinator for the New Orleans Breakers of the USFL (1984). He is 10-5-1 in regular season and 0-1 in the playoffs.

JACKSONVILLE-NEW YORK GIANTS CONNECTIONS: Jaguars head coach Tom Coughlin was the Giants' receivers coach from 1988 to '90, and tight ends coach Fred Hoaglin was the Giants' offensive line coach from 1985 to '92 … The Jaguars have two players from the state of New York: DT Seth Payne (Victor and Cornell) and OT Pierre Brillant (Garnerville) … Jaguars assistant special teams coach Joe Baker was born in Glen Ridge, N.J., raised in Hamilton, N.Y. and graduated from Princeton … Jaguars wide receivers coach Pete Carmichael was born in Plainfield, N.J. and attended North Plainfield High … Offensive line coach Mike Maser was born in Clayton, N.Y … Strength and conditioning coach Jerry Palmieri was born in Englewood, N.J … Jaguars S Donovin Darius was born in Camden, N.J. and played at Syracuse with Jaguars RB and Jacksonville native Malcolm Thomas … The Giants have four players from the state of Florida: DE Chad Bratzke (Brandon), WR Eddie Goines (Lakeland), DT Robert Harris (Riviera Beach), QB Danny Kanell (Florida State and Ft. Lauderdale) … Giants LB Jessie Armstead played college football at the University of Miami with Jaguars OT Leon Searcy … Jaguars special teams coach Larry Pasquale was born in Brooklyn, N.Y … The Boston College connection runs deep, as Giants G Ron Stone played with Jaguars LB Tom McManus and TE Pete Mitchell under Jaguars head coach Tom Coughlin … Giants WR Ike Hilliard and Jaguars RB Fred Taylor were teammates on Florida's 1996 national championship team … Jaguars OT Tony Boselli and LB Jeff Kopp were teammates of Giants CB Jason Sehorn at Southern California … Giants QB Danny Kanell was protected by Jaguars G Todd Fordham at Florida State … Jaguars RB James Stewart, Giants LB Scott Gaylon and CB Jeremy Lincoln were all teammates at Tennessee … Jaguars OT Jason Baker played together with Giants C Mark Lamb at the University of Montana … Giants OT Jerry Reynolds and Jaguars WR Keenan McCardell played together at Nevada-Las Vegas in 1990 … Jaguars DT Winfield Garnett played with Giants DE Jimmie Bell and LB Marcel Willis at Ohio State … Jaguars TE Mark Thomas and WR Alvis Whitted played with Giants WR Eddie Goines and DE George Williams at North Carolina State … Jaguars S Chris Hudson, CB Deon Figures and Giants C Bryan Stoltenberg were teammates at the University of Colorodo … Jaguars QB Jamie Martin used to throw to Giants TE Al Pupunu at Weber State … Jaguars PK Mike Hollis played with Giants LB Ryan Phillips at the University of Idaho … Jaguars OT Pierre Brillant played with Giants S Sam Garnes at Cincinnati … Jaguars WR Reggie Swinton used to catch balls from Giants QB Mike Cherry at Murray State … Jaguars WR Damon Dunn played with Giants FB Greg Comella at Stanford … Giants defensive backs coach Johnnie Lynn was linebackers coach at Arizona and tutored Jaguars LB Brant Boyer (TE Rich Griffith was also on the squad at Arizona).

TRAINING CAMP SCHEDULE: The Jaguars are in their third and last full week of training camp. Practice times this week are as follows: Monday - 10:00 a.m. and 3:20 p.m.; Tuesday - 8:40 a.m. and 3:20 p.m.; Wednesday - 8:40 a.m. and 3:20 p.m.; Thursday - closed walk-through at stadium. Player interviews are from 11:15 to 12:15 Monday through Wednesday at the Radisson Riverwalk Hotel; there will be no media availability on Thursday. 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 travel to Kansas City to play the Chiefs at 8:00 p.m. EDT Saturday, August 22 at Arrowhead Stadium. It will be the first preseason meeting between the two teams; they have played once in the regular season, with Jacksonville winning 24-10 on November 9, 1997.

LAST WEEK: The Jaguars lost their 1998 preseason opener 30-27 to the Carolina Panthers in Charlotte N.C., when John Kasay kicked a 30-yard field with four seconds left in the game. The Jaguars played their starters in the first quarter and jumped out to a 7-0 lead with Mark Brunell at quarterback, and then they played their backups most of the remainder of the game. After allowing Carolina to score on five straight possessions and take a 19-10 lead in the first half, the Jaguars fought back to tie the game 27-27 with 1:51 to play before allowing the Panthers the drive for the winning field goal.

NOTES FROM THE PANTHERS GAME: All 77 Jaguars players who made the trip saw playing time, whereas the Panthers did not play five players who suited up. … Eight Jaguars did not make the trip: WR Kevin Lee (hamstring), RB Chris Parker (knee), LB Tom McManus (knee), C Michael Cheever (hip pointer and back), DT Don Davey (knee), DT Kelvin Pritchett (hyperextended elbow), LB Bryce Paup (groin) and DE Joel Smeenge (hamstring). … The Jaguars had two turnovers and no takeaways. … The Jaguars were outgained by the Panthers (413 yards to 311) and had less time of possession (28:56 to 31:04) and fewer first downs (21 to 23). … The Jaguars were just 4 of 11 on third downs, while the Panthers converted 7 of 17 (and 1 of 1 on fourth down). … Mark Brunell completed 2 of 3 passes for 28 yards, including a 13-yard TD pass to Keenan McCardell, while playing the first two series. … Backup Steve Matthews was 3 of 9 for 30 yards and one interception while leading the Jaguars to a field goal in four series. Jamie Martin completed all 6 of his passes for 84 yards and led the team to a field goal and a touchdown in two series. Rookie Jonathan Quinn, in his first NFL game, completed 4 of 7 passes for 61 yards, including a 36-yard TD pass to Alvin Whitted. Quinn played in two series and also threw a "Hail Mary" pass on the game's final play. … First-round pick Fred Taylor led the team in rushing with 38 yards on 10 carries in his first action as a pro. James Stewart started and rushed 6 times for 31 yards. … Four players caught two passes apiece (Malcolm Thomas, Jermain Ross, Reggie Barlow and Reggie Swinton), and seven others caught one pass each. … Bryan Barker punted four times for a 48.8-yard average and a long of 59, and Mike Hollis kicked two field goals in two attempts and three extra points. … The Jaguars made two sacks, by Jeff Lageman and Jeff Kopp. … MLB Bryan Schwartz led the team with nine tackles (five solo), and DT Seth Payne, LB Brant Boyer and LB James Hamilton had eight tackles each. … Jaguars captains were OT Tony Boselli, RB James Stewart, DE Jeff Lageman and DT John Jurkovic.

FROM COACH TOM COUGHLIN ON THE PANTHERS GAME: "There were a lot of good things. We played a lot of people. We made a lot of mistakes, had some penalties and some turnovers in the first half. They resulted in six points, which wound up being the margin of victory. It was a very good football game, but one I felt we could win. I think we can be a more physical football team. I think our tackling was sloppy, we didn't take real good care of the ball, and we were a little bit ragged on special teams. We came back strong but just couldn't hold the lead. We do have some things to look at on the bright side, but it is unfortunate to lose, especially on penalties.

(on the quarterbacking) "I was really pleased with Jamie Martin. I thought he played well and controlled the situation well. He kept his poise in the huddle. I thought Jonathan Quinn played well at the end of the game. He put us back in the game. He showed poise in the two-minute offense. He had control of the huddle, and pretty good tempo at the line of scrimmage. He recognized the protections and pointed them out. So I was pleased with his play. It was a very positive situation to see those two players. I thought Mark (Brunell) played well in the beginning, he stuck the touchdown pass in to Keenan on a very accurate throw, so I am encouraged by that without a doubt.

(on the running game) "I was relatively pleased throughout the whole game. I thought we did some things well. I thought Malcolm Thomas had some outstanding runs in the third quarter.

(on the defense) "We did stop the run; their average per carry was not high. But, once again, we gave up a lot of yardage in the air and our coverage wasn't as well executed as I would have liked to have seen. But it is the first game, and obviously I would have liked to have won the game. There are some good things, but there are some things to be corrected.

(on reaching the team's objectives going into the game) "We definitely reached our goal, except for the win. We played a lot of people; everybody got a chance to play. We played a number of people on special teams. From the standpoint of looking at personnel, we got many, many opportunities to do so."

FROM QB MARK BRUNELL: "I think we are coming together as an offense and we did some good things. We ran the ball well and had some nice passes. Jimmy (Smith) had a nice catch. Keenan (McCardell) made a great catch for the touchdown. It's early, we will look at the film and evaluate it from there. There is still a lot of work we need to do, but it is a good starting point."

FROM G BEN COLEMAN: "We didn't win; that is probably the biggest difference between this year and last year's preseason game (against Carolina). But, as far as emotion, we wanted to get after them and we just did not play as well as we wanted to and we didn't get into a groove. From the offensive line standpoint, the young guys got in there, they fought hard and played well. I was excited to see them get in there and mix it up.

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:

1996 1997

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

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