THIS WEEK: The Jaguars will open the Jack Del Rio era at home at 7:30 p.m. Friday night when they host the Miami Dolphins at ALLTEL Stadium. Jaguars fans have been waiting for this game since January 17, when Del Rio was hired as the second coach in franchise history. He brings a 1-0 record into his first appearance at ALLTEL Stadium, as the Jaguars won their preseason opener last Saturday night 16-14 over the Minnesota Vikings.
The Jacksonville-Miami game reunites Del Rio with Dolphins head coach Dave Wannstedt, who was the defensive coordinator in Dallas when Del Rio played for the Cowboys from 1989 to '91.
Del Rio has quickly made his mark on the Jaguars franchise. He has teamed with new vice president of player personnel James Harris in retooling the team's roster. There are 42 new players on the 86-man roster, and the team could have as many as nine new starters when the regular season begins. The new players include four unrestricted free agents (including stars Hugh Douglas and Mike Peterson), 13 veteran free agents, seven first-year free agents, nine draft choices and nine undrafted rookies.
The Jaguars have a 20-14 record in the preseason in their first nine seasons (they were 1-3 in 2002), and they have won their preseason home opener five of the last six years. The Dolphins are 0-1 this preseason, having lost their opener 20-19 to Tampa Bay last Friday night in Miami.
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
TICKET INFORMATION: Tickets are still available. Fans can call 1-877-4-JAGS-TIX or (904) 633-2000 or buy tickets online at www.jaguars.com
THE OPPONENT: The Miami Dolphins were the first expansion team in the American Football League, beginning play in 1966. Following four losing seasons, the Dolphins hired Don Shula as head coach in 1970 and immediately turned into one of the most successful franchises in the NFL. They reached the playoffs in 1970, then advanced to the Super Bowl in 1971, losing to Baltimore. In 1972, the Dolphins completed the only undefeated season in the history of the NFL, finishing 17-0 after a 14-7 victory over the Washington Redskins in Super Bowl VII. A year later, Miami became only the second team to win back-to-back Super Bowls, as they defeated the Minnesota Vikings 24-7. The Dolphins played in Super Bowls following the 1982 and '84 seasons, then missed the playoffs from 1986 to '89. In the 1990s, they have qualified for the postseason five times, though never advancing past the divisional playoffs. On January 5, 1996, Don Shula retired as the winningest coach in NFL history with an overall record of 347-173-6. He was succeeded by Jimmy Johnson, who had four non-losing seasons and three playoff berths in four years. Dave Wannstedt took over in 2000 and has led the Dolphins to a 31-17 record and two postseason appearances. In 2002, they finished 9-7 and in third place in the AFC East.
THE SERIES: The Jaguars and Dolphins have played once in the regular season, once in the postseason and once in the preseason. In 1995, the Jaguars defeated the Dolphins 24-21 for their first-ever preseason victory. On October 12, 1998, the Jaguars beat the Dolphins 28-21 on "Monday Night Football" at ALLTEL Stadium in the only regular-season matchup. And on January 15, 2000, the Jaguars won 62-7 in the AFC Divisional Playoffs.
THE LAST TIME: The Jaguars scored the second-most points ever in NFL postseason history as they defeated the Miami Dolphins 62-7 in the AFC Divisional Playoffs at ALLTEL Stadium on January 15, 2000. Mark Brunell and Fred Taylor were part of an offensive explosion that accounted for 34 of the 41 points scored in the first half, as the Jaguars had the second-largest margin of victory in an NFL playoff game. Jacksonville scored on each of its first five possessions (four touchdowns, one field goal) and had seven takeaways. Brunell and Taylor left the game in the second quarter, by which time Brunell had thrown for two touchdowns and Taylor had rushed for 135 yards and scored twice. Jimmy Smith also had two TDs and a 100-yard receiving game, and the Jaguars scored their most points ever in one game. The 62 points was the most ever allowed by a Miami team.
A JAGUARS VICTORY OVER THE DOLPHINS WOULD: Give them a 2-0 record in the 2003 preseason and their second win under new head coach Jack Del Rio. It would also give the Jaguars a 21-14 preseason record in nine years and be their third preseason with a 2-0 start (1997, 2000).
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. Dave Wannstedt, in three seasons as the Dolphins' coach, has led the club to a regular-season record of 31-17 and a pair of playoff appearances. He made his debut as the Dolphins' coach in 2000, finishing 11-5 as the club claimed its first AFC East title since 1994. The Dolphins finished 11-5 again in 2001, advancing to the playoffs for the fifth consecutive year. Wannstedt joined the Dolphins in 1999 as assistant head coach to Jimmy Johnson. Prior to coming to Miami, Wannstedt served as head coach of the Chicago Bears (1993-98), leading the team to a 9-7 record in his second season as he was named NFC Coach of the Year. He spent four seasons as defensive coordinator in Dallas, building a defense that propelled the club to three Super Bowl victories. Wannstedt was an offensive lineman and team captain at the University of Pittsburgh (1971-73). As a senior, he played with future Heisman Trophy-winner Tony Dorsett. Wannstedt was selected in the fifteenth round of the 1974 NFL draft by the Green Bay Packers and spent the season on the injured reserve. He began his coaching career as an assistant at Pittsburgh (1975-78). He also served as an assistant at Oklahoma State (1979-1982), Southern California (1983-85), and Miami (1986-88).
JACKSONVILLE-MIAMI CONNECTIONS: Miami head coach Dave Wannstedt was Jack Del Rio's defensive coordinator with the Dallas Cowboys from 1989 to '91, and he was the DL coach at Southern Cal during Del Rio's final two collegiate seasons. … Del Rio spent part of the 1996 preseason with the Dolphins before retiring. … Miami assistant head coach/offensive coordinator Norv Tuner was the QB coach and offensive coordinator at Southern California when Del Rio started for the Trojans in the early 1980s. … Jaguars coach Paul Boudreau held the same position with the Dolphins in 1999 and 2000. … Jaguars DE Marco Coleman was the Dolphins' 12th overall pick in the 1992 draft and started for Miami from 1992 to '95. … Three Dolphins are former Jaguars: QB Jay Fiedler played for the Jaguars in 1999, WR Kendall Newson was a seventh-round pick of the Jaguars in 2002, and OT Mark Bristol spent the 2002 season on the Jaguars' practice squad. … Jaguars LB coach Mike Haluchak coached Dolphins LB Junior Seau to his first Pro Bowl in his rookie year with the San Diego Chargers in 1990. … Two years ago when both players were with the Redskins, Jaguars WR Kevin Lockett threw a 31-yard TD pass to Dolphins WR Derrius Thompson. … Two former Carolina Panthers will go head to head: Jaguars OT Leander Jordan and Dolphins DE Jay Williams. … Jaguars C Brett Romberg played at Miami (Fla.) and won the 2001 national championship with the Hurricanes. … Dolphins LB Bam Hardmon was born in Jacksonville and attended Ed White High School.
TRAINING CAMP SCHEDULE: The Jaguars are in their third full week of training camp. Practice times this week are as follows: Monday — 8:45 a.m. to 11:00 and 3:00 to 4:00 p.m., with Jack Del Rio available after the morning practice and players available from 11:15 to 12:15. Tuesday — 8:45 to 11:00 a.m. and 4:00 to 5:30 p.m., with Del Rio available at 11:00 a.m. and players available from 11:15 to 12:15 p.m. Wednesday — 9:30 to 11:15 and 3:00 to 4:00 p.m., with Del Rio available at 11:15 a.m. and players available from 11:25 to 12:25 p.m. Thursday — 9:00 to 10:45 a.m., with no media interview availability. Practices are held on the new practice fields adjacent to ALLTEL Stadium. Check with the Jaguars' Communications office (633-6000) to schedule interviews.
LAST WEEK: The Jaguars won their preseason opener 16-14 over the Minnesota Vikings in the Metrodome in Jack Del Rio's debut as Jacksonville's new head coach. Rookie Seth Marler kicked a 43-yard field goal — his second three-pointer of the game — early in the fourth quarter, and the Jaguars hung on to defeat Del Rio's former team. The Jaguars scored 13 points in the second quarter — 10 of them in the final minute of the period — and it was only fitting that those 10 came off takeaways, including the team's first touchdown under Del Rio. CB Ike Charlton picked up a fumble and returned it 97 yards for a touchdown. On the ensuing kickoff, the Jaguars recovered another fumble and Danny Boyd kicked a 32-yard field goal on the final play of the first half. Mark Brunell started at quarterback for the Jaguars and completed 10 of 13 passes — five of them to Jimmy Smith, who had 70 yards receiving. The Jaguars marched 85 yards on their first possession, but two false start penalties at the five-yard line forced them to attempt a field goal, and Boyd's first kick of the game was wide right. Brunell played most of the first half, but the team played the game without RB Fred Taylor, DT Marcus Stroud, CB Fernando Bryant and several other players who had minor injuries.
NOTES FROM THE VIKINGS GAME: The win gave the Jaguars a 20-14 record in the preseason in nine years. … They have won their preseason opener four of the last five years. … The Jaguars had fewer first downs (11 to 17), fewer yards (215 to 242) and less time of possession (27:28 to 32:32). They converted only 1 of 10 third downs, while the Vikings were 7 of 14. … The Jaguars had no turnovers and two takeaways. … Mark Brunell completed 10 of 13 passes for 110 yards, 0 TD and 0 INT for a passer rating of 101.4. David Garrard was 3 of 8 for 38 yards, but he quarterbacked the winning drive in the fourth quarter. Quinn Gray was 2 of 2 for 17 yards. … Rookie fourth-rounder LaBrandon Toefield started and led the team with 33 yards on eight carries. … WR Jimmy Smith led the receivers with five catches for 70 yards, including a 37-yarder. … Chris Hanson punted four times for a 47.3-yard average, with no touchbacks, one inside the 20, and a long of 59. He had one kick returned for 11 yards and a net average of 44.5. … The Jaguars registered five sacks, one each by Javor Mills, Lionel Barnes, John Henderson, Larry Smith and Marco Coleman. They allowed three sacks. … Mills led the team with six tackles.
FROM COACH JACK DEL RIO ON THE VIKINGS GAME: "We have a lot of work to do, but I'd much rather do it with a smile on our faces. It's nice to come out of here with a win. I thought there were some good things. Mark Brunell was 10 out of 13 and had a little bit of work. LaBrandon Toefield ran fairly well and had some good vision. I think Mike Peterson was trying to answer to the critics about whether or not he could step up and play the run. He had a nice hit early in the game. There are a lot of things we'll get better at, but for the first game I'm happy with the results."
(on starting the preseason with a victory) "I think a victory is good anytime. Preseason, regular season, postseason, chess, checkers, whatever it is. We'll go home with smiles on our faces tonight. But, obviously, you know it doesn't count and you know you have a lot of work to do, but it's a lot more fun to do it after a win."
(on Mark Brunell) "Mark looked sharp. We're happy. He comes out and goes 10 out of 13 and effectively leads the team up and down the field. If it weren't for a couple of mistakes where we hurt ourselves, we'd have gotten more production out of him, but I was pleased with the effort."
(on LaBrandon Toefield) "He continues to look good. He has good vision and he runs with his pads down. I think he has a good opportunity here and it looks like he wants to make the most of it."
(on Jimmy Smith) "Jimmy looked good. Jimmy and Mark have been looking good. The guys who have been out at camp have seen that and so it's nice to see it carry over. We're happy with that."
(on the pass rush) "I thought the rush was pretty good. We ended up with five sacks. If we get five sacks every week, we'll be pretty happy."
(on how he'll remember the game in the future) "Maybe because it was against Mike Tice and I was going back home where I did played, but there are a lot bigger things we're after instead of a preseason win. But like I said, winning is good."
FROM WR JIMMY SMITH: "It's preseason. I'm happy I was able to get out and make a couple of plays in this new offense. I like the way that Bill Musgrave is calling the plays. He has a good mix of run and pass, and with all the pieces of the puzzle together, I think we're going to be a very effective offense. It just felt good to get back out there and catch some balls; it's been a whole year. It's like we were picking up where we left off. We just have to get adjusted to this new offense. It's happening pretty quick. I think when Fred Taylor comes back I think we'll be an effective offense."
(on the victory) "A win's a win. It doesn't count. Even though coaches are looking at different situations and players and how they respond in situations, to get a win at the end of a game is gratifying."
(on how much work remains) "We still have a long way to go. We still have a lot of catching up to do. We're not there yet. We have some tough opponents coming up in the preseason. That'll be a good test for us."
FROM QB MARK BRUNELL: "It was a good start for us to get the win and get that feeling. We did some good things. There are some things we need to work on, but it's a start for us. I felt comfortable. I was really hoping coming into this game to get something to Jimmy Smith down the field and we were able to do that. All in all, I felt pretty good about tonight so again, it's a start."
(on the first drive, 85 yards but no score) "It was encouraging. Unfortunately it doesn't matter if you take it 80 yards but if you get no points out of it, it's all for nothing. We got the ball down the field, but when you get down in the red zone, you have to find a way to get it in. If nothing else, at least get a field goal out of it, but we weren't able to do that."
(on the win) "It's great. It's good for Jack. There are a lot of guys who are congratulating him on his first win. While it's a preseason game, it's still a win for him and it's tough to play here. It probably had some meaning to it, so it was good."
NEXT WEEK: The Jaguars will travel to Tampa Bay to face the Super Bowl champion Buccaneers at 8:00 p.m. Saturday, August 23 at Raymond James Stadium. It will be the second preseason meeting between the two teams. The two teams played in Jacksonville in 2002, with Tampa Bay winning 20-0. They have also met twice in the regular season, with the Buccaneers winning 17-16 in 1995 at old Tampa Stadium and the Jaguars winning 29-24 in 1998 at ALLTEL Stadium. The Buccaneers and Jaguars will also play during the regular season in Jacksonville on November 30, the 10th anniversary of when the Jaguars' franchise was awarded.
NEW FACES: There are 42 new faces among the 86 players on the Jaguars' current training camp roster. Here is the breakdown.
Unrestricted Free Agents (4) — DE Hugh Douglas, FB Marc Edwards, LB Keith Mitchell, LB Mike Peterson
Veteran Free Agents (13) — DE Lionel Barnes, S Johndale Carty, OT Barry Hall, WR Matthew Hatchette, WR Donald Hayes, OT Jay Humphrey, WR-KR Jermaine Lewis, DT Reggie McGrew, G Jamar Nesbit, WR J.J. Stokes, CB James Trapp, PK James Tuthill, OT Sammy Williams
First-Year Free Agents (7) — RB David Allen, TE Matt Cercone, QB Quinn Gray, WR Kerry Hood, S Abdual Howard, CB Jason Olford, S Rick Sherrod
Draft Choices (9) — QB Byron Leftwich, DB Rashean Mathis, G Vince Manuwai, TE George Wrighster, RB LaBrandon Toefield, DE Brandon Green, S David Young, OT Marques Ogden, FB Malaefou MacKenzie
Undrafted Rookies (9) — CB Chris D. Brown, CB Chris L. Brown, WR Cortez Hankton, DT Matt Leonard, PK Seth Marler, LB Curtis Randall, C Brett Romberg, WR Kevin Simmonds, RB Joe Smith
2003 POSITION ANALYSIS: Here is a position-by-position breakdown of the Jaguars:
Quarterbacks (4) — Mark Brunell returns for his ninth season as the only quarterback in NFL history to lead his team in passing for the franchise's first eight seasons. In 2002, Brunell started 15 games and passed for 2,788 yards and 17 touchdowns. He remains the team's starter and is still one of the most consistent quarterbacks in the league. Byron Leftwich was selected with the seventh overall pick in the draft and is the team's quarterback of the future. A strong pocket passer, he set numerous records in his college career at Marshall, where he developed a reputation as a leader who plays through injuries. He amassed 11,903 yards passing and 89 touchdowns vs. only 28 interceptions. Leftwich has been a contract holdout so far in training camp. David Garrard, a fourth-round pick in 2002 who started the season finale, has looked impressive so far in training camp. He and Leftwich will compete for the No. 2 job behind Brunell. Quinn Gray returned from a strong NFLEL season to compete for a backup role. Gone: Kent Graham.
Running Backs (8) — Fred Taylor started all 16 games in 2002 for the first time in his career. He rushed for 1,314 yards and caught 49 passes, scoring eight touchdowns. Now two years removed from a groin injury that sidelined him for 14 games in 2001, Taylor remains one of the most dangerous runners in football. He figures to be utilized more as a receiver in the West Coast-style offense. With Stacey Mack having departed as a free agent, several players are competing for the backup job. The two favorites are third-year pro Elvis Joseph and fourth-round draft choice LaBrandon Toefield. Joseph did not carry the ball from scrimmage in 2002, but he did rush for 294 yards on 68 carries as an undrafted rookie in 2001. Toefield was a three-year starter at Louisiana State whose career was sidetracked by injuries, although he did rush for 2,149 yards and score 26 TDs. He gives the Jaguars a back with inside running abilities. The new starting fullback is Marc Edwards, a six-year veteran who won a Super Bowl with New England two years ago. Edwards is a sturdy blocker and fine receiver out of the backfield. Seventh-round draft pick Malaefou MacKenzie scored seven touchdowns on receptions last season at Southern California. David Allen, who starred this spring in the NFL Europe League (leading in all-purpose yards), could figure into the mix at running back and as a kick returner. Gone: Stacey Mack, Patrick Washington
Wide Receivers (11) — Jimmy Smith is back for his 11th NFL season and remains one of the NFL's top receivers. Although he caught only 80 passes in 2002, he surpassed 1,000 yards receiving for the seventh consecutive year, a feat accomplished by only four other players in NFL history. The job opposite Smith is up for grabs. The favorites are J.J. Stokes, Donald Hayes and Matthew Hatchette. Stokes, a No. 1 pick of the San Francisco 49ers in 1995, has career totals of 327 receptions for 4,139 yards and 30 touchdowns. He is tall and rangy with good hands and has been working with the No. 1 offense in training camp. Hayes posted solid numbers in Carolina in 2000 and 2001 (118 catches for 1,523 yards and five TDs) but struggled last season in New England as a prize free-agent signee. Kevin Lockett is vying for playing time and a possible role as the No. 3 or 4 receiver. Lockett joined the Jaguars midway through last season and caught two TD passes. Micah Ross and Jimmy Redmond are excellent special teams players. Jermaine Lewis was signed mainly as a kick returner. He has returned six punts for touchdowns in seven seasons (he led the league twice) and is also a fine kickoff returner (1,039 yards in 2001). Gone: Bobby Shaw, Patrick Johnson
Tight Ends (5) — Kyle Brady is one of the NFL's best tight ends. In his four seasons with the Jaguars, Brady has caught 175 passes, ranking fifth among NFL tight ends in that time. He is also a fine blocker in the running game, helping the Jaguars surpass 2,000 yards rushing three times in his four years. The backup role is uncertain. In the running are fourth-round draft choice George Wrighster (who played in the West Coast offense at Oregon) and 2002 fourth-rounder Chris Luzar (who played for offensive coordinator Bill Musgrave at Virginia in 2001). Joe Zelenka is one of the league's best long snappers. Gone: Pete Mitchell
Offensive Line (15) — The offensive line figures to be improved over 2002, when it was hit hard by injuries. The right side of the line is set with guard Chris Naeole and tackle Maurice Williams. Naeole is the top player on the line and a potential Pro Bowler. Williams missed 11 games with a broken leg in 2002 but has developed into one of the AFC's top young tackles. Moving to center after three years and 48 consecutive starts at left guard is Brad Meester, who last manned the pivot in college at Northern Iowa. Back in familiar territory, Meester gives the line a smart and durable leader. Battling at left guard are former Panther Jamar Nesbit and third-round draft pick Vince Manuwai. Nesbit has started 45 games in the last three years, while Manuwai was a steal in the draft and one of college football's top pass protectors in 2002. This is one of the best battles of the preseason. The incumbent left tackle, Mike Pearson, who started 11 games as a second-round pick in 2002, is battling with Leander Jordan, another former Panther. The two players will both get strong looks before a starter is named. Competing for backup roles are ex-Raven and Charger OT Sammy Williams and G/OT Daryl Terrell. Gone: Derrick Chambers (I.R.), Todd Fordham, Aaron Koch (I.R.), John Wade, Zach Wiegert, Chris Ziemann (I.R.),
Defensive Line (15) — The defensive line should be a team strong point. Free-agent acquisition Hugh Douglas joined the team in March and has proven to be one of the NFL's top sackers over the last eight seasons. He ranks eighth among active players with 73.5 sacks (including 12.5 in 2002). Douglas will start at right end. At left end is 11-year veteran Marco Coleman, who has 61.5 sacks and 20 forced fumbles. Coleman joined the team a year ago and started all 16 games. The interior line is huge, with 6-foot-6 Marcus Stroud poised to have a breakout season and 6-foot-7 John Henderson ready to improve upon a fine rookie season. Stroud and Henderson were the Jaguars' first-round draft picks each of the last two seasons. Each player had 6.5 sacks in 2002. Jaguars career sack leader Tony Brackens is returning from microfracture knee surgery and a June appendectomy and could begin running this week. If he can make his way back into the lineup, he will give the team an excellent rotation at end. Paul Spicer and Lionel Barnes are reserve ends. The backups in the middle are fifth-year pro Larry Smith and former Florida Gator and 49ers No. 1 pick Reggie McGrew. Rookie DE Brandon Green (sixth round) has a non-stop motor and is pushing for playing time. Gone: No one
Linebackers (9) — Mike Peterson signed with the team following four years with the Indianapolis Colts and is ready to go to the Pro Bowl. One of the most talented linebackers in franchise history, Peterson is playing in the middle and figures to make lots of tackles behind Stroud and Henderson. The starting outside linebackers are Keith Mitchell and Akin Ayodele. Mitchell, a six-year veteran, is a big-play maker who has three career touchdowns and 19.5 sacks. Ayodele played in all 16 games as a rookie in 2002, making three starts and 108 tackles. A star defensive end at Purdue, he is a player to watch. There is plenty of depth in Danny Clark (16-game starter in 2002), T.J. Slaughter (26 career starts) and Eric Westmoreland (third-round pick in 2001 who has started four games). Gone: Wali Rainer
Defensive Backs (15) — The four starters from 2002 return. The corners are Fernando Bryant and Jason Craft. Bryant is a former No. 1 draft pick and four-year starter who loves to play man coverage. Craft was a fifth-round draft pick in 1999 who won the starting right cornerback job last year and started all 16 games. At strong safety, Donovin Darius was a Pro Bowl alternate in 2002 and one of the hardest-hitters in the game. He excels as a run defender. FS Marlon McCree tied a team record with six interceptions in 2002. He is being pushed by second-round draft pick Rashean Mathis, a Jacksonville product, who might also get a look at cornerback. James Trapp, a 10-year veteran who has played in 144 games could be the nickel back. He provides excellent veteran leadership. Depth is provided by CB Kiwaukee Thomas (no missed games in three seasons) and CB Ike Charlton (former No. 2 pick of Seattle who found a home in Jacksonville in 2002). Gone: Ainsley Battles, Robert Bean, James Boyd, Steve Smith
Kickers (4) — Chris Hanson was the AFC's Pro Bowl punter in 2002, developing into the best punter in the conference in only his second full season. Last year, Hanson posted averages of 44.2 yards gross and 37.6 net, with 27 kicks inside the 20. The Jaguars led the league in downed punts. At placekicker, however, there is no frontrunner, with three players competing for the job. The incumbent is Danny Boyd, who handled the kicking duties for the final five games of 2002. The team's fourth kicker of the season a year ago, Boyd was 5 for 5 on field goals. James Tuthill scored 50 points in 11 games with the Redskins in 2002, and Seth Marler has been impressive so far in training camp with his long kicks (he was 2 for 2 in the preseason opener). Gone: No one
THE TEAL IS REAL . . . In the last six seasons, the Jaguars' record is the 10th best in the NFL, 10 games behind the Green Bay Packers.
JAGUARS HAVE SEVENTH-BEST HOME RECORD AND THIRD-BEST ROAD RECORD SINCE 1996: After the Jaguars went 7-1 at ALLTEL Stadium four times from 1996 to '99, they have a 38-18 record that is tied for the seventh-best mark at home since the start of the 1996 season. On the road, the Jaguars are tied with the fourth-best record and they are one of only seven NFL teams with a better-than-.500 mark on the road dating back to November 24, 1996.
DOUGLAS IS EIGHTH-LEADING ACTIVE SACKER: Jaguars DE Hugh Douglas, the team's biggest offseason acquisition, 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 will be the team's primary punt and kickoff returner. A veteran of six NFL seasons with Baltimore and Houston, 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 3,010 career punt return yards, 591 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
HANSON LED AFC IN BOTH GROSS AND NET PUNTING: Chris Hanson, in only his second full season as the punter for the Jaguars, has established himself as one of the NFL's premier punters and was voted to the Pro Bowl last season. He led the AFC in both gross punting and net punting and ranked second in gross and third in net in the NFL.
JAGUARS ALLOWED THIRD-FEWEST SACKS IN 2002: Only one season after allowing 63 sacks in 2001, the second-highest total in the league, the Jaguars' retooled offensive line gave up only 42 sacks in 2002, the third-fewest allowed in team history.
TAKE THAT: In 2002, the Jaguars finished plus-12 in the turnover category, tied for second in the conference and tied for fifth in the NFL. The defense made 13 interceptions and recovered 12 fumbles, with an additional fumble recovery and interception on special teams.
ROOKIE SACKER: Jaguars No. 1 draft choice John Henderson led NFL rookie defensive tackles in sacks, and his 6.5 sacks were the fourth most by all rookies.
DYNAMIC DUO: Defensive tackles John Henderson and Marcus Stroud, in only their first and second years in the league respectively, had the eighth-most sacks by a defensive line tandem in the AFC with 13 sacks in 2002. In addition, Stroud and Henderson were the only defensive tackle teammates in the NFL to each have as many as 6.5 sacks in 2002.
JAGUARS HAVE BALANCED OFFENSE: In the last five seasons, the Jaguars have rushed for 9,914 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. Here are the NFL's seven best rushing teams since 1998: 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 six seasons, the Jaguars have rushed for 107 touchdowns, the most in the NFL.
… AND STOP THEIR OPPONENTS: In the last seven seasons, the Jaguars have allowed only 79 rushing TDs, the NFL's fourth-best mark.
THE BRUNELL TO SMITH CONNECTION: Mark Brunell and Jimmy Smith connected on six touchdowns last season, giving the tandem 44 scores in eight years, ranking second among active players.
SMITH HAD SEVENTH STRAIGHT 1,000-YARD SEASON: Jaguars WR Jimmy Smith has surpassed the 1,000-yard mark receiving seven straight seasons, a feat accomplished by only four other players and now tied for the fourth-longest streak in NFL history. He ranks fourth all time behind Jerry Rice (11 straight 1,000-yard seasons), Tim Brown (9 straight), Cris Carter (8 straight), and he is tied with Lance Alworth (7 straight).
SMITH 19TH AMONG ALL-TIME RECEIVERS: Jaguars WR Jimmy Smith is 19th on the NFL's all-time receiving list and 21st in career receiving yards. Smith has 664 career receptions for 9,287 yards.
SMITH IS NO. 5 WITH 5.0 RECEPTIONS PER GAME: Jaguars WR Jimmy Smith averages 5.0 receptions per game played during his career, the fifth-highest average in NFL history. Interestingly, Smith did not catch a pass in his first 15 NFL games played (seven in Dallas, eight in Jacksonville), otherwise he would average 5.6 catches per game or second all-time.
TAYLOR HAS SIXTH-MOST TOUCHDOWNS LAST FIVE YEARS: Despite missing 24 full games and parts of nine others, Jaguars RB Fred Taylor is tied with the sixth-most touchdowns over the last five seasons among active players.
TAYLOR IN 2002: In 2002, while starting all 16 games for the first time in his career, Jaguars RB Fred Taylor set a number of team and individual milestones. He broke the team record for total yards from scrimmage (1,722), had his third 1,000-yard season (1,314, second most in a season) and set a career high for receptions (49).
BRUNELL'S TOUCHDOWN TARGETS: Mark Brunell has thrown 142 TD passes in eight seasons with the Jaguars. Here are the 22 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) and Bobby Shaw (1).
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.
STATS AND SUCH: Mark Brunell is 63-51 in 114 regular-season starts, 67-55 overall. … WR Jimmy Smith has played in 127 of the 128 games in Jaguars history. Of the current players, next are QB Mark Brunell (117) and DE Tony Brackens (92). … The longest streak of consecutive starts is held by G Brad Meester (48), followed by TE Kyle Brady (46) and WR Jimmy Smith (39). … Eight players have played in 100 or more games during their careers: DE Marco Coleman (171), CB James Trapp (144), WR Jimmy Smith (134), TE Kyle Brady (124), QB Mark Brunell (119), WR J.J. Stokes (111), DE Hugh Douglas (106) and WR/KR Jermaine Lewis (100). … Coleman leads with 169 career starts, followed by Brady (118), Brunell (114) and Smith (106).